Why are people changing jobs so quickly these days?
Here are a few reasons why:They have a boring job therefore they feel they are not achieving anything.They have no leader to follow.They feel unappreciated.They work long hours and want a life.They are not paid what they are worth.The above reasons are not taken from any figures or facts stated in publications and general media. This is what the people themselves tell me. They are the words from the coal face, real people?managers, personal assistants, administrative staff, sales people; regular run-of-the mill people.
It doesn't take much to retain valuable people and one of the easiest ways is to offer flexibility.
Where is the Family Friendly Workplace?
One of my clients - John - who is a manager in a large organisation - was telling me that his wife Mary, an accountant recently changed jobs, from working part-time in a suburban practice to full-time in the city. She did this as a career move as she couldn't find stimulating work part-time in suburbia. (I'm sure many women can relate to that).
Having two children - 7 and 4, she leaves for work when they're still asleep in the morning and arrives home around 6.30 p.m. at night.
Luckily her husband works locally and can handle the morning care and has his in-laws do the afternoon care. His wife is already feeling stressed, tired and guilty because she cannot be around for her kids.
How easy would it be for an employer to offer more flexibility say 3 days a week start at 10.00 a.m., 3 afternoons finish at 4.00 p.m. Mary wouldn't mind a cut in her pay packet - she just wants to balance her life.
At this rate, Mary will not remain too long with her current employer as she will find the long hours will take their toll. It's even harder for the single parents. Not to mention the long-term effect it has on the person and their kids. A grumpy, tired and stressed person doesn't make for a good productive employee or parent.
Why isn't there more flexibility in the workplace? Just because people 'start' at 9.00 a.m. and 'finish' at 5.00 p.m. (I know some of you work longer hours), doesn't mean people actually 'work'.
In fact 80% of the day is generally non-productive. To find out exactly where your time goes, fill in a timesheet for one week (email us and we'll send you one of ours). Record what you have done for a full working week and you will be amazed where you spend your time. In most instances you will find your time is taken up by various interruptions, many of which can be avoided,non-productive meetings, and activities which generally are a waste of time.
If you're one of those people who have difficulty saying 'no' to people you will definitely have major issues managing your workload.
Working in a noisy open plan office will also decrease your productivity.
My Former Life
Many years ago I had a stint working as a postie, starting work at 6.00 a.m. each day. It was a great job. In fact it was the longest 'job' I had held - 3 years. I left when I was 6 months pregnant with my first child.
As a postie, the quicker you worked, the sooner you went home. As soon as the mail was sorted you would go out on your round, do the deliveries come back and go home. Now that was an incentive to work as quickly as possible.
In the '9 - 5' workplace you have to be present and yet there's no incentive to actually work as quickly or productively as you can.
Solutions For The Employee
If work is getting too much for you to handle and the hours are getting you down, speak to someone who'll listen, offer some realistic solutions. Do you need to learn how to get organised? Do you require assistance with the workload? Do you need to learn different skills for your role? There's no harm in asking. If they won't listen it's up to you to choose what action you will take? whether to stay or go.
Solutions For The Employer
Ask your people how they really feel and work out a solution. Just because they haven't told you about their concerns doesn't mean that everything's fine. If you have people who consistently work long hours then you will definitely have a major problem.
You want your people to be 'on the ball', alive and energised so they are valuable to your organisation. If they do not achieve a reasonable balance between their work and home life then at some stage they will break down. They may take extra time off work due to the pressures they are constantly under or eventually leave.
The Final Word
Don't turn a blind eye. Get proactive with your people. Communicate regularly with them, find out how they are managing, listen to what they have to say and where required take action.
To retain your valuable employees you have to work at it, otherwise you run the risk of not only losing them but all that time and money you've invested in them.
About The Author
Lorraine Pirihi, principal of The Office Organiser is Australia's Personal Productivity Coach.
Lorraine specialises in working with businesspeople showing them how to dramatically boost their productivity, reduce the stress and the mess in their lives and have more time for enjoying their life. www.office-organiser.com.au, firstname.lastname@example.org