There’s an article on the BBC website today stating that more than four in ten UK employees are considering quitting their job in the next year. That’s a staggering amount of people that are thinking about moving jobs – especially in the current uncertain economic climate.
The main cause for all this dissatisfaction?
A lack of motivation at work is cited as a major problem, with unreasonable workloads, feeling underpaid and a lack of career path being blamed.
About half of staff said they had not been supported beyond their initial induction at work.
Meanwhile more than a quarter felt unsupported by their managers.
Crikey, half of people hadn’t had any help since the inital “here’s the toilet and that’s where you make the coffee” speech. How bad is that?
When my Dad first started work 50 years ago, you joined a company and stayed there for life progressing through the ranks into management. Now it seems that these “jobs for life” don’t exist any more – we flit from post to post usually as a way to move up a step because a lot of companies seem to have adopted a somewhat flat organisational structure as opposed to a tiered approach.
When I first started work straight out of University, I joined a company as a junior web developer. I then became just a “web developer”, then “senior web developer” and finally “website maintenance manager”. A clear career progression path was laid out for me with multiple steps up the chain if I decided I wanted to take them.
Ten years down the line and I’m back to being a plain old “Web Developer” again, no junior or senior roles exist and the next step up of “Team Leader” is taken by someone who’s not going anywhere in the near future.
Even though most of us work in a similar situation, people still feel that if the company thinks they are a valued part of the team they show this through job titles (adding “senior” or “manager” for example) and providing promotion prospects and career progression paths so it’s no wonder that such a high percentage of people are thinking of moving jobs.
Add into the mix that we’re expected to do more hours for less money and take on a wider variety of work without the responsibility, salary or job title that would traditionally come with such a role it’s not difficult to see why there is such a massive problem.
People need incentives to work under these conditions, and whereas traditionally you could work a 50+ hour week, get noticed and get promoted, now all you get is an ulcer.
I’m not sure what the solution is here. Offering bonuses, extra holidays or a change in job title is not an option for the majority of companies that are affected – heck, if they can’t even give you a pay rise then they’re not going to give you a nice fat bonus just in time for Christmas (something that used to happen at my first company – those were the days). And to be honest, I’m not sure even that would be motivating enough for a lot of people to make them want to stay.
Sometimes it could be the smallest thing that has the greatest motivational impact. In the survey mentioned above, a quarter of people said that they felt unsupported by their bosses, and it’s probably true to say that those very bosses feel unsupported by their own managers.
If you support your staff then they will support you.
By support I don’t mean terrible micro-managing or hand-holding but little things like taking an interest in them, their family and hobbies; saying “Thank-you” when they present some work to you; or even a 10 minute team meeting once a week just to see how everyone is getting on – all of these can have a great impact on how people think, and approach their jobs, and none of that costs a penny.
The funny thing is that these small changes can save the company a lot of money in the future. I think it’s fair to say that the people who leave a job and move on to another company are usually the best employees, leaving behind those too stuck in their ways or incompetant to get a job elsewhere. So, now you’re left with a rubbish team and have to pay to advertise the position and (maybe) train up the new hire, plus loose money whilst they get up to speed with the way everything works.
We’re already getting into a position in a lot of industries where the recruitment process is in the employee’s favour any they can cherry pick who they want to work for and I think that companies will need to realise this and do something about it soon otherwise all they’ll be left with is an ineffective and inefficient workforce, and a company that’s falling apart at the seams.
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