Majority of B.C. employees would switch jobs
Loyalty to a company is in short supply, survey finds
Maysina Ginting should be the perfect candidate for job hopping.
She’s young, personable, ambitious and has been promoted four times in the last five years.
But Ginting, 32, says there’s no way she’d leave her current employer.
“To be honest, I have been approached and I decided to stay with Credential because they are good at recognizing people for their hard work,” she said. “It’s not about the money.”
Part and parcel of that recognition is Credential Financial’s speedy decision to step in and subsidize employees’ transit costs following Tuesday’s news that TransLink is eliminating its discounted Employer Pass program.
Even though replacing TransLink’s 15-per-cent discount with a Credential subsidy will cost the wealth management company $25,000 to $30,000 every year, the decision was a “no-brainer,” human resources vice-president Matt Brown said.
Almost half of the company’s 240 employees use transit as their primary mode of transportation, and even more are regular transit users. “There’s a financial implication to them. There’s also a values connection,” Brown said. “We understand that people make a decision to work for a particular employer and are much more likely to stay and be loyal and connected to that employer when there is a values fit for them.”
Loyalty is in short supply.
While B.C. workers are fairly satisfied with their jobs, more than half (55 per cent) would leave their current job if the right opportunity came up, according to a new Insights West poll. This compares to 52 per cent nationally.
Forty-three per cent of B.C. employees, while not actively looking, would consider a new opportunity if it came up, and 12 per cent are actively looking for a new job, according to the online poll of 788 B.C. employees. Just 43 per cent of employees say they have no plans to leave, and two per cent were unsure.
Surprisingly, it’s not just young employees aged 18 to 24 who are ready to switch jobs, Insights West vice-president Mario Canseco said. Sure, 62 per cent of the young folk would jump ship, but almost as many mid-career workers — a full 60 per cent of those aged 35 to 54 — are ready to leave, too. That compares to 37 per cent of workers over 55 saying they’d consider a job offer.
“The middle-aged worker is almost as likely as the younger worker to bolt. Usually it would be a little bit closer to 50 per cent,” Canseco said.
Why is loyalty so low?
“Aside from stress levels, the areas that rank lowest for employees when rating employers are related to internal communication,” Canseco said. “When you have your internal communication rated so low, the reaction from executives is ‘But we send a billion emails a day.’ Of course you do, but you’re telling them what to do, not communicating a vision.”
There has to be a better way to engage with those employees, Canseco said.
“If you don’t understand where the company is going, if the processes and procedures are unintelligible to you, if senior management isn’t communicating properly and you don’t see an opportunity to advance, you’re going to move,” Canseco said.
But Credential’s Brown said he hasn’t seen meaningful generational differences. Turnover at the company is low, with fewer than 10 per cent of employees voluntarily leaving each year.
Brown said communication and transparency are top priorities. “We want to make sure what (employees) do on a daily basis adds value and they understand what they are doing.”
That means creating the structure so employees can connect with the executive team face-to-face in small groups and informally. Town hall meetings and newsletters are not enough. “It’s not hard to communicate with your employees, but it takes effort to do it in a way that feels real and sincere,” Brown said. “There have to be actions to back that up. Things like supporting transit.”
“Loyalty does look different now,” Brown said. “Stickiness to an organization is no longer a default so it puts much greater onus on employers to really be in tune with what their employees need.”
The cost of employee turnover has been pegged at anywhere from two to 10 times salary, Brown said, but the real cost is disruption. “As you start to lose people, the impact on your culture is dramatic and that has a direct tie to your ability to deliver to your customers. Organizations that have high levels of turnover will have higher cost, lower profitability, and ability to service customers will go down. If you are a public company, you can trace it right down to your stock price.”
And so contented employee Ginting, Credential Financial’s partner and client care supervisor, will soon have an employer subsidy for her 30-minute morning and evening commute between her home in North Burnaby and her job in downtown Vancouver.
“It’s about being able to come to work and enjoy the people you work with and finish the task at hand, and being able to be happy at the end of the day knowing you’ve fulfilled whatever you need to do,” she said.