• http://www.planbcomms.com Susan San Martin

    As a recruiter, one sign of candidate passivity is how quickly (if at all) a candidate responds to my outreach when I am conducting a search. Two years ago, I needed the “jaws of life” to extricate a candidate from a position to consider the one that I was retained to fill. A recently completed search, however, showed that the times-they-are-a-changing in a way consistent with the survey findings mentioned in your article. The two finalists in the search conducted for a global consumer products company, were both snug and happy in their positions (also with two other global leaders.) Both, however, were ready to move on for the right opportunity. Compensation wasn’t the major reason; the desire to take what they know and advance their careers in a new organization was the deciding factor to engage.

    Additionally, when massive cuts were taking place, the “survivors” in organizations that were downsizing, were asked to take on broader responsibilities, often going outside of their areas of expertise. Coupling the relief of having a job with a longer, harder, more challenging workday, these professionals now find themselves in somewhat enviable positions. They are considered the desirable “employed” as discussed in last week’s post, Refusing to Consider the Unemployed? Read This and Then You Decide, by by Dr. John Sullivan, and they can demonstrate broader experience and the ability to be nimble as a result of wearing so many hats. With companies now putting their toes back in the water as far as hiring is concerned, these “generalist” candidates may become a hot commodity as hiring continues to ramp up. In November, I gave a talk to our local IABC Chapter (International Association of Business Communicators.) The content of the discussion focused on a series of questions that I posed to a several members of my network . . . all Communications professionals ranging from Manager to EVP levels and across a wide range of industry sectors. One question, “what career missteps do you see communicators making?” brought answers relevant to most professionals, not just communicators. The consistent response? . . . not being willing to take on new responsibilities, not pushing the envelope as far as their own areas of expertise are concerned, and not raising their hands and rolling up their sleeves when help was needed. While employees who did these things were overburdened, they are also emerging as battle-tested and well-rounded . . . a very compelling package for a prospective employer that needs to fill key positions. They are the ones who, I think, will start returning recruiter calls with greater frequency. Thank you for the great post, John.

  • Paula Davy

    John, Your article was spot on…we see this daily in working with candidates who desperately want out of their current position partially because their employer keeps cutting salary and benefits while increasing work load but moreover, the attitude the employer has of “You are not of any value to us anymore because if you leave, there are 10 like you waiting in line for this job.”

  • http://blog.yoh.com Doug Lubin

    These results again stress the importance of investing in your talent, and not only in terms of their financial compensation. Employees want to know that there is a place for them in the future of the company, and that that place is more elevated than the one they are in now. You need to express to them that they are valued and that their contributions are integral to the organization. I’m not saying this type of engagement is going to keep all passive job seekers from eventually leaving your company, but in a time when workers have seen their friends, family members and co-workers laid off by the dozens, they need a little reassurance that you’re invested in them as they are in you. It’s never too late to get started, either: http://blog.yoh.com/2011/01/its-never-too-late-to-engage-your-employees.html

  • Ipsa

    I’m not so sure people would really leave a job these days becasue of the trauma of how bad the economy reached not too long ago. Maybe the part-timer who are just working to get through school will leap at the chance, but others who are earning money from their actual careers, that need to support a family are going to lay low until the economic coast is VERY clear, which won’t be for a verrrrrryyyyy long time.

  • http://twitter.com/One_Page_Talent One Page Talent Mgmt

    We’ve been hearing about this supposedly huge group of dissatisfied employees ready to move for a few years now (typically through a survey sponsored by a company that might benefit from that finding). The logic is that the vast majority of employees has been so badly treated they will jump employers at the first opportunity. So I’m confused . . .

    Which employers exactly will they be running to? If everyone’s been treated so badly, where are those few angelic employers that didn’t have to make the rational business decision to cut costs and headcount over the past few years? Hint — they’re few, far between and likely are well staffed already if they’re such highly profitable engagement machines. Was it actually bad treatment they suffered or, if they’re still employed, was it an employer choosing to give them a paycheck when they could have laid them off?

    Which job hasn’t had the performance/workload bar raised over the few years? Does this “almost ready to jump” group think that those same magnanimous companies have also not made their jobs more complex and challenging. Really? They think that the level of effort they expended 5 years ago is going to be acceptable today? The recession taught companies that they could do more with less and there’ s no compelling reason for them to change that now.

    If they’re that qualified, why haven’t they moved already? The job market was challenging over the past few years, but hardly non-existent. Companies I was employed by and consulted to were still hiring at all levels — selectively. The best talent has had opportunities available throughout the downturn.

    There likely are a few companies who managed badly during the recession (and likely before it, and after it). Their employees should be encouraged to vote with their feet and apply their skills elsewhere. But to believe that the entire labor force will be able to play a game of corporate musical chairs is more than a little ridiculous.

  • Ben

    I’m no great statistician, but when the percentage breakup (57, 31, 29) of “reason workers want to leave” adds up to over a 100% it leaves me questioning the authenticity of the study.

    • Anonymous

      Ben: Frequently, surveys like these allow for people to mark more than one reason or answer given that it rarely is one and only one thing making them want to leave. That is probably why the percentages add up to more than 100 percent — and why you shouldn’t automatically discount the survey results.