Employee Engagement

How Companies Can Create A Place Where Job Hoppers Want To Stay

By
Amanda Cross

If you’ve been interviewing job candidates in the last decade, you’ve probably seen a decrease in employee tenure. The recent pandemic has made job hopping more relevant than ever. In 2020, many employees saw the fragility of life up close and personal, which created a great resignation that continued to impact companies in 2022. Even with mass layoffs in fields like technology, employees want to find work that matters.

So, what does this mean for companies? How can they understand job hopping and create an environment where these employees want to stay long-term? We sat down with Jessica D. Winder, the current Senior Vice President of People at Refine Labs. Winder is an HR leader who has used job hopping to build a valuable and varied career. From an entry-level recruiter to an executive team member, Jessica has a valuable experience we were excited to tap into for this article.

What Is Job Hopping?

First, let’s understand what job hopping is.

Job hopping is moving from one job to another, typically at a quicker-than-average pace. While the current median tenure in the United States is 4.1 years, job hoppers will likely move every 1-2 years.

Job hopping may offer employees benefits that staying in one place doesn't provide. Today's article will help you understand why employees job hop and what you can do to work best with this growing workforce.

Two women sitting at a table in an interview.

Why Do Employees Decide To Job Hop?

Job hopping is a relatively new phenomenon. In the past, there were many incentives to stay with an organization for a lengthy period.

“My dad worked for the same company for 30 years,” remarked Winder, “But he also got a pension. He's also on their insurance and will be on their insurance to the day that he dies. The benefits he received for staying there for 30 years are no longer true.”

As a result of the new world of work, there are many reasons an employee might want to move to a new role, and it's not always related to the current company they work for.

Lack Of Growth

One of the biggest reasons employees decide to job hop is because they’ve hit a career growth ceiling.

In a recent Nectar survey on employee recognition statistics, we found that behind fair pay, career growth had the most significant impact on employee tenure decisions. In fact, 15% of our respondents marked opportunities for career growth as the number one reason they stay with an organization.

“I have a close friend who's been with the same company for almost 10 years, but she's getting promoted. So whereas I'm leaving, she's getting promoted, every two years,” shares Winder.

While it's essential to cover your bases and fill needed positions, eventually, you should create a deeper hierarchy for your organization.

When companies first start, they typically stop at 2-3 levels.

After you've been in business for a while, you need to build a robust company with individual contributors, managers, directors, executives, etc. Alternatively, you should also be looking for ways to add senior levels in between to add avenues of career growth to your organization.

Titles should also come along with a promotion in dollars. CBS News recently reported that companies save billions of dollars through title inflation. Many workers are beginning to see through title inflation, and it causes the ever-evolving door of job hopping to continue. As workers understand that they are being promoted in title only, they seek companies who pay them their worth (even if it's only at the beginning of their employment.)

Learning New Skills/Experiences

Each company you work for has a specific background. Depending on your career goals, you might need varying experiences you can't get all in one place.

“As HR, I needed experience working with unions, I needed experience working with a startup, and then I needed experience in a big company. And the only way to get that is to move around,” shares Winder.

There may be a way to grow with a company and see all of these evolutions, but this is often challenging. Job hopping can be a great way to gather all these experiences quickly.

New And Exciting Challenges

On top of new skills and experiences, employees might be looking for a new and exciting challenge. Working in a place where you are doing the same boring things, avoiding growth, or doing something you hate isn’t fun. These disengaged employees are ultimately hurting your organization’s bottom line.

It's easy to want these employees to stay, but it's ultimately unhealthy for the company culture you are trying to create. Work doesn't have to be fun all the time, but it should be a place your team doesn't hate.

Better Financial Opportunities

Another prominent reason employees job hop, even if it's a lateral career move, is money. As inflation increases living expenses, it makes sense that workers are doing what they can to make more.

In her role in HR, Jessica has helped with exit interviews and promotions, which gave her a unique perspective on job hoppers.

