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Employee development isn't about preventing job hopping anymore

How one company is focusing on ‘people movement’ rather than retention

What if you knew that the new employee sitting in your training room planned to leave his job in the next 12 months to go work for the competition? Would it impact your company’s bottom line?

Statistically, this is exactly the scenario that plays out over and over again in today's workplaces. A Dale Carnegie Training survey of 3,300 employees in 14 countries indicated that job hopping is alive and well in the USA. In fact, one-quarter of U.S. employees said they planned to look for a new job in the next year, and 15% were already actively seeking new jobs.

It seems as if employees are already on their way out before they become proficient in their jobs. So why bother with all the workforce development?

Forget job hopping, focus on moving people forward in their careers

Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, writes that it’s not retention that companies should be focusing on, but ‘people movement.' He refers to this as the, “oxygen pulsing through a business.” This is why the social media management firm has plans for at least 20% of its workforce to switch jobs annually, whether they are moving up internally or shifting to jobs with other firms.

Holmes says the benefits of this approach far outweigh any negatives. “Plus, the reality that employees are continually on the move obliges a company to hire smarter and to train faster, maximizing return in a shorter time span," he wrote. “People movement is a powerful way to sustain startup energy and spirit as a company scales.”

Are millennials the biggest job hoppers, or is that a myth?

A survey of more than 1,100 millennials, conducted by Boston College’s Center for Work and Family, found that many younger workers prefer to stay with their employer so long as they feel their learning and career development needs are being prioritized.

Fred Van Deusen, Senior Research Associate for the study, attributed this to companies where both support from management and a culture of learning prevail.

“There is a very strong connection between career navigation skills and job satisfaction, Van Heusen said, “the better people were at understanding their skills, utilizing their networks and exploring their possibilities on the labor market, the happier they were in their jobs.”

It may be a myth that all millennials are job hopping at the speed of sound. There are likely employees of all ages looking for new career opportunities and not finding them within the four walls of their current employers. Even so, millennials are the largest group of employees in the US workforce since the baby boomers, and company training efforts must focus on keeping them engaged.

Tips for engaging millennials in workforce training

Asha Pandey, a contributor to eLearning Industry, shares some tips for keeping millennials plugged into workplace learning initiatives.

  • Responsive mobile learning – Around 77% of all millennials spend two or more hours on their smartphones daily. Delivering learning modules on mobile platforms can help them to stay engaged in the learning process, wherever they happen to be.
  • Social and collaborative learning – Millennials prefer hands-on learning shared with their peers; tie social networks into the learning process so employees have a chance to share and collaborate in real-time.
  • Video learning modules – Since 81% of millennials spend time viewing video content on YouTube and other channels, it would be wise to harness video learning content.
  • Curated and personalized – Keep millennials happy with learning content that speaks to their individualized career needs. This could include both on-demand, self-selected learning modules and periodic reviews with employees.

According to Sue Townsen of KPMG LLP, companies should provide clear and strategic career navigational skills. This includes goal setting, networking, mentoring and leadership opportunities.

Companies should also stop fretting over the potential of job hoppers moving to other companies; they may become future clients or partners of the company.

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Filed Under: Learning