Are job-hopping employees bad for business?

With a buoyant job market and the ability to travel and move around more industries, job-hopping has never been easier in some sectors.

So what is job-hopping and is it something employers should be worried about? Job hopping is when an employee regularly moves from one job to another and does not stay in the same role for a prolonged period of time. A decade ago, job-hopping wasn’t as common and might have been seen as something to be avoided. Nowadays, however, it is becoming increasingly common among younger employees and millennials. In fact, a study by the staffing group, Robert Half, found 75% of employees aged 18-34 thought job-hopping was good for their careers. There are various reasons for this, they may feel that they will have better employment benefits elsewhere, want to pursue a higher salary or simply do not know what career path they want to go down.

Whatever the reason, this can be frustrating for employers and can cause a number of problems for them and their business. Real Links, an online employee referral recruitment platform found that job-hopping costs the UK economy £71.6 billion a year, based on figures from the ONS and research by Glassdoor. So why is job-hopping so bad for business and can employers retain job-hopping employees?

The cost of job hoppers

When an employee leaves a company, their employer will have spent a considerable amount of time and money training them up to the level that they have needed them to be. Not only can losing an experienced member of staff, therefore, cause problems for the business and its overall productivity, but it will also likely mean that it needs to conduct a costly recruitment process to replace them. Any replacement will need to be trained again and it may take some time before they are able to do the role as well as the departing employee. This could place an additional burden on their colleagues who will probably need to pick up the workload and also assist in getting the new staff member up to speed.

How to retain job hoppers

Whilst leaving a role can often be down to the personal feelings of an employee and a result of them simply not liking the job, it can also be the sign that their employer may need to explore options that can encourage younger workers to remain. It is becoming increasingly apparent that, in the modern workplace, millennial employees are attracted to roles that offer increased rates of flexibility. Helping staff maintain a stronger work/life balance through flexible working hours gives them more opportunity to pursue commitments outside of work, such as raising a family, and can be a significant incentive for them to stay in the company. Although employers have to consider all requests for flexible working after an employee has been with the company for 26 weeks, they may therefore consider extending this to a day one right.

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Company culture can also be key; if the organisation seems to maintain an outdated, predominantly male environment, employees may be less likely to want to remain in the long term.  For example, young female employees may be more tempted to leave if they do not feel they will get the same opportunities for professional development as they would elsewhere. It is advisable to offer employees on-the-job training or allow promising employees to learn from senior members of staff to encourage their advancement. This way, employees can be given the opportunity to prove themselves and the company can work against any problems that may be making it difficult to retain staff, such as a gender or ethnicity pay gap.

It may be worth considering if any existing work processes could be improved through the introduction of new forms of technology. Not only could this prove to be a useful tool in saving time and allocating tasks more efficiently, a company that embraces technology may appear more attractive to a generation that has grown up using computers and the internet. Ultimately, millennials cannot be stopped from job-hopping but may be less tempted to leave a company if it is prepared to change and develop to suit the needs of a modern workforce.

Alan Price, CEO & HR expert, BrightHR

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