Re-igniting the employment spark….or is it time to break up?

Re-igniting the employment spark….or is it time to break up?This week I caught up with a friend and old colleague who is incredibility dedicated, loyal, hard working and keen to contribute to an organisation.  She is a real gem, a selfless employee who always wants the best for others and is always willing to do what is needed to achieve results.  So I was surprised to hear that she is feeling disconnected with her current employer and she is lacking in drive, energy and enthusiasm that she usually exuberates. At a recent strategy meeting one of her efficiency ideas was cut down, she felt a lack of acknowledgement and now feels there is a real mismatch with her personal values and the company values.  She is feeling unsupported, demotivated and is now considering a career move.

As I listened to the story unfold, I found myself in her employers shoes…..I  bet they have no idea that she feels this way and that they are on the verge of losing a highly talented individual (who is on her third promotion with the company). How can these situations be prevented and resolved? I understand they can’t all be saved – but there are better ways to maximise the retention of top talent in the long term.

Consider the stats that 20% of the Australian workforce will change jobs each year and 82% of Aussies are always on the lookout for new opportunities  – it becomes critical that the same effort that goes into sourcing, selecting and recruiting someone, goes into communicating, challenging and retaining them.  But sadly this is not often the case – companies tend to spend mega bucks on their recruitment budgets and very little on their retention strategies.

Of course it got me thinking from her point of view – what can you do when you fall out of love with your job?

In my experience recruiting and placing candidates with clients across a wide range of roles, industries and disciplines, it is quite common for this to happen at various stages in an employment life cycle – especially in the first 12 months.  In this early stage, it is easy to feel that perhaps you made the wrong decision, or the grass isn’t greener on the other side  – you can jump to conclusions, don’t speak up and ‘hope’ that things improve.  Recently a senior marketing executive told me that she had come close several times to throwing it all in during her probation period.   This was due to her frustration over a range of issues.  What solved it was having a conversation with a CEO that opened up communication where both parties were able to clear the air and re-set their expectations. Outcome – happy, engaged and productive employee.

It is becoming harder and harder for organisations to retain their top talent from entry level roles through to executives.  This week’s conversations just highlight what is happening to many top performers in a range of organisations right now – so what can you do as the person in this situation? I see that there are 3 options:

  1. Resign and look for a new role
  2. Change your reactions – if something happens that you don’t like, tell them and move on ie: put up with it
  3. Give the employer the opportunity to discuss, change or explain

Ultimately my friend wants what most people want from their work– to be happy, to feel listened to, to be able to contribute and feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction at work.  In my experience, too often employers aren’t given the opportunity to fix problems, clarify communications or explain their position.  Responsibility needs to be taken by employees to discuss their concerns with their direct manager and confront the fear of the reaction and stop worrying about being seen as a troublemaker.  Problems won’t just disappear or get better in time. They don’t.  The longer you leave things, the worse they get, the more frustrated you will become, with the end result being irreparable and likely you will start looking for a new job.  Give yourself and the employer every opportunity to make things work by having a conversation about what’s working and what’s not and seeing what falls out. At the end of the day, we all have choices and the best choice might just be to find another job to fall in love with.