3 Key Findings Small Businesses Need to Know About Today’s Employees

By Beyond

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At one point in time, success for the US worker was synonymous with climbing the corporate ladder and paying one’s dues. The common career path included a lifelong commitment with one organization, with sights set on a series of promotions over several decades. Today’s workers, Millennials now the majority, have different ideals about success and many don’t march to the same beat as the generations before them. A recent study asked more than 11,000 job seekers how they define career success and it found that the modern day worker’s notions have evolved.

Here are 3 key findings that small businesses should be aware of:

Money ranks low as a means of fulfillment. As it turns out, traditional markers for success, such as salary, aren’t the only motivation for today’s workers. The study, which was evenly split between employed and unemployed job seekers, revealed a strong majority (77%) believe they have achieved career success. The top reason cited was pride in their work (48%), which ranked well above money (2%) as an indicator.At face value, offering good pay might sound like the end-all solution to keeping the best employees around, but it matters less than you think.

Not your grandfather’s career path. The study also found that longstanding tenure at one job is uncommon, with only 8% claiming they’ve worked for just one company. You might hear your grandfather recollecting simpler times, when employees stayed at one job for thirty years and received a gold watch upon retirement. But those days are long gone – that career trajectory is dead. Instead, job hopping is serving as a means to advance one’s career and is more common than you might suppose. When asked how their current situation would change within the next six months, more job seeker respondents said they will probably leave their current jobs for a new opportunity (35%), over earning a promotion (7%).The job hopping mentality presents a problem for small businesses, which often lack resources – such as specialist employees who can pick up the slack, or a robust HR department who can manage the turnover ratio. Even typical turnover will keep a company from growing and high turnover has the real potential to crash an organization completely.

Employees want to feel supported. Today’s workers are impatient and expect not only financial, but also personal rewards. They want to feel enthusiastic about going to work every day. If companies want to keep employees for the long-term, they need to offer both earning potential and career development tools.  When asked “does your current or most recent employer offer any career development?” an overwhelming 60% said no. Yet, of those who replied that they have participated in career development programs, 50% said their overall work performance has improved, and of the same segment, 32% said they are more confident in their work.

Most employees strive to become their best selves, but need support from management. By way of employer-sponsored educational programming such as workshops, conferences and job shadowing opportunities, employers can fill a need that workers yearn for.

While job hopping is the new normal, small businesses will have to fight to keep their employees by proactively listening to the needs of each coming generation that enters the workforce. As for 2016? The results are in. And in addition to providing a paycheck, employers will need to nurture an environment where employees can prosper and feel like they truly matter.

To learn more about the changing landscape of work, check out this infographic.

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