I recently wrote a post at Compensation Café called The Young and the Restless, about how Generation Y is more likely to leave an organization they are satisfied with than other generations.
Why? Because they aren’t tied down by things like kids, mortgages and 15 years of experience in a particular field. They are unfettered - at least the ones who didn’t borrow $80K to major in History at an Ivy League school - and can afford to take chances, try something new and even fail.
As topics tend to percolate, when my friend and HR influencer Dave Ryan and I were talking recently about ‘big HR trends’ he also brought up the fact that a mass exodus is predicted as the job market loosens up. Since this topic seems to get a lot of air time we decided to write about it as a Project Social topic. Dave’s post on this can be found over at HR Official, which has a modern new look.
It seems to me that the mass exodus everyone fears is not the only or even the biggest problem in all this. I mean, let’s assume everyone’s as miserable as the latest data suggests and ask ourselves who’s really going to leave?
- People with highly sought after skills
- Highly connected people
- People in their 20s with no skin in the game
- People who can’t find a better job elsewhere
- People who don’t have the flexibility to make a change
- People without an influential network
Now, call me crazy but I find the second list scarier than the first list. The real problem is less who you lose, it’s who you don’t lose and what you do about it.
You don’t lose the people who can’t leave. The bad news is that many of them don’t want to be there, which will impact their every decision, deliverable and customer interaction.
The good news is that the people who stay may be extremely talented, even though no one else apparently wants them. They may not be obviously marketable but decision makers have been known to undervalue talented people who don’t quite fit the mold.
To weather the storm of those leaving while everyone else sticks around hating life, companies should invest in developing the people they have left. That's right, invest in the people no one else wants and who don't want to be there.
This approach will address two problems: 1) It will immediately have a positive impact on engagement by giving people a taste of opportunity; and 2) it will help mitigate any critical skills gaps resulting from the exodus of the more mainstream talented people.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Be creative. Think mentoring, think tapping into underutilized talent pools, think lateral career paths…
The war for talent is won from within.