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True or false: your best new hires are going to leave after 2 years max?

When you first think about this question it might seem obvious; surely tenures are short?

We all hear that there is no such thing as a job for life any more and that it is preferable to be in a job for two years: to get to know it, perform in it and then leave it for the next one. Or is that still the case?

The statistics tell us a different story. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics job hopping was more popular in 1983 with the average worker staying just 3.6 years in an organisation before moving to the next one. In 2014, however, the average increased to 4.6 years.

Employees, it seems, do want to build a career in a company they know and trust. They want to feel that they are making a difference to something that is bigger than them. They want to work in a place that shares their values. They want to give their best and be rewarded for it. We are not just talking about monetary reward here. Recognition is the key factor that can determine how long people will ‘stick at’ a job.

In fact the figures are staggering. According to a global report by T.C Tanner Institute, no less than 79 per cent of people who were asked why they left their job quoted ‘a lack of appreciation’ as being the main reason.

These findings certainly dispel the myth that employees are in it for the short term: they help us to shift the focus from non-committal workers to organisational behaviours. If these findings are correct then how, as managers, are we showing appreciation to our teams? How are we harnessing the enthusiasm a worker displays at the beginning of their time in our organisations and building on it?

Organisations that are good at this are reaping the rewards. Those who have great leaders and have a structured career programme do best. The report describes how employees are likely to stay two years longer in companies which celebrate career advancement and openly support employees to that end – than in organisations which don’t.

Perhaps it is time then to take a look in the mirror rather than pointing the finger. If taking the time out to let someone know how much you appreciate their work and support their career aspirations means that you have a committed and loyal worker, then surely it is management time well spent.

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