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Part 1: Today’s Workforce and the State of Employee Loyalty

Part 1: Today’s Workforce and the State of Employee Loyalty

From Monster Intelligence

Not long ago, it wasn’t uncommon for workers to stay with a company for many years as they grew their career with the best interests of the company in mind. The expectation was that their employee loyalty would be rewarded with long-term employment protection, pensions and health care benefits.  

The benefits of employee loyalty were obvious, ranging from reduced recruitment costs, better business performance,  as well as providing a great place to work, a place that would attract top talent.

In today’s rapidly changing job market, companies are lucky to find an employee that stays for even five years. So what changed? Is it still possible to renegotiate a balance between the employee loyalty contracts of yesterday and the disillusioned, ambivalent attitudes of today? 

According to our research, the answer is yes, but companies will need to rethink the way they manage their people to avoid employee turnover.

What Happened?
The effects of the Great Recession (defined here as 2007-2009, when the US economy shed 7.5 million jobs) transformed the workforce. Companies faced with massive drops in demand were forced to lay off thousands of workers. 

The so-called “lucky” workers who remained safe from job cuts didn’t fare much better; these workers were asked to pick up the extra workload, frequently without extra pay or even extra appreciation. Those memories still sting. In many cases workers stayed on the job, not because they felt loyal to the company, but because they felt they had no choice. 

The result? Worker resentment and decreased motivation.

Of course, there are hundreds of reasons why people quit their jobs and move on, but research indicates that, especially following the Great Recession, companies will have to pull out all the stops to retain top talent.

Surprisingly, the most successful tactics to retain employees aren’t always about money.

Here’s a look at a few key employee loyalty statistics from a recent Monster Worldwide survey:

  • 1 out of every 2 workers (50%) reported dissatisfaction or indifference at their current job.
  • 4 out of 5 workers indicate that they have updated their resumes in the past 6 months.
  • 56-60% of workers reported that they search for a new job “all the time” or “frequently.”

These statistics accurately reflect the attitude of employees in today’s workforce

Why Small Businesses Should Pay Attention
While every business — no matter the size — is at risk for employee turnover, the impact to a small business is disproportionately larger. 

In most large companies, the larger workforce can absorb the loss of one employee. For a small company such a loss could mean much greater costs, even devastation.

Although the numbers paint a grim picture of the state of employee loyalty, it’s important to realize that loyalty as a concept has not disappeared altogether. Instead, it’s been refocused within an area that employers tend to forget about — the team itself. 

According to the employees surveyed, the best thing about working for a small company is its company culture and being “part of a family.”

An employee who feels a strong emotional connection to their co-workers is a more loyal employee. And with meaningful employee recognition, they will also feel more valued as an individual, able to more clearly see their own impact on the bottom line and greater opportunities for career growth and continued learning from doing a variety of roles.

Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

In the upcoming 2nd part of this 3-part series, we’ll examine the emotional ties that create loyalty, and what small businesses in particular can learn to build a strong, powerful team that just won’t quit.