Ask HR: Should I Tell My Boss I Am Job Hunting?

By Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP May 14, 2021
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Ask HR: Should I Tell My Boss I Am Job Hunting?

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP

SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, is answering HR questions as part of a series for USA Today.

Do you have an HR or work-related question you'd like him to answer? Submit it here.

 

I am employed and currently job hunting. Should I inform my boss that I'm looking? I should also mention I'm looking because my role offers no promotion or growth potential. What do you recommend? —Trying to Grow

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: It's common for people to leave their job when there's no perceived opportunity for growth. Whether you tell your boss that you are looking for a new job before you land one depends on your company culture and the relationship you have with your people manager.

Usually, employees look for another job without their current employer's knowledge, but this approach doesn't apply to everyone.

I'll ask this: Have you had a conversation with your people manager about growth opportunities within the organization? Have you actively sought them out? Whether it's trainings, mentorships or online courses, many companies provide professional development opportunities for employees to grow and advance in the workplace.

If you've had previous conversations with your boss about your desire to take on more responsibilities and move up in the organization, telling your supervisor about your job search might not come as a surprise. In fact, your boss may be supportive of your efforts and provide a positive reference.  

On the other hand, if you haven't spoken to your supervisor, I recommend having an honest, but respectful, conversation before taking any action. Be specific about your desire to take on more projects or stretch assignments that will lead to more learning opportunities and connect you with different parts of the organization. 

I also want to emphasize job growth doesn't always mean a promotion. It could also mean learning new skills, collaborating with new departments or making a career change via a lateral move. 

I encourage you to review your company's policies or employment agreements related to terminations and giving a specific amount of notice. Think about past practices, too. Have your co-workers shared they are job hunting? If so, how were they treated? Think about whether sharing this information early could put your current or pending job in jeopardy.

This is not an easy decision. At the end of the day, you need to consider yourself, your company's culture and your relationship with your people manager to make the decision you feel is best for you. 

 

If we only "encourage" employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, how should we handle those who refuse for reasons that are not related to disability or religious beliefs? For example, if one employee on a team (that cannot work from home) does not want the vaccine, but all of the other employees got it, how should we proceed? Thank you so much! —Rhonda

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: This is an extremely timely question and an evolving topic as employees begin the return to the physical workplace.

It appears you are up to speed on guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which states employers can encourage or even require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers, provided the employer doesn't violate current workplace laws—namely the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

I get asked all the time whether a company should encourage or mandate vaccinations. According to Society for Human Resource Management research, 60 percent of organizations are not mandating vaccination. That being said, a significant—and growing—number of employers are requiring vaccinations now that the vaccines are readily available, and, generally speaking, people are tolerating it well.

If you are a people manager or other workplace leader, first educate your employees about the COVID-19 vaccination and the company's plans to either encourage or require it. Unless your organization mandates the vaccine, you can't require employees to be vaccinated.

You may also consider sharing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, as well as potential side effects.

You don't mention where you work, but industries such as health care, education, and child and elder care, as well as those that employ other front-line workers, are more likely to require the vaccine, given employees' high risk of exposure and contact with the public.

It's also important to note workplaces have a responsibility to provide a reasonably safe work environment. COVID-19 is a known hazard, and you can reiterate to employees that vaccinated individuals are the most protected against the virus. Additionally, some companies are providing incentives for employees to get the vaccine, including a stipend, paid time off or a gift card.

Best of luck to you as you continue your efforts toward a safe workplace for all.

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