THE BLOG
08/04/2016 01:24 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Your Employees Are Already Job Hunting. What Are You Going to Do?

Whether you know it or not, a lot of your employees are probably job-hunting on the job. And you can guarantee this is true if the employees in question are Millennials.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average job tenure for all groups above 25 is 5.5 years. But when you look at the data around employees between 25 and 34 years old, the average job tenure shrinks to three years. Narrow that window down to only those employees between 20 and 24 years old and you've got an average job tenure of a miniscule 16 months.

What does this mean for companies? Sheer chaos. Businesses invest a great deal of effort into recruiting and training the right employees for their organizations. So when these employees jump ship, the transition process places a heavy burden on a company's resources. Estimates of the costs around replacing an employee vary; some studies, like that by SHMR, figure that businesses are set back six to nine months' salary on average to replace an employee, while others estimate that the cost is closer to twice their annual salary.

To make matters worse, the problem is contagious. A "quitting" environment can cast a negative pall on the culture of your company, causing other employees to question their own commitment to staying put.

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Employee retention is a particularly tough challenge when it comes to millennials, who job hop far more than other age groups. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average job tenure for all groups above 25 is 5.5 years. But when you look at the data around employees between 25 and 34 years old, the average job tenure shrinks to three years. Narrow that window down to only those employees between 20 and 24 years old and you've got an average job tenure of a miniscule 16 months.

Employee retention isn't a one-size fits all proposition. But amongst all the various needs and wants that employees seek from their jobs, there is, in fact, one thing that appeals to employees of age-groups. This benefit goes a long way towards keeping employees engaged and focused on their current job, not their next one.

A culture of giving back.

Study after study shows that a majority of employees - especially Millennials - consider a company's commitment to the community when making a job decision, and those who participate in workplace volunteer activities are more likely to be proud, loyal and satisfied employees.

Employees look for different things from their jobs and companies. But on balance, we all have a lot in common when it comes to certain parameters for job satisfaction. The U.S Department of Labor asserts that the best employees today want the following:

  • Career development opportunities and a chance to grow in their chosen field
  • Regular feedback on how both they and the company are doing
  • A chance to contribute directly to the organization and be recognized for doing so
  • Flexible work schedules that recognize their need for work/life balance
  • A good salary or wage and an opportunity to increase it over time
  • Benefits tailored to their individual needs

This same report suggests that companies focus on these areas of improvement:

  • Recruitment and hiring. It's worth spending time and effort on recruiting. When there's a good match between employees and your organization, retention is less likely to be an issue.
  • Orientation and onboarding. Again, it's worth having good practices in place. Treating employees right in the critical early stages of employment has been proven to enhance retention.
  • Training and development. Training and development are key factors in helping employees grow with your company and stay marketable in their field.
  • Performance evaluation. When employees know what they're doing well and where they need to improve, both they and your organization benefit.
  • Pay and benefits. While today many employees tend to rate factors such as career development higher than pay, good pay and benefits still count.
  • Internal communication. Effective communication can help ensure that employees to want to stay with your company. Employees need to know--and be reminded on a regular basis--how the organization is doing and what they can do to help.
  • Termination and outplacement. Employees who leave on good terms are much more likely to recommend your company, and in doing so, help you attract and retain future employees.

Believe it or not, a culture of social purpose can have a big impact on all of these areas. For example, skills-based volunteering provides opportunities for learning new skills and leadership training in ways that are easier, more abundant and less expensive to companies than traditional skills training. Skills-based volunteering can also provide new perches from which to access greater career responsibilities and growth, provided that company leaders utilize volunteering as an authentic training ground and onramp into higher level positions. When you go down the list, there are specific ways that a culture of giving back helps address every area of focus recommended by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Companies that engender passion create a foundation of rock-solid employee morale that is directly tied to strong retention. Engage your employees in a partnership of purpose and they'll want to extend their stay at your company.

Find out more about how you can leverage corporate giving and volunteering to retain your employees. Download our report, "The Company You Keep: How smart companies use philanthropic engagement to improve retention."

Ryan Scott is the founder and CEO of Causecast, a cause engagement platform that powers employee volunteer and giving programs.