• http://twitter.com/KamaTimbrell KamaTimbrell

    It would be helpful to know what percentage of workers age 16-24 were satisfied and engaged in their jobs 5 years ago, as well as what percentage of workers 16-24 were planning to leave their jobs 5 years ago, and compare that to today’s figures. 

    I can’t help but wonder if this is in part, perfectly normal. In order to advance in your career, a lot of times people need to leave their first job: whether if it’s to develop additional competencies; gain experience for a resume; or simply because the worker is still viewed as a clueless noob 3 years in the worker’s tenure.

  • http://twitter.com/HRactually Ken Pinnock

    In light of this data, what does it show? Perhaps we need to let this “satisfaction” stuff rest a bit, put the responsibility on them for happiness at work (but must perform)

  • http://twitter.com/viravani Valerie Iravani

    In my experience, dealing with younger employees, most of them have low-wage retail positions and are seeking more professional jobs with higher pay and more professionalism.  Flipping burgers or making pizza, working telemarketing, is not perceived to be a career.  If there is no individual employee development at the lowest levels, and an obvious career path, most will jump ship sooner rather than later.  It is typical and age appropriate as employees enter or finish college degrees, or mature and understand more of what they want in life.

    I have found that three factors are missing in most organizations, and these lead to talent moving on to other companies/opportunities: No clear career path, lack of or recognition for individual development, and poor manager/employee relations.  Employees do not feel supported or recognized for great performance, and they see no way to get to other positions within the company.

    Employees feel satisfied when they earn a decent wage, fair benefits, and have opportunities to learn, collaborate and change jobs over time.

  • John Prpich

    John, I’ve read the Mercer whitepaper as well as several others.  What’s disturbing for me isn’t the research, or the screams heard on the streets, the employees are leaving, the employees are leaving, it’s how leaders ignore data.  Dan Pink said it best,”There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.”  How many times in history have we shared similar data with organizations, how many times have we articulated the cost of turnover, using tangible data to support the case for it’s reduction, yet, for most and many organizations, little changes.

    The truth is that most employers won’t believe that there is a dilemma, plenty of fish in the sea, and for the most part they are correct.  The problem that they’ll face isn’t whose leaving, it will be, whose coming and what will they bring if anything.

    There is a myth in this country that our talent pool is large, I believe that exact opposite, it’s shrinking and at an exponential rate.  If organizations were to honestly assess their employees contributions and performance, the bell curve would scare the hell out of them.  I believe that we are becoming increasingly comfortable with mediocrity and that’s what employers need to be scared about.

    Just my two cents, thanks for sharing.

    • John Hollon

      Great comment, John. Yes, employers ARE ignoring the data. The “plenty of fish in the sea” comment (or something similar) is one I have heard from many executives, including one I used to work for. 

      And the problem is, they are right in a very small way but wrong in a very large one. Yes, there are a lot of fish to be caught, but the really good ones won’t stay around if they aren’t treated well, or are offended (as I was) about the cavalier attitude toward their entire workforce.

      You have hit the issue square on the head. We have a large and growing problem with the workforce here in America, and the shortage of engineers and other technical/science/math competent workers is just the start. That will spread to other parts of the workforce as the Baby Boomers slowly move out and they find that the replacements for the best of them are few and far between.

      A great 2 cents. Thanks for posting!

  • Casey

    Regarding the young workforce, is it possible that…

    1. Company values and ideals are often a facade, and many successful businessmen (and women!) know that the game is won by following the unwritten rules of the office and industry. These rules take time to learn, and over years foster the real corporate culture. Younger employees do not have the experience required to understand this anomaly.

    2. As technology progressed, older generations were challenged only to grow along with it…slowly and patiently throughout the years. Email and the internet have made many industries far more profitable due to  sheer speed and accessibility to information. Many times job performance can be linked to technical competency and the ability to quickly adapt to ever-evolving processes and procedures. Younger employees can work circles around their bosses on their cell phones when it comes to utilizing technology. Since most careers do not require direct knowledge in rocket science, brain surgery or nuclear engineering, it’s really not that difficult to figure out what you need to know to do your job well. How 1 company applies industry techniques that you spent the last 4 years in college analyzing should be easy enough to a bright enough person.

    I submit that the younger workforce wants to work for honest people with genuine intentions, just like it says on the company website. When we figure out that it has taken longer for you to learn how to organize outlook folders than it has taken us to learn your job, it’s disheartening. Certainly in many circumstances unwritten rules still apply and are good for business. However, the ones that rule internally are often out of sync with the company’s self-declared values and are there to protect the ones who made them and those who follow them. It’s not the owner of the company that the younger employees are dissatisfied with. It’s not really your boss’ fault either. It’s the cards that were dealt. One day management might be generationally up-side down. Because, we the younger employees, still believe in Santa….and iPhones.