Executives May be Under-Estimating Staff Departure Risk

A tightening labor market appears to be tempting more workers to jump ship. And, according to new research, a lack of connection to senior management could be the last straw that drives them out the door.

Some 63% of workers across 13 countries are either actively looking for another job or would be open to leaving, according to a survey by ADP Research Institute. Among employees who weren’t looking for another job, 45% said they felt connected to their company’s senior management, compared to 34% of active job hunters.

The results stress the need for managers, including CEOs, to somehow find the time to more actively engage with their staff, whether it be through regular briefings or online forums. Some leaders have taken a more unconventional approach here: Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, for instance, got rid of the C-suite entirely, instead sprinkling senior executives in cubicles throughout the office.

“CEOs NEED to find the time to more actively engage with their staff, EITHER through regular briefings or online forumS.”

Then there’s Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, who writes hundreds of letters each year to employee’s parents to express her gratitude for their childrens’ work.

The large proportion of workers eyeing the exits could come as a surprise to many managers. Indeed, the survey, which involved talking to 5,330 employees and 3,218 companies, found employers under-estimated the proportion, assuming 58% of staff were either actively seeking change or open to offers.

And it wasn’t all about pay. Even though employees, on average, said they’d need to be offered a 13% pay rise to change jobs based on salary alone, 46% said they’d consider another job at their current salary or less. Other factors that could inspire a switch included being offered a more clearly outlined career path, better hours or feeling more connected to others in the workplace.

“While a majority of employees feel most connected to their immediate peers, it’s interesting to note that fewer feel the same way about their direct managers, senior management and company leadership,” the report’s authors said.

However they go about it, CEOs may need to seriously consider getting closer to staff soon: the U.S. jobless rate fell to 4.4% in April. And while wage growth remains relatively subdued, a greater propensity for job-hopping could foreshadow a better deal for employees.

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