Despite the vise of economic uncertainty gripping the global economy, many U.S. workers who identify themselves as top performers are thinking about changing jobs, as indicated by the uptick of voluntary quits in the workplace cited by the 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report, released June 6, 2012. Nearly half of U.S. workers (49 percent) surveyed in that poll reported they are at least somewhat likely to look for a job in 2012. More troubling for employers, a majority of those who say they are extremely or very likely to leave their jobs describe themselves as the kind of workers companies need to retain to remain competitive in a tight economy.
The national online survey of nearly 1,900 U.S. benefits decision-makers and more than 6,100 U.S. workers, conducted in January and February 2012 by Research Now, analyzes forces impacting the trends, attitudes and use of employee benefits. It found that those employees who are extremely or very likely to look for a new job in 2012 said the following qualities describe them fairly or extremely well:
Hard worker (90 percent).
High achiever (79 percent).
Highly educated (73 percent).
Ambitious (64 percent).
Why Workers Consider Leaving
Benefits appear to be a factor in employees’ assessment of whether an employer is taking care of them. The report revealed that workers who are “extremely” or “very satisfied” with their benefits program are nine times more likely to stay with their employer than those workers who are dissatisfied with their benefits program. In fact, 76 percent of employees say that they would be at least “somewhat likely” to accept a job with a more robust benefits package but lower compensation. Employers risk losing workers to competitors if they don’t offer flexible benefits plans that employees say meet their needs.
“Employers should be concerned that after several years of recession and a very slow recovery, their top talent has a pent-up desire to leave for what they believe to be greener pastures,” said Audrey Boone Tillman, executive vice president of corporate services at Aflac, in a statement about the results. “Our study also sheds light on some of the reasons employees consider leaving and what employers can do to keep them.”
Eighty-four percent of workers say benefits are at least somewhat important in the decision to leave a current employer, and 50 percent say benefits are very or extremely influential. Other factors that play a role in the decision to leave:
- Thirty-five percent of workers who don’t believe their company has a reputation as a great place to work say they are extremely likely to leave in the next 12 months.
- One-third of workers who don’t believe retaining employees is an important priority for their employer say they are likely to leave.
- Workers who said they are stressed out are more likely (43 percent vs. 25 percent) to leave their job compared to workers who are not stressed.
- Twenty-eight percent of employees who are extremely likely to leave their job in the next 12 months say they don’t have peace of mind.
What Employers Can Do
“It’s been an employer-driven market for a number of years, and businesses watching their bottom lines may not have taken care of employees as well as they did before the recession,” said Tillman. “However, demonstrating they care and showing appreciation in ways that are meaningful to their employees are the most important actions company leaders and HR executives can take to prevent their best workers from walking out the door,” she said.
Some best practices for maintaining a satisfied workforce:
Assess the workforce often to hear what’s on employees’ minds.
Recognize employees’ efforts regularly.
Create programs, tailor benefits to meet employees’ needs.
Communicate benefits to drive participation, demonstrate employee support.
Of course there are just some employees who are set on leaving and will give the darnedest reasons for doing so. Bid them adieu.
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