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What You Can Do to Help Your Employer Retain You

Saturday 26 May 2012 at 1:40 pm

You finally landed your dream job, now what?  Enjoy it while it lasts, because there is a 25% likelihood you will leave within one year and another 33% possibility that you will not meet productivity targets.  According to the 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey the odds of your employer retaining you are less than 50%.  However, before you start looking for your next job there are actions you can take to help your employer retain you.  After all this is your dream job.

According to the survey there are three reasons that new hires leave within their first year.  They are management relationships, job performance and lack of career advancement.  Let's deal with them one at a time. 

1.      What can you do about management relationships?  Someone recently said "people don't leave their job they leave their supervisor."  Apparently, it's true.  I had a boss early in my career.  Let's call him Ebenezer Scrooge (not his real name).  He was caustic, acerbic and downright rude and he liked me!  Others would argue and confront.  None of it changed his behavior.  This may seem like a hostile work environment but it wasn't.  I am not suggesting you tolerate abuse.  I did not.  The real Scrooge was transformed but not here.  I persevered and learned not to take his comments personal but it was hard at times.  We all have examples of friends and family who behave like Ebenezer Scrooge.  You don't condone it and you may even try to avoid them but if you can't you learn to cope.  I worked for my Ebenezer for 3 years and learned enough to get a great promotion. That would not have happened if I had opted out.  You might be interested to know there are over 400 to 600 coping strategies.

2.      What can you do about job performance?  Fortunately most bosses are not an Ebenezer.  But, the majority will throw you into the deep end of the pool and watch you sink or swim.  You may accept this but it is not the best way to learn to swim.  Before you get thrown in there is an important question to ask during the interview process.  "What is your onboarding process?"  Get as much detail as possible about who conducts it, what is the content, what am I expected to deliver in the next 30, 90 days, 180 days?  Will there be opportunity for training?  Will you be assigned a sponsor?  You see most organizations with less than 10,000 employees do not provide training, mentors/sponsors or performance goals.  This is what 500 HR professionals said in the above survey.  So by asking what is your onboarding process you are confirming what you already know or suspect.  This gives you an opportunity to identify what additional information you need to know prior to starting and to make suggestions on performance goals.  If you can get agreement you are much more likely to succeed.  If you cannot get agreement then maybe this is not your dream job or the only way you will succeed will be in your dreams.

3.      What about career advancement?  If you are not sure ask "assuming I do a great job will there be opportunity for me to advance at the appropriate time?"  This is one area where there should be no confusion.  However, this is still one of the top reasons people leave so something must be wrong.  Either there were no opportunities to advance or the opportunity to advance does not come soon enough.  Don't accept a job that does not have opportunity for advancement and where there are opportunities be realistic about the timeline for achieving them. 

These are the reasons you will leave your employer if not in the first year then perhaps in less than five years.  So your retention rides on your ability to help your employer overcome these problem areas.  You see most employers don't know you are unhappy.

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