An ‘Always Seeking’ Mindset of Employees Today (and How to Retain Your Best)

by Sarah McVanel, Chief Recognition Officer, Greatness Magnified

I was surprised when somebody reported in a study that we can have up to seven careers in our lifetime. When I thought back to it, if you included some of your starter jobs, ones you’ve left behind, it makes sense. Then, the stats shifted again: 12-15 jobs in your lifetime.

Perhaps that’s not surprising to you if you’ve recently been waiting, watching the clock, and wondering, how is it possible that somebody didn’t show up for their own job interview? Or you’ve been that person onboarding somebody who has great potential, only for them not to show up to continue their training. Or perhaps you’ve just been shocked when somebody you thought you knew well announced, “Well, I don’t wanna do this anymore.”

What comes before that point of the announcement, the no-show to the job interview or bailing on the training? And is it a matter of fickleness? Mental health? Apathy? Entitlement? Attention challenges? (Can we blame this on TikTok too?)

Careers today, it seems, are like a litter of puppies. You start to fall in love with each one because they look so darn cute. You love this one because it’s so friendly, you love that one because it’s beautiful, and that one because it seems so fun. But you can’t take all of them home, not without a complete lifestyle change.

When you talk to people who are not full-on happy with their career, their boss, their workplace