At a local coffeehouse recently, I overheard an informal job interview taking place. I grew queasy listening to the story that the early career job candidate told.
“I’m looking at other opportunities because I’m not challenged. I don’t understand what my growth prospects are, or if they exist at this company. We’ve been bought. That was a year ago and everything is still in upheaval. I’ve excelled at everything that I’ve been handed, and I’ve asked for more, but no one will talk about that. I’m ready to go where I can grow.”
Ironically, the candidate’s currently employer is formally recognized as a Best Place to Work. *sigh*
Let's think for a minute about the impact of this dynamic of this working-but-looking individual.
The individual’s desire for growth is common. In SHRM’s report on Millennial Job Satisfaction & Engagement, career advancement showed the 3rd largest gap between importance and satisfaction. SHRM’s similar survey across all employees found career advancement having the 7th largest gap.
What if her current employer could turn back time? What might they have done differently that would have led to her being highly engaged today, rather than bitter and looking for a new job?
Even during a chaotic period of growth and acquisition, and even if resources are scarce, a few simple moves can keep top employees engaged.
A second common thread is low cost. The biggest investment in these strategies is a leader’s time thinking about an employee’s interests, connecting with the employee, and providing ongoing support.
As a manager, would you rather spend time supporting a top employee, or conducting a search to replace them?
I wish this early professional all the best as she navigates her next career move. Some company is going to hit the jackpot by hiring her – I hope they make the most of that opportunity.
I also wish her soon-to-be-former employer all the best as they (sooner or later) work to better retain talent.
And I wish your company all the best on the continual quest to become and stay and employer-of-choice, and not the biggest loser of top talent.