The article “Business: Overstretched, Schumpeter” in the May 22, 2010 issue of the Economist, examines the issue of employees being overworked, with employees “job footprint” increasing by at least 1/3 since the beginning of the recession. The article also explored some survey data that showed that nearly 60% of employees in a recent survey are “considering or actively looking for a new job.” The article went on to suggest some methods of retention, with symbolic rewards, “empowerment,” and measuring achievement by results instead of by hours worked.
This article had interesting data but did not really examine in detail what caused these employees to leave. Looking at a second article from a scholarly source, “Job Attitudes as Predictor of Employee Turnover among Stayers and Leavers/Hoppers” in the Journal of Management Research, authors Shahnawaz and Jafri explore the “relationship between job attitudes and employee turnover” in two types of employee: Stayers, and Leavers, in New Dehli. While they are of the belief that the recent recession has caused turnover to stop being a major issue, they do point out some interesting ideas on employee satisfaction and its relation to turnover.
Their study shows that there is a strong correlation to employee attitudes such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment and the likelihood that an employee would be a “leaver” or a “stayer.” Those employees who expressed a greater level of satisfaction with their work were more likely to stay, while those who found less value or were not committed to the organization, or felt the organization was not committed to them, were more likely to become “leavers”.
This data backs up Schumpeter’s assumptions regarding ways to make employees want to stay. By making employees feel wanted, and satisfied with their work, they will be more likely to stay with a company, even as the economy grows again. Employee retention may not seem like a huge problem now, as so many people are out of work, but as the economy expands again, each business will need to work to retain their “high performing” employees, and with 60% of them thinking of leaving already, it is time to start putting in to effect policies that make them want to stay such as work-sharing or teamwork as a way to even out the job load and setting high performers in charge of distributing tasks, giving them the ability those which they would like, and enhancing their job satisfaction and organizational commitment.