It’s a normal business day. Employees are steadily working away at their desks, typing incessantly, sending e-mails, and returning phone calls. This is of course encouraging to their bosses and the organization.

All seems well, but instead of working on their projects, how many of them might be working hard at polishing their résumés? How many individuals that you think are calling clients are really using their networks to find a new career opportunity or a way out of the organization? It could be more than you think.

A 2010 workplace survey estimated that two-thirds of currently employed Americans are looking for new jobs or opportunities.

Further, a 2011 workplace survey found that almost 1 in 3 employees aren’t satisfied with their job, and 74% of employees would leave their organization if another opportunity arose.

More often than you may think, the lyrics of the popular song by the band The Clash are repeated in the minds of employees and whispered in the office hallways and around the coffee machine: “Should I stay or should I go?”

As the economy improves, employees will have even more opportunities to look at other places of employment.

So, organizations need to pay attention to how they can retain the best and brightest now, and understand what triggers them to want to leave in the first place.

“People don’t quit jobs, they quit their bosses” is true but realistically, organizations are probably unable to identify and get rid of all the bad bosses in the world. What an organization can do is to bolster the bright, positive aspects of work that improve engagement, even when the boss isn’t the best.

So a key question is, what will be effective in encouraging employees to stay put, even if their boss is not as supportive? To that end, we are focusing on the importance of support an organization and boss provides, and how different combinations of that support play a part in whether people want to stay with their organization or go somewhere else.

Published: February 2013
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