The Great Career Switch
Is this actually a thing? We were told that The Great Redundancy was coming and then it was the The Great Resignation, however, this is still playing out as workers assess their options when it comes to their next career move.
On thing is for certain — a lot of employees are planning on making a career change — 3 in 5 in the UK according to a recent Aviva survey and Microsoft’s Work Trend Index global survey highlighted that 40% of workers are considering leaving their current organisation.
If you class yourself as a Millennial then chances are your move will be sooner rather than later as 46% of us plan to move within 12 months. This seems to go hand in hand with the data that those aged 25–34 are more likely to retrain in order to pursue a completely different career path.
With 7 in 10 workers feeling confident that they would and move to a new role it may be time for employers to take action so as to retain their top talent — any talent at this rate!
This is not just the cost implications — a high turnover can look like £25,000 per employee leaving — it can result in an organisation’s culture being completely diminished, brain drain from their most crucial areas and even entire industries seeing their work forces dry up.
With the Covid pandemic easing and restrictions here in the UK being lifted (for now at least — who knows what the future will hold?!) the employees who have ‘hung on in there’ in a role they have not enjoyed but felt they needed in order to ride out Covid-19, are now feeling confident in a more buoyant job market.
For many of us — the abrupt halt that Covid and it’s numerous lockdowns brought upon us led to many of us having a few colossal realisations about our working lives, what was crucially important to us and what we had been missing out on for so long.
As we were forced to get off of the ‘hamster-wheel’ of commute — work — commute, many of us woke up to the fact that living to work is not the way we want out lives to be. We want to take back control, to have more time, more flexibility, more freedom.
With restrictions now easing we are faced with more choices and opportunities in how to spend our spare time (walks are great but so is axe-throwing!) — and we don’t want to waste that time.
Not to mention the looming energy price hikes which are galvanising workers to demand more and do so quickly — they are looking around for more from potential new employers.
Add into the mix the ongoing crisis in Ukraine which is a stark reminder to us all that life is short and is something which we have often taken for granted.
All of these factors have forced us to reassess what is important to us in our lives, they are making us ask what we really want in and out of work, and what we want from our work.
What do workers want?
This is, obviously, going to be individual for each person, however, based on the below complaints which I hear time and again from my clients, I have a few top hunches.
- A clear career progression plan — a big complaint from workers is that they have no idea where their organisation sees them going in the next 12 months and beyond. Now there is an argument that each of us should push our own ‘career agenda’ with our bosses. However, unless this is set out in a structured format with precise requests and a clear progression path, it is highly unlikely that those demands will be met as they will not have been fully heard or taken note of.
- A full package of benefits — free fruit and beers on a Friday is great but how about dental care plans, health insurance for family members, annual flu jabs? Look after your people and they will look after you by taking less sick days, working proactively and being present.
- Higher salaries — let’s not beat around the bush folks — this has always been the case and is even more so now with the costs of living rising rapidly. In many cases employees may well be forced to move to a new role as they simply will not be able to afford to continue to work on such low wages.
- Flexible working — forced working from home proved that, even though it may not be ideal in the long run, allowing employees to have more autonomy over their working hours gives them more freedom, control and responsibility. Having even just one day a week WFH can improve a worker’s lifework balance (and yes it is LIFEwork balance — life comes first) as they don’t face a long commute, can concentrate on detailed tasks etc. For many employees they will want to be with their work tribe for at least part of the week and for several they will need that structure of office life. At least give them a choice.
- Learning & Development — I’ve spoken above about a progression plan — this point is about how you can enable upskilling amongst your workforce, where you can uncover their hidden talents and strengths, identify the future leaders and influencers in your company as well as instil a strong company culture through your L&D programmes. Not only does this make work fulfilling for employees, it also proves to them that they are valuable as you are willing to invest in them.
- Support their wellbeing — I know, I know — I bang on about this a LOT, but a huge number of workers are looking for new roles because they are bunt out or are very close to it. By ensuring you have a strong focus on employee’s work wellbeing through career coaches, wellness talks, workshops, access to occupational health specialists, Employee Assistance Programmes which offer a full service, or on demand counselling then your teams will undoubtedly remain with you — when they have having a tough time and when the company is as well.
Your Next Steps
If you are reading this and wanting to apply it to your business or for the employees who work for you then start by having conversations with each and every one of them.
Ask each employee what they need and what they want from their company and their leaders as we enter this new way of working.
Business owners, leaders and managers have an incredibly opportunity to create fresh start and new approach to work within their organisations — embrace this by:
- Enable your employees to craft their roles so that they do more of what they enjoy.
- Support internal moves to ensure everyone is in the right role for them.
- Being crystal clear and consistent with your communication to your teams.
- Create a company culture which everyone agrees with and buys into — mission statements and visions are fantastic — but you have to live it every day.
- Highlight the purpose and value of each role (and therefore each employee) within your organisation. This is the number one reason why so many people come to me — they feel that what they do has no purpose. Help them find it to keep them with you.
Yes there is a lot to consider, however, now is the time to make these company changes and to ensure your people want & choose to remain with you.