Job Monogamy, or Where Has the Loyalty Gone?

In a recent article, I discussed the notion that there is no longer such thing as job security. Some believe that company loyalty to employees is a thing of the past and employees are smart to take care, maybe even get out of the corporate world and set off on their own. But is the opposite also true? Are employees growing less loyal to the companies they work for? Jana Kasperkevic at Inc.com says yes, based on an article from the Harvard Business Review. She also says that this isn’t a bad thing.

With the change of demographics in the workforce—the millennials moving their way into business as the Boomers wave goodbye—job monogamy is becoming an uncommon notion. Remember from another recent article that 30% of college students claim to have started their own business while still in school. The HR Bartender shares an infographic revealing that the average employee stays with a company only 4.4. years and over their lifetime, men will hold an average of 11 different jobs; women will hold 10 on average. The infographic also states that “half of all new college grads believe that self-employment is more secure than a full-time job,” which offers quite a challenge to human resources who want to attract and retain this talent with their company.

This essentially makes all employees entrepreneurs, which actually, could be beneficial to employers. Entrepreneurs have a lot of great talent to bring to a company. As Chris Yeh and Ben Casnocha point out in the HBR article, “If someone can’t be entrepreneurial in their own career, if someone’s unwilling to take risks in their career, if someone’s not keen on remaining agile and adaptive in their own career, how can you possibly expect them to bring to bear those strengths, those traits at your company?”

For Human Resources, this means adopting a changing model of hiring and efficiency. How do you snag the best and how do you leverage their talent while they’re with the company? How do you simultaneously combat the idea that you will not take care of your employees and encourage your employees not to fly the coop after only a few years?

In the end, are these notions of company and employee disloyalty all that new to us? We may just be more sensitive to it. During recent economic downturn, companies had to downsize to stay afloat—which is quickly deemed disloyalty. As the new, younger workforce comes in, we see that they’re likely to take their career into their own hands—have lots of varied experience, maybe work two jobs, move around quickly to help boost their career. The culture change and shift in mindset is also viewed as disloyalty by some.

Companies certainly can’t cater to every need and want of every employee in an effort to keep talent. However, they can encourage employee loyalty in a number of ways. Kasperkevic suggests, “companies should be more proactive and willing to invest in their workers’ future.” Practically, this means helping the Boomers realize a secure retirement and providing ways for millennials to develop professionally. Leverage the innovation and talent already with your company to come up with unique ideas. Even by simply seeking out the opinions of your employees, you may discover more loyalty than you thought was possible.

Do you think it’s a bad thing that employees are growing less loyal to the companies they work for? Spark a conversation below.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Alan Cleaver