“I got to see when people were leaving that they were always leaving for more money,” comments Winder, “I also knew, because I was on the flip side of helping with promotions, that they were never going to get that money there. They were never going to get such an increase if they would have stayed with the company.”

Toxic Management/Leadership

Last, another reason why employees might job hop could be due to toxic management/leadership.

It’s well known that employees often leave managers, not the companies they work for. This phenomenon has been reported often, and you can typically validate this with exit interviews.

Companies must fix problems with terrible leadership because they create many issues for your bottom line, employee health, and knowledge retention. Bad managers don't go away on their own. You will likely continue to see attrition until you fix those issues. Here are thirteen qualities of a good manager so you know what to look for in your leadership.

A leader presenting in front of a group of employees

7 Ways Companies Can Keep Job Hoppers On Staff Longer

Even the most avid job hopper can settle down. If you want someone who frequently moves jobs to stay longer, you need to create a place they enjoy working. Here are some helpful tips you can use to do that.

1. Understand How To Find A Great Fit When Interviewing A Job Hopper

Job hoppers can contribute a world of good to your organization, even if they are only there for a year or two.

When interviewing someone who is a job hopper, it's important to understand how they approach their time with a company and the impact they could have on your organization.

Most job hoppers expect to hear questions about the length of their tenure, but companies shouldn’t focus solely on how long someone was there. What did they accomplish while they were with past employers?

Jessica shares that she approaches resume writing for new roles differently as a job hopper, “Do not write your resume with all the tasks that you did. You need to highlight how is the company better because you were there.”

As you review resumes and have deeper job conversations, focusing on the person's impact is essential. Whether you are interviewing a job hopper or someone who has been with an organization for a decade, their impact is crucial.

Ask specific questions that take into consideration the typical scope of their tenure. Your job is to understand how quickly they can positively impact an organization. Here are a few potential questions to consider:

  • What career achievement were you most proud of in your last role?
  • How did you accomplish _____ (something you saw in their resume) in your previous role? How long did it take you to achieve that?
  • What’s your approach to the first week in a new role?

2. Consider How Employees Can Get Involved Sooner

Are you standing in the way of progress and accomplishments when hiring a job hopper? Many companies create an elaborate employee onboarding experience for their employees, but that’s not always helpful for team members who job hop. These employees are used to making an impact fast, and anything less can make a new job difficult.

“If you don't plan to stay there long, that first 90 days cannot be a grace period, you have to start immediately,” adds Winder.

Your employees will likely play a prominent role in getting involved sooner, but you have to step out of their way.

Create A List Of High Impact Actions For New Employees

Do you have things that need to get done in your business? Is there anything that you can trust a new employee to do? Consider those high-impact actions that new employees can quickly take over.

For Jessica's latest role, she was writing a culture playbook in the first week. Winder also shares the importance of learning the business during those first few weeks, "To actually have an impact, you need to understand the business. So you need to understand what people that are in a completely different department that has nothing to do with you are doing."

Here are some examples of activities that new employees can tackle to make a huge impact:

  • Documenting a new process
  • Talking with customers and documenting the learning
  • Writing content for the company blog
  • Shadowing and attending meetings
  • Meeting with vendors for a project in the works
Coworkers working and talking together while on calls at a desk

3. Create A Fair Work Environment

Another strategy you can use to keep job hoppers on board is creating a fair work environment. 

“I look back over my career, and there are a couple of companies that I left, because I did not feel like I was being treated fairly, that I was given the same opportunities as other people,” Winder reflected.

Are your company's opportunities being shared with everyone or only a select few? For example, opportunities like learning and development, raises, and promotions should be shared with more of your internal team.

When new opportunities for growth and development pop up, share them with the larger company. For example, you can post in a general channel in Slack, create a dashboard in Notion, or create an internal newsletter highlighting learning and growth opportunities.

It’s also important to highlight these experiences more than once. Some of your team members may not have seen what you shared the first time (or they were too busy and forgot.) Being persistent will make sure that more people hear about new opportunities.

4. Focus On Being Transparent With Employees

Transparency is another crucial element for keeping job hoppers on your staff. Increasingly, employees want to know where the business is and what companies are doing to improve business performance.

Some companies choose to use things like promotions and raises to keep employees interested, but doing this can backfire.

“If right now you're a company, and you cannot give a pay raise, why is it that your team still thinks that they might get a pay raise?” asks Winder.

Employees typically understand when raises aren't available. Most would rather see the company stay afloat to keep their current source of income. This doesn't mean that raises and promotions aren't wanted, but it has to be a sound business decision. If your organization just isn't there now, let your team know. They'll appreciate the honesty.

5. Provide Room For Your Team To Grow

Next, you should provide opportunities for career growth. Employees don’t want to stay stagnant. Instead, they want to learn, grow, and take on more responsibility (especially if this comes with extra money.)

In a recent Nectar survey, fair pay and opportunities for career growth had the most significant impact on employee tenure. If your company can provide both of these, you will have a better chance at holding on to job hoppers.

One of Winder’s past companies approached team growth by giving out assignments:

“So for example, if I worked in HR, but I wanted to go learn about the product, I could take an assignment, which was three months to go to their meetings, be a part of their group, and still do my day to day job, but learn what they were doing. And that was so impactful to me, because I got to learn from a bunch of different people that I would have never really interacted with.”

Growth is essential, but you should also ensure that assignments don’t harm employees who can’t afford unpaid work.

Another strategy that companies have been using lately are secondments. Zapier recently created a buzz around these assignments because they use them instead of letting people go. For example, Zapier's recruiting team took a temporary assignment to contribute to other business areas instead of being laid off. As a result, the recruiting team can split its time to focus on the new project since Zapier doesn't need as much help finding new talent right now.

A woman working on a mobile app idea and pointing at concepts on a wall

6. Have More Frequent Culture Conversations

Do employees feel that they can only share their grievances with your organization through an exit interview? Company culture is essential, and business leaders must have frequent conversations about where the business is going to instill confidence in employees.

Instead of focusing on exit interviews, you can enable employees to share how they are feeling through:

  • 1:1s with managers
  • Employee engagement surveys
  • Stay interviews

By participating in frequent discussions and gathering survey data, you can spot where you can strengthen your culture to keep job hoppers satisfied and excited about the company's trajectory.

7. End Each Relationship On A High Note

Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, has a famous quote: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.”

Unfortunately, you'll eventually have to part with your employees, whether they leave in a year or a decade. Ending the relationship with grace is essential and improves your reputation as a business.

How do you treat employees when they leave your organization? Your employees are looking at how you treat team members who leave, and ending the relationship poorly could harm employee morale.

So, when an employee leaves, make sure you:

  • Get an understanding of their current duties and responsibilities
  • Host an exit interview to see where your organization can improve
  • Avoid talking negatively about that team member
  • Fill positions with internal talent or new workers quickly to avoid overwhelm

These simple actions will ensure that you create an environment where an employee can leave, but hopefully, they'll want to stay.

Create a culture people won't want to leave with Nectar

Conclusion

We spend a lot of time hoping for employee loyalty, but the recent job market has taught employees lessons that companies might not be ready to reckon with.

“Loyalty has to go both ways,” adds Winder, “And as we see in the current economic condition, there are thousands of people being laid off every week. You can't have loyalty one way. It can’t be ‘I'm going to stay with this company until the ship sinks,’ when it's not the other way around.”

Employees are trying to find employers that speak to them, and companies are trying to find the highest talent density. Therefore, companies must put in the work to create great cultures where employees are inclined to stay for longer than two years. Hopefully, this guide laid a foundation for creating a place where job hoppers want to stay.

About Jessica D. Winder

Jessica D. Winder is a HR Executive passionate about psychology and sociology. She is currently the Senior Vice President Of People at Refine Labs, and the founder and coach behind Hidden Gem Career Coaching.

Actionable workplace tips & insights for fellow people lovers

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