I’ve addressed what I call the “pyramid problem”—the shape that emerges when women constitute nearly half of entry- and lower-level positions, a much lower percentage of the upper levels and an even smaller percentage of senior management. This phenomenon means women are leaving an organization faster than men. I’ve pointed out that this is a problem because (a) losing talent is costly and (b) the result is less gender diversity, which has been linked to better business results.
Are employers concerned about turnover in 2011? Should they be?
During the business downturn that began in 2008, retention has not been the issue that keeps business leaders awake at night. It had been predicted that “talent wars” would occur when Baby Boomer retired and businesses couldn’t find enough experienced Gen X’rs to take their places. Because of the recession, this turned out to be a false alarm. Not as many Baby Boomer retired, and people hung onto their jobs, happy or not.
Employers should not get used to this. The recession has slowed down some Boomer who still want to exit or work less. And it masked some tendencies about the post-Boomer generations. Members of Generation X, to generalize, work to live. They pursue the “portfolio career,” and are more interested in personal development for their next job than hanging around for the gold watch. Millennials expect their work to be rewarding and will leave if they see greener pastures.
The Conference Board reported in a recent survey that only 45% of workers in the US are satisfied with their jobs. A survey conducted in 2009 by Adecco Group North America, showed that 54% of all employed Americans (including a higher percentage of Millennials), said that they would probably look for a new job once the economy improved. Sandford Rose Associates at http://www.srexecutivesearch.com/employee-turnover/ . That’s FIFTY-FOUR PERCENT!
As conditions improve, turnover will again be a major challenge for employers. So the “pyramid problem” should capture your attention. Women constitute nearly half of the workforce. Learning how to engage and retain women can solve half of the turnover challenge!
Is your business concerned about turnover? Is management looking (again) at how to create a workplace that generates engagement, loyalty, creativity and retention? I offer an approach to inclusive leadership that starts with awareness in my book, available in January, Difference Works: Inclusion, Engagement and Retention for Better Business Results.