Posts Tagged ‘retention’

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Is Corporate Loyalty Dead?

December 4, 2013

Nope, but it is a former version of itself.  It doesn’t look the way it looked 30 years ago…gone are the days (for most) of working at a company for 25 to 30+ years and retiring with the gold watch.  So if loyalty from employees is different…what is it, how do you define it, and most importantly…how do you capitalize on it?  Consider this example…

In my local December 1st paper there was an article on airline frequent flier miles and transferable policies.  It compared the largest U.S.-based airlines on clear and published polices vs. vague, unpublished and inconsistently applied policies.  It also compared on specific policies like if the accumulated points were transferable and if a fee was charged, or not, on transferring the points.  Another policy compared was whether there were limits to whom you could give your points too, especially after death.  (In case you are wondering, US Airways was the clear winner on providing clear guidelines and in my opinion had the best consumer policies.)  And the last sentence of the article packed the biggest punch…”the average American is a member of 22 loyalty programs.”  Twenty-two!  A quick look in my wallet had me as a member of 16 loyalty programs.  I was kinda surprised…who knew I could be so loyal?  The research firm in the article – Colloquy – estimates that “memberships in such programs increased more than 26% in the past 2 years, and all those miles, points and rewards are worth some $50 billion.”

Clearly Americans love loyalty programs.  Why?  While the programs provide repeat customers to the company, in the consumer’s eye they benefit greatly, and in some cases in really big ways. (Think lots of free flights.)  A loyalty program puts me at the center…I get sneak peeks on new items, first notification of big sales, free products and some special treatment.  Loyalty programs put ME first (or for the most part I have agreed to believe they do)!

But companies are different with their employees…they expect loyalty before giving you big rewards. Consider that for the most part all I have to do is sign up for a consumer-based loyalty program and I’m accepted.  So what if companies flipped the idea of “loyalty”.   What if loyalty was no longer equated with job stability or employment for life, as it is defined today.  But what if it was defined as how a company invests in you – from day one.  Put the employee at the center, support them in their development, provide clear, published expectations and throw in some fun rewards!  And remember to remind me of why I am loyal…a consumer-based loyalty program reminds me every time I check out and get a discount with my card or redeem my miles/points for free stuff.  Companies need to do the same too.

Final thought:  To all the companies…It’s true, I may not be employed with you for the next 20 years but we could have a good 3-to 5-to 7-year run in which I do right by you and you do right by me.  Loyalty, redefined.

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Well That is Just Depressing

November 7, 2013

I recently read in my local paper an article titled “Not happy with work? Wait till you’re 50 or older.”  The article provided data from a study conducted by The Associated Press – NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.  The study found that 9 in 10 workers who are 50 years or older say they are very or somewhat satisfied with their job.  It seems older workers, regardless of who they are, reported higher satisfaction with their job.  The assumption drawn from the study was that “older workers generally have already climbed the career ladder, increased their salaries and reached positions where they have greater security, so more satisfaction makes sense.”  The study also reports that 38% of young adults express deep satisfaction with their work as compared to 63% of those 65 years and older.

So if I’m not engaged and satisfied with my work I should just wait until I get older?   That can’t be right.  Yes, I understand the subtle point the article is making…there are more variables to cause me unhappiness in a job the younger I am.  And as I age I can become more settled in the direction of my life and my career.  But waiting till I am 50 years or older to be satisfied in my work is just depressing.

When I work with companies or teach classes/workshops on employee engagement I break engagement down into four parts, four equal parts yet some are truly more important than others.  Those four parts are the individual, the manager, the team, the company. (For smaller companies there may only be three parts as the company isn’t large enough to have different teams.)  Engagement starts with the individual so the idea of just waiting around to grow older to become satisfied or engaged doesn’t add up.  You can’t motivate someone who doesn’t want to be motivated but it is an employee’s responsibility to show up willing, with a mindset, that he or she wants to and can be engaged in their work.  And that doesn’t just happen with age.  That happens by choice.

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Levels of Aspiration

April 25, 2012

Do you have a “level of aspiration” when it comes to your work and career? When you mash Tamara Dembo’s and Kurt Lewin’s “level of aspiration” theory with David McClelland’s work on achievement motivation an interesting concept starts to take shape.  Some of us will reach a level within our work or career and will not desire to go any higher.  According to McClelland some of us are just not born with a high desire to achieve.  But of course some of us are.  Makes sense, right?

