Corporate Cocooning

Remember back in the late 1990s, when some employees were “corporate cocooning”, staying in their jobs, because they were scared. They feared that if they left their jobs and didn’t like the new position that they would be stuck. As the economy improved, we saw an “unprecedented churning” in the labor marketplace.

According to a brand new study from Deloitte, history is repeating itself. Recognizing the improving economy, almost two out of three (65 percent) employees surveyed are “actively testing the job market”.

Titled “Talent Edge 2020: Building the Recovery Together – What Talent Expects and How Leaders Are Responding”, the study reveals some insights into the drivers of retention. When asked to list their top three retention incentives, 53 percent of the respondents ranked promotion/job advancement first, followed by increased compensation at 39 percent, and additional bonuses or other financial incentives at 34 percent. Also ranked as an effective retention tactic by a strong 30 percent of surveyed employees was “boosting employee support/recognition from their managers”.

The other highlights of the study are fascinating: the least happy of the generations is the Baby Boomers. They expressed the strongest discontent with their employers and the greatest frustration that their loyalty and hard work have neither been recognized nor rewarded. “Almost one-third (32 percent) of Baby Boomers surveyed say a lack of trust in leadership is a top turnover trigger — the highest ranking by any workforce generation.”

Employers are most vulnerable to lose their Generation X workers. Lack of career progress is their top exit trigger (65 percent). Only 28 percent of Gen X employees surveyed expect to stay. This intention to leave is a clear signal to employers to expect a significant exodus by employees viewed as future leaders.

For the Millennials, their employers’ commitment to “corporate responsibility/volunteerism” was very important. Millennials are also nearly three times more likely to say a “fun work environment” is important than their Baby Boomers counterparts.

On the other hand, “employees who plan to stay with their current employers (35 percent) say their companies have strong talent programs, characterized by clear career paths, leadership development initiatives, trust and confidence in corporate leadership, superior programs to retain top talent, and effective communication.”

Employers who begin to take action now will find themselves in a significantly better competitive position than those who wait.

– From The Herman Trend Report, May 11, 2011