Workers are poised for a mass exodus next year, according to a poll of more than 1,400 workers in North America by Right Management. Employees are feeling increasingly restless and intend to leave in droves if opportunities open up in the job market.
Eighty-four percent of the employees polled say they plan to look for new jobs in 2011, up from 60 percent reported in Right Management’s survey a year ago. Only 5 percent now say they intend to remain in their current position.
“This finding is more about employee dissatisfaction and discontent than projected turnover,” says Douglas J. Matthews, President and Chief Operating Officer for Right Management. “We view it as a barometer of their trust in management or commitment to the job. It’s a workplace equivalent to opinion polling on whether or not ‘this country is moving in the right direction.’ Just as people are questioning their elected leaders in government, so too are workers wondering if their management is up to the challenge of renewed growth or developing a sound strategy moving forward.”
Matthews observed that the prolonged recession, continued job market weakness, along with disruptive economic and workforce changes are the underlying factors contributing most to employees’ backlash. “Employees’ trust has been seriously shaken and there is a general lack of confidence in leaders.”
The discontent is widespread, but this doesn’t mean an organization’s management is helpless, but nor can they afford to ignore the problem. “Clearly, if the job market picks up a lot next year many employees are going to take advantage of it, and organizations stand to lose some of their top contributors. So this is a wake-up call to management.”
One step management should take, Matthews advises, is to identify star performers and have open and constructive career discussions with them. “High value employees always have opportunities available to them. Know who they are and be sure to take care of them in ways that are meaningful and aligned with the businesses goals.”
Matthews noted that restlessness can also be alleviated by managers being honest and positive with employees. “Provide them with feedback on what they are doing really well and ways to help them improve. A mentoring relationship between the manager and employee will build mutual trust and hopefully limit future defections.”
Right Management surveyed 1,413 employees in the United States via an online poll. The survey ran between Oct. 11 and Nov. 15, 2010.