Unlike Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, younger generations are not expected to stay with one job or with a single employer their entire lives. In fact, Millennials and Gen Zers—two demographics that make up most of the workforce today—are taught that switching jobs or organizations every few years is good for their career.

In their study, Job Hopping Analysis: Trends by Generation & Education Level, LiveCareer found that the average number of jobs held across all occupations from 2016 to 2018 is only 1.3. There is a high possibility then that a worker who has been with you for two years or less may want to leave soon. Given that replacing employees is a long and arduous process, and 36 percent more expensive today than it was 5 years ago, it’s only right for HR professionals to be concerned.

Spotting flight risk workers

However, before trying to convince jumpers to stay, HR leaders first need to understand exactly why it is they quit. Contrary to popular belief, the so-called job hopping generations don’t swing from one line of work to another simply because they are indecisive. There are three important factors that determine an employee’s affinity for switching jobs often. Using these, you can predict which workers would most likely be flight risks.

  • Education – The same LiveCareer study shows that education plays a bigger role in job jumping than any other generational demographics, and this is something employers definitely need to focus on when vetting candidates. Job jumpers often possess significantly more education qualifications than what the job requires and are underpaid.
  • Maturity – Then again, according to LinkedIn’s Global Job Seeker Trends: Why & How People Change Jobs, money is not the only reason why people go job hopping. Some experts believe that workers absorb the majority of what they learn at an organization within the first two or three years, and then experience stagnation in the subsequent years. Without sufficient career maturation and growth, people will eventually want to take off.
  • Economy Some people become involuntary job jumpers because the current labor market condition forced their hand. These are the workers who took on temporary or part-time jobs just to make ends meet. During times when the economy is down and there are high lay off rates, expect many individuals to switch professions more frequently in search of better job security.

Perks of hiring job jumpers

A CareerBuilder study revealed that 43 percent of employers won’t hire a candidate who has had short tenures with previous employers. But swearing off recruiting younger individuals more prone to changing jobs is not really a feasible solution. For one, Baby Boomers and some Gen Xers are already on their way to retirement, shrinking your pool of potential employees to basically nothing in the near future. And for all the risks involved in getting them onboard, TLNT and JobBoom say there are many benefits to hiring job hoppers, too. These are as follows:

  • They tend to be high achievers and exceptional performers.
  • They adapt and learn rapidly even in a volatile environment.
  • It may be easier to reach out to and recruit them.
  • They may have lower salary expectations.
  • They have a wide range of skills at their disposal.
  • They can give you knowledge about competitors.
  • They may require less training and management because of their vast experience.
  • They can offer you fresh perspective and new ideas to shake things up.
  • They may remain engaged in their job so long as they don’t lose interest.

Rather than expecting these workers to just up and leave your organization someday, your HR department should redouble its retention and engagement efforts. By accommodating their needs, you may retain valuable talent for good.

Help them advance their careers

Companies listed by LinkedIn as the best in the world at attracting and retaining talent all have one thing in common: they actively work with their employees to develop their careers. Unilever has a “future leaders” program with the goal of turning college graduates into managers in three years’ time, while Shell has a five year long graduate program that extensively trains recent college graduates so that they can readily enter the workforce. By providing individuals with clear career pathways, these organizations help them gradually grow into the role they wish to have.

Employers need to be more upfront about what job opportunities hold for candidates in the future. Millennials, especially, want this communicated openly and repeatedly, without having to ask or researching heavily. A great example of this would be to share promotions occurring within your company on your website’s careers page. This way, candidates looking you up online will get a good idea of how they can move forward with you.

Learn what motivates (or frustrates) them

Jumpers sometimes part ways with their previous employers because they were not treated as they expected to be treated. As an HR manager, you must not only identify what emotionally motivates your workers, but what frustrated them enough to quit their last job in the first place. If you want to keep them onboard, you have to avoid letting those happen again.

For instance, exceptionally performing professionals may be disheartened if immediate superiors or senior leadership don’t recognize the good work they are doing. One of the best ways to make all your employees know their worth is by strengthening the team culture in your workplace. Encourage managers and team members alike to give each other positive feedback so that everyone is getting credit and properly recognized for their accomplishments. Over time, this practice will become more effortless and natural.

Be more open to employee feedback

Employee surveys may still be the best engagement tool out there, but don’t underestimate the impact of proactive communication on retention and turnover. In a world where communicating is commonly done instantaneously and remotely, 80 percent of workers say they prefer having an open feedback loop to more traditional means of performance reviews. Using workplace messaging apps and tools, they can freely voice their concerns and constructive criticisms about the company to management.

Verbal communication is also essential in maintaining organizational transparency. Make it a point to take your workers aside every once in a while for a feedback session. Ask them if they are satisfied working in the company and if there is anything you can do to improve their work experience. Take note of common complaints and prioritize addressing them. Acknowledge their suggestions and recommendations too if you end up making changes that benefit the company in any way.

Employees enjoy working in a place where they are valued and engaged. If you help them find their place in your organization, they won’t feel the need to jump ship as soon as they see an opportunity.

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