So if this makes sense why do companies tie themselves in knots trying to figure out why employees may not want to reach the corner office, become a partner, or at the very least take that next promotion?  Now of course this is the opposite of the Peter Principle (which is being promoted to a level of incompetence).  If you have a boss who suffers from the Peter Principle – remember he or she allowed themselves to be promoted to that level (and they may not be aware of their incompetence, which is always the kicker).

But I digress. The level a person wants to reach in terms of title, responsibility, expected connectivity and stress is different for each person and in society we tend to frown upon those who don’t aspire for more.  But is the reality that there is a lack of desire to become a corporate executive alive and well?

One new study from Intelligent Office (IO) found in a survey of 1,075 people no one, not even one person, aspired to become a corporate executive.  More than half, 65%, want to work as an entrepreneur or independent.  The “Work IQ” survey found a shift in work styles as well with an emphasis on more flexible work hours, have more mobility in life, and access to technology (like laptop or iPad) that affords the desired mobility.

The survey results bring up three thoughts for me…
1. Were the results a fluke due to our economic environment?  I mean there are approximately  157,000 students in MBA schools across the country (rough estimate from AACSB accredited schools).  Aren’t most MBAs in school because the masters degree could lead to the next promotion and possibly to a position as a corporate executive?
2. IO didn’t provide a breakdown of the demographics in the release so I’m not sure if their survey respondents reflect more of our working society versus their customer base (Intelligent Office is the leading virtual, professionally staffed office space for mobile executives and small businesses in North America).  If the respondents mirror their customer base then the results make sense.  If the respondents mirror more of the workforce as a whole then the results are a cause for concern.
3. Considering the results mirror our current workforce then it does mean a new trend is being highlighted.  Could a shortage of corporate executives be on the horizon, exacerbated by the Baby Boomer retirements?

What would a shortage of potential corporate executives mean for your company?

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There’s an Employee Appreciation Day?

March 5, 2012

Did you know last Friday, March 2 was Employee Appreciation Day?  Yep, just one day on a random Friday that I guess probably went unnoticed by your boss or at your office.  And thank goodness it did.  Can you imagine celebrating Employee Appreciation Day when your company doesn’t appreciate employees in general – makes for an uncomfortable pizza or cake party?  Reminds me of a client meeting last year when it was mentioned that “Administrative Professionals Day” was coming up and they all quickly grabbed their phones and made a note of it. It’s like grandparents day too.  If it takes a day for you to recognize and thank your employees or assistant (or even your grandparents)…you might be dealing with a bigger problem. 

Why does it take a publicized day to remind you to thank those who make your life better (assuming your employees, assistant and grandparents actually make your life easier)?  In theory we understand the statement that companies don’t function without their employees is true but sometimes theory and practice couldn’t be farther apart.  You, and every boss or leader at your company should be showing your appreciation to employees often and for reasons that matter.   So what are the reasons that matter?  Here’s a bright idea…ask them.  Those employees can be quite clever and they typically know what matters to them in terms being recognized because they are appreciated.  I’ll give you a few ideas to get started when recognition and appreciation is needed…taking on a stretch project no matter the outcome, going above and beyond the “typical” work load, coaching or mentoring another employee, dealing with a  difficult client, trying to stay focused on work when dealing with a personal issue…and there are so many more. 

Also, don’t show appreciation for just showing up – that is hollow and meaningless.  One of the greatest ways to show appreciation is to thank your employees individually for their contribution and explaining how their contribution matters to the company.  Make the connection to how they matter to the work they do, to the company’s clients and the company overall.  When you are able to consistently show your appreciation you’ll never think twice about a throwing an awkward pizza party on some random Friday in March to remind your employees you care and they matter.

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Did the PwC Chairman read my Accounting Today article?

September 15, 2011

In October of last year I published an article in Accounting Today magazine titled “Managing the Millennials…Firms must deal with their changing expectations.”  In the article I discuss how accounting firms are finding themselves stuck between the way the business has been run for decades and the changing expectations of Millennials as they consider their long-range career track. I made the argument that :

“Accountants and auditors are valued precisely because of their deep knowledge and expertise, so radically altering the business model is unrealistic. Yet the looming demand for accounting services and the shrinking talent pool give urgency to finding ways to accommodate the expectations of young workers.” 

Millennials want to develop their skills, be challenged and not pigeonholed into one job or function for the rest of their career (sound familiar?).  Cross-training is considered a valuable growth opportunity as Millennials develop skills that give them mobility. In the article I urge accounting firms to start the conversation now on how to better grow and develop this need in their young talent. 

