Human Resources

Keep Employees from Job Hopping

By Rajeev Behera

Job hopping is no longer a blotch on an employee’s record—in fact, it can help a worker advance more quickly. However, what may be good for a job-hopping employee is not good for an organization. With advice to help employers, we present an article by Rajeev Behera, CEO of performance management startup Reflektive.

Gone are the days when “job hopping” placed a big red flag on a résumé. Today, young employees move up by moving on. Median employee tenure among 25- to 34-year-olds (Millennials) is just 3 years versus 10.4 years among 55- to 64-year-olds (Baby Boomers).

People no longer fear that job hopping will cost them career opportunities, but replacing a good employee is painfully expensive. A study from the Center for American Progress pegs the cost at between 16% of annual salary for high-turnover employees and up to 213% of salary for highly educated executives.

Some employees job hop to upgrade their pay and title. In most cases though, people leave their company because they’re disengaged, which could mean they don’t care about their work at all. In contrast, engaged employees—those who are passionate, motivated, and invested in the company’s mission—tend to stick around.

To engage employees and prevent your company from guzzling talent, we have five measures you can take—two appear below, and the last three will appear in tomorrow’s Advisor.

1. Communicate Daily

According to a Dale Carnegie Training survey, 80% of employees who are dissatisfied with their direct supervisor are disengaged. Here’s the good news: Gallup finds that engagement is highest among employees who communicate daily with their managers (face-to-face, over the phone, or digitally). Moreover, employees who meet regularly with their manager are almost three times more likely to be engaged than employees who don’t.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. If your manager is MIA for 2 weeks and then e-mails out of the blue, wondering why you haven’t finished this or that project, of course you’ll feel disengaged. Your relationship is just too jarring and unpredictable. As a starting point for all the subsequent tips, managers need to communicate daily with their direct reports.

2. Set Clear Expectations

Clear to whom? To both the manager and the employee. While this tip sounds nice in theory, it usually doesn’t work because the two parties fail to document expectations.

A spoken goal is just air; a written goal creates accountability. Good goals are also quantifiable and defined in detail. What is the employee expected to do? Why is it important? How will the manager and employee measure success? When should it be completed? These details make expectations clear.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, Behera reveals the final three measures employers can take to prevent employees from job hopping.