Trends in the way we work (part 2 of 4)

2.   Fewer years with the same employer

This is one of the most obvious ones, illustrated by numerous studies and witnessed by most of us when we think about how our parents’ generation was working. Almost literally, their work life has been lived with the same employer. Now, the average number of years with an employer in the US, according to Fast Company, is 4.4 and the number is going down.

If you’re a leader, do your best to keep the great people. Don’t take their loyalty for granted. Don’t assume that they’re here to stay for a decade. Think of them as your most valuable customers, who can always get another offer. Identify what they want and give it to them. If it’s a title, be generous. If it’s a different kind of work, be creative. If it’s recognition or learning opportunities, be prompt. If it’s more money, be… well, it’s never only about the money. When they say they want more money, usually what they mean is that they want more money and also something else, just as important, if not more important. Find out what that is.

If you’re a leader, look for talent outside your company, outside your industry. If you know great people somewhere but think they won’t move away, reconsider. They just might do it. Look for great people in industries that have just had their peak and now they’re in decline or have lost the spark. The best people will most likely want out.

If you think about yourself, be open to change. Your employer is not the only employer out there. But in the same time, be aware that the grass is not greener somewhere else. So first, strive to get what you want where you are. Before you ask for something, make sure you have a track record of over delivery. Otherwise you might not be taken seriously. Show your value. Do what they ask of you, and then some. Streamline processes, be responsible and with initiative. Improve things. Don’t do the work of others but do more inside your work. As comedian and actor Steve Martin says, “be so good they can’t ignore you”. Then think deeply about what you want. And only then go ask for it. Insist, but not too much. You know the rest, from the last paragraph of the first trend.

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