If You've Got 'em, Keep 'em

By Carol Morrison

As many as three-quarters of U.S. employees claimed, in a 2005 survey, to be looking – actively or passively – for a new job. Almost half of those workers said they wanted better pay, and 16% told the Society for Human Resource Management and CareerJournal.com that they sought better benefits. Other oft-cited reasons for job-hopping included career growth and development, the quest for a better work/life balance and issues surrounding child care and eldercare. Seven percent of workers polled simply said that they felt unappreciated by their current employers (Miller, 2005).

Indications are that employees are serious about those new-job aspirations. The latest figures for median monthly turnover rates showed an increase (to 1.1% for the final quarter of 2005) over the course of the past two years. Employee absences rose too, from 1.4% of scheduled monthly workdays in 2004 to 1.5% last year (“In Step,” 2006). And the unrest crosses organizational levels. The executive coaching firm ClearRock reported in January 2006 that a third of the 168 organizations it had recently polled had experienced greater middle management and executive turnover and that about one in four had lost senior leaders (“Companies Are Losing,” 2006).

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