A certain amount of employee turnover is an expected and accepted part of doing business, and there will always be a certain (hopefully small) number of disengaged, disgruntled workers angling to leave your organization.
New data from Mercer, however, suggests that even some of your happiest, most satisfied people may have one eye on the exits.
The New York-based consultancy’s recent poll of 3,010 employees—“a complete cross-section of the U.S. workforce,” according to Mercer—finds 45 percent of employees who report being “very satisfied” with their organizations are still looking to leave, with 42 percent of employees who consider themselves very satisfied in their jobs saying the same.
Overall, the survey found that 37 percent of all workers, regardless of satisfaction level, are giving serious thought to leaving their organizations. According to Mercer, that number stood at 33 percent when it conducted a similar survey in 2011.
How much thought employees are giving to the notion seems to vary based on age and seniority.
Older workers, for instance, say they are less likely to be seeking out new opportunities. Just 29 percent of employees between the ages of 50 and 64 said they are seriously pondering a job change at the moment. Thirty-nine percent of those aged 35 to 49 said as much. Millennials, on the other hand, seem a bit itchier, with 44 percent of these workers (ranging in age from 18 to 34) thinking about moving on from their current employers.
Those figures seem intuitive enough, when you consider that employees tend to be bound by more familial and financial obligations as they get older. What’s more interesting is the number of senior managers—63 percent—who say they’re seriously thinking about leaving their current role, compared to the number of management-level (39 percent) and non-management employees (32 workers) who are contemplating a change.
Taken together, all of these figures reflect a workforce in transition that’s increasingly on the move, according to Patrick Tomlinson, North American business leader for Talent at Mercer.
Employers have been seeing this shift firsthand, said Tomlinson, in a statement from Mercer announcing the findings. The new wrinkle, he says, “is that the inclination to leave is increasingly detached from employees’ satisfaction with jobs, pay and even growth opportunities.”
To remain competitive in a talent market that’s quickly changing, companies must create a “strategic workforce plan” that considers engaged workers as well as the disengaged employees that are planning to stick around for now, says Tomlinson.
The latter group in particular—which comprises about one-fifth of the overall workforce, according to Mercer—has the potential to damage morale and productivity even more than those who leave, says Tomlinson.
“If your employees stay, you want them engaged and productive.”Twitter It!