Take a good look at your employees. Did you know 80 percent of them are ready to bail? According to a sobering new Monster.com survey, nearly half (42 percent) of workers are unhappy with their current jobs, and a whopping 81 percent plan to job hunt this year.
Monster.com polled workers to find out what was driving them to look for a new job and how confident they were about finding a job. Surprisingly, the lingering effects of the recession don't seem to be weighing on employees. An astounding 79 percent of employed survey respondents-and 74 percent of those who are unemployed-are confident about their prospects for landing a new job in the next year. That's the case even though 56 percent admit they're struggling to find a job, 47 percent say they can't find a job that matches their experience and qualifications, and 38 percent believe potential employers don't understand the value of their skills and experience.
What's motivating employees to look for greener pastures? Here's what they say, and what you can learn from it.
1. Money Matters
Almost all (96 percent) consider salary an important reason for seeking a new job, and 32 percent say "higher compensation" is the primary reason they're job hunting.
What you can do: Bite the bullet and find a way to make sure your salary is at least commensurate with, if not better than, those offered by competing businesses. Keep in mind that wage or salary raises aren't the only ways to accomplish this. You can also institute bonuses tied to individual performance, or a profit-sharing plan that rewards employees if the company does well. Adding or expanding benefits is another option-as long as those benefits have some financial value. For instance, if you decide to do a 401(k) match, make sure employees know that you're essentially giving them X amount of dollars tax-free. Talk to your accountant about the best options for your business.
2. Security Blanket
95 percent of employees say they are looking for a job with more job security, and 26 percent say this is their main reason for seeking a new job.
What you can do: Job security is often a perk for small-business employees, so be sure to emphasize that any time you're hiring. If you did go through layoffs during the downturn, employees may be extra skittish. Be open with your remaining employees and, if you have no plans for layoffs in the foreseeable future, let them know. Remind them of the long-term history your team has.
3. A Little Respect
Intangible issues are a big factor in the job search. Some 97 percent of employees say "respect and appreciation" are crucial factors in a new job.
What you can do: Are you disrespecting employees without even knowing it? Many entrepreneurs have a tendency to micromanage, which can make employees feel as if they can't be trusted to do their jobs. Tell employees what you want them to accomplish, then let them figure out the best plan for reaching those goals. Check in with them, but don't loom over them. Ask for their insights and opinions. Last but not least, acknowledge their achievements in front of the rest of the team.
4. Searching for Fulfillment
Nearly all (97 percent) the respondents say being able to use their skills and feeling fulfilled by what they do are important factors in choosing a job. In addition, 27 percent say the top reason they're looking for a new job is to feel more fulfilled, and 27 percent say the top reason is to find a better match with their skills.
What you can do: As a small-business owner, you have an edge over big companies here, because you can really get to know each employee and see what makes him or her tick. Work with your supervisors and managers to pinpoint each employee's strengths. Then work with the employee to identify skills that he or she can build on to become an even better member of your team. Develop a plan to use each worker's skills to maximum advantage. You'll benefit your business-and build employee loyalty at the same time.
While four in 10 job seekers say flexible work schedules and the option to work from home are important in choosing a job, this factor was far less important than many others.
What you can do: Don't get me wrong-for certain jobs or types of workers, flexibility can be key. But make sure the other four factors are in place before you worry about offering remote work or flexible hours.
What you can do: Kristen Parrinello, advisor of human potential at The LBL Group, says entrepreneurs need to realize "employees are the key to your sustained competitive advantage." To increase engagement, she advises, "Take the time to really listen to your employees-not only to their words, but to the feelings behind them. This is where trust is earned." Parrinello says business owners should increase the "quality time" they spend with their staffs, and notes, "Walking meetings are becoming more popular. Pick a topic to brainstorm," then take a group walk to discuss everyone's ideas.