I’m sure at some point you’ve asked yourself: “should I stay or leave my job?”
It’s become the norm in our current era to ask this because we change jobs so regularly, yet before the seventies it was common to stay in a job for your entire career – they were ‘lifers’.
As a business consultant, I’ve observed that the majority of business problems actually boil down to people problems, and when people aren’t happy in their jobs – the more problems businesses have – like staff turnover.
But why is staff turnover and leaving your job such a problem?
It’s primarily due to the significant cost it entails. If Replacing a mid-level employee can cost over 150% of the position’s annual salary. Think about the initial recruitment, hiring, and training costs of a new employee and then they’re still not fully productive in creating profit. Depending on the job circumstances, it can take a year or more to break-even on a new hire and longer for an ROI to be realised. And this time comes at a significant cost.
Staff turnover costs US businesses $11 billion annually. The millennial workforce adds even more strain, costing the US economy $30.5 billion annually, with 93% saying they left their past job just to change their role (Gallup), and are likely to leave their current job within two years!
It sounds crazy but this is why Fortune magazine called employee retention the biggest concern in 2017.
Having sketched out the pain of this staff turnover conundrum –
What can be done to get you to stay longer in your job?
The best place to start is by asking: why do we leave our jobs in the first place?
- Is it for a better gig with higher pay?
- Or because our work lacks personal meaning? (The Millennial itch)
- Or perhaps we don’t see opportunities for growth or promotion?
- Or is it due to a lack of recognition or support from our boss?
These four reasons are however only surface triggers to a bigger issue. At a deeper psychological level, we don’t leave a job because of a bad boss, lack of opportunity and meaning, or for higher pay. These are just excuses we make when we feel that our highest values are not being met in our work. We stay or leave a job based on how connected we are to what we value most.
“The process of defining and developing any corporate culture starts with an honest look at values.” ≈ Keith Richards – Newport Board Group
An example: A friend of mine recently left his job (despite enjoying the culture), after being offered a senior position for more pay elsewhere. The reasons he gave me were; to better support his family with greater wealth, and a lack of growth opportunity.
Comparing his values to those of his company, after completing my values survey, it was revealed that his highest value of family was only seventh on his company’s list. His other top values of freedom and tradition also featured low on with his company, albeit two were aligned (Integrity and Achievement) – being why he liked the culture.
The real issue my friend experienced was, even though his company valued achievement in business, his personal achievement was capped. This would essentially affect how well he could support his family as a traditional caretaker, and restrict his freedom to achieve, undermining four of his top five values.
Why values alignment?
When our personal values align with our company values and the culture we work in, there is a far greater likelihood of us feeling more connected and therefore more loyal to that company.
- Other job offers for higher pay don’t seem so alluring.
- We have greater meaning in our work when it’s connected to our values.
- A lack of growth opportunity is more tolerated when we love what we do.
- And most importantly, when our bosses understand our values, they are more equipped to communicate clearly and support us better.
“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” ≈ Roy E. Disney
So ask yourself: what are your highest values and how are they connected to your work and company culture? It could mean the difference between you staying or leaving your job!