Well is seems the PricewaterhouseCoopers Chairman Dennis Nally may have read my article.  In a recent issue of The Wall Street Journal, when asked what is the biggest challenge for companies when trying to recruit talented staff, Nally responded with:

“This millennial generation is not just looking for a job, they’re not just looking for salary and financial benefits, they’re looking for skill development, they’re looking for mobility, they’re looking for opportunities to acquire different skills and to move quickly from one part of an organization to another. How you manage that sort of talent and how you deal with their expectations is very different from what’s been done in the past.” (July 11, 2011, “PwC Chairman Aims to Keep Millennials Happy”)

Mr. Nally – I couldn’t agree more and if my article helped you formulate your people strategy I am pleased it was of use to you. To other companies, not just accounting firms, it is time to understand how the needs of the Millennials regarding career growth and future expectations are changing your workplace and workforce. 

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*Please note – SBR Consulting, LLC is becoming Randall Research… Data-driven solutions for people-driven companies™.  Our services have not changed but our new name better reflects our core mission of using data to drive employee engagement and productivity.  Our new website will be www.randallresearch.com. *

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Expert Interview Series: Market Movement

May 26, 2011

Our expert series continues with a Q&A with Melissa McGuire, CEO and founder of Sherpa.  Sherpa is a Charlotte-based staffing, recruiting and consulting agency focused on the fields of accounting & finance, technology and project management.  You can find them online at www.sherpallc.com

Q: As mentioned in our white paper (The Millennial Generation Today: The economic environment impact to recruitment, retention and engagement), there have been numerous recently released statistics regarding people looking to make a move and our research showed 70% of Millennials were considering the possibility of changing jobs. What is your reaction to these type of statistics?

A: I believe the statistics. First of all, I believe a large percentage of all employees are considering changing jobs. Never before have I heard so many people express so much stress about their jobs. Most have worked harder than ever during the recession and have received fewer rewards: lower or no bonuses, less 401k matching, less job security, higher health care costs, etc. Additionally, because of fears of layoffs and pressure to produce results has lowered morale in many companies. I don’t track millennials because I don’t look at age when evaluating people, but those newer to the work force are likely to be disillusioned with their jobs and believe there are greener pastures. However, I do believe that most will find better times if they stay in their current jobs. But, the trust has been broken, so many will probably leave.

Q: Do you see movement of those currently employed starting to pick up or has it held steady throughout the recession?

A: I have seen people very reluctant to change jobs during the recession. Instead, they hung on to them, even if they didn’t like them. It is the increase in confidence in the economy that is creating the environment for job changing. There are more jobs to move to and there is a little less fear of being the “last one in” at a company, which is the fear that they could be the first one out if the company had layoffs.

Q: When your recruiters contact passive candidates (those currently employed) are they more willing to consider an opportunity you may be calling about than they were 2 or 3 years ago?

A: Definitely.

Thanks Melissa for taking the time to answers our questions.  We appreciate your insight and know the statistics have some of those responsible for retaining their current talent very nervous. 

As a reminder, the white paper is available for download at www.sbrconsult.com.

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New Research Release: What we need to know NOW about our largest generation

May 18, 2011

The Millennial Generation Today: Impact of the economic environment on recruitment, retention and engagement white paper is available online at www.sbrconsult.com.  The white paper is available complimentary.

Almost 1,200 Millennials (21 to 30 years old) participated in the national online survey to gauge how this generation feels about working in corporate America, thoughts on future employment decisions, and changing consideration of what’s important about work and their future. 

So what did our survey find? Here are a few key highlights…

  • We have entered a “flight pattern” of workers wanting to find new employment opportunities. 70% of Millennials say there is a possibility they will change jobs.
  • Women are more likely than men to consider leaving.
  • Top three priorities are compensation, flexible work schedule and opportunity to make a difference.
  • Despite the economic reality, 70% are positive about their future in general.
  • Only 41% make saving for retirement a priority.

Results include findings on Millennials and the Workplace (will they stay or go, what’s important and the continual layoff affect), the Education Debate (high cost versus ROI and does your degree work for you?) and Future Visions (retirement, entrepreneurism and CSR impact). 

Take a moment and read through the white paper and then let us know your thoughts on the results.  We look forward to engaging in conversation with you.

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Follow our blog over the next few months as we talk with experts from areas related to our findings to dig deeper into the story of our data.  Up first is Shay Prosser, author of Get It Together – The Real-World Money Guide for Graduates.  She’ll discuss her thoughts on the retirement findings and the financial impact of our new economic normal on this generation. Look for her blog interview on Monday, May 23, 2011.

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