The Job Hopping Trend: Job Hoppers Need More Than Flexible Work Arrangements
The Great Resignation Singapore. Labour crunch.
These terms have been thrown around lately and we know that job hopping in particular, has been on the fly…
A quick Google search will likely furnish you with articles on employers’ reactions, reasons to job hop and how companies are kickstarting talent retention programmes.
According to a survey by The Straits Times, 43% of Singaporeans would likely quit without staying for at least one year, and 42% said that they would “somewhat likely” leave for a job with a better offer less than a year into their current job.
I feel compelled to share some of my views because… I left my job of four years to join Seedly four months ago.
There were multiple push factors that led me to this transition which I felt was missing in most of the job-hopping stories I’ve read.
For what it’s worth, these are my thoughts and I hope it gives you some insights!
Would Raising Base Salary Prevent Job Hopping?
When I polled among the Seedly Community, the top three reasons for leaving a company, unsurprisingly, a pay raise takes the cake.
In today’s context, a salary adjustment is timely because of inflation and it is a source of motivation.
We’ve seen how some organisations have already taken the leap to adjust salaries. For example, the Big Four audit companies would raise entry-level salaries by as much as 20%, while the Civil Service after hitting a 10-year peak of 9.9% resignation rate last year, would raise salaries by 5% to 14%.
But, is pay the only source of motivation to stay?
The short answer to this is…
Money is a source of motivation, but non-monetary reasons could be the main drivers instead.
In his book titled ‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’, American author Daniel H. Pink cited studies showing that higher pay motivates people who work on mechanical tasks, but cognitive workers, on the other hand, are motivated by intrinsic factors. They are motivated when their work provides autonomy, mastery and purpose.
For the uninitiated, autonomy is the desire to be self-directed and has control over what you do, and how you do it, and mastery is about improving one’s own skills, which means its scope is unlimited as one can always try to outdo oneself.
Indeed, most of the articles featuring job hoppers cited their reasons for needing more control over working hours, career progression or better managers.
As someone who’ve witnessed peers leaving their companies although they’ve gotten a pay raise, I can’t help but agree with this.
So, what are employees looking for?
Flexible Work Arrangements, Hybrid Work Arrangements And Working-From-Home
As you can tell from the Seedly Community poll above, Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA) ranks third.
COVID-19 has made us reevaluate our priorities and quality of life, with most of us realising that remote working can be just as efficient.
In an Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) report, it was found that 41% to 52% surveyed felt that FWA should be the new norm in Singapore, whilst 20% to 35% felt that working-from-home (WFH) on most days should be the new norm for workplaces.
45% of these employees also felt that employers should allow them to choose which days they would prefer to return to the office.
In essence, those who feel more compelled to be physically back at workplaces when they want more flexibility in work arrangements, are more likely to look for a new job that’s able to provide it.
When the job nature allows and if this hasn’t been a permanent feature in an organisation, perhaps it’s time to implement it.
Personal Growth & Development
It’s great to see companies starting to ramp up their personal development and training plans.
But we can’t deny that for most of us, we can’t do everything we want within our designated job scope.
Don’t get me wrong, I was given the space and time (thankfully) to upskill by attending courses in my previous job. But, I felt that it wasn’t enough and there wasn’t a suitable role for internal rotation.
Through the many inspiring stories I’ve read about people jumping into different industries, I’ve learnt that it’s possible to pick up new skills even as you’re working (nothing’s impossible until you’ve tried it yourself).
Instead of just acquiring a new skill and jumping ship, I wonder if there’s potential if resources are poured into helping a current employee build up skillsets so that one can be exposed to a new job function while still being in the same company.
In an interview with The Straits Times, Organisational Behaviour expert Jared Nai from Singapore Management University summed this up quite aptly:
“Instead of being afraid that they will ‘waste’ money by developing and training their employees, they should acknowledge the fact that employees want to maintain their employability.”
Communications with Managers And Management
Apart from Human Resource practices such as anonymous pigeonholes and mandatory one-on-one sessions with managers, I personally believe that a structure of open communication is equally as important.
Establishing trust requires being genuine in communicating and being equally honest about what is and is not clear.
The fact is that we’re no longer made to follow instructions, and most of us would prefer managers who’re able to guide, provide input and give clear instructions.
One way to do this is to communicate information clearly, swiftly, and frequently.
As I observed, this includes communicating early when there’re changes to the management or company directives, as any changes require adjustments and affect work morale.
Similarly, creating a culture where workplace mental health is valued, is also an aspect which allows employees to feel safe in airing their opinions. This is especially so when employees are unsure how to react or communicate with their managers.
I’ve personally witnessed emotional breakdowns when colleagues have to second-guess their bosses, and this often prompted them to leave because the toughest part of the job was not the job at all.
It takes two hands to clap and there must be a willingness from both sides to work together so that things can move ahead.
“Nothing beats creating the right levels of psychological safety for someone to feel that they can open up, tell the truth and not have consequences for speaking their truth”.
~ Hetal Doshi, Organisational psychologist of O-Psych
Leaving a job is a big decision.
Here are some things to think about before you decide, as well as advice on how to make a graceful exit, whether you feel underpaid, need better working conditions, or simply want to take a break.
If job hoppers choose to stay, I guess it’s considered a win for both sides.
After all, who wouldn’t want to be valued when they spend five out of seven days a week at work?
What are your thoughts? Head over to the Seedly Community to share them with us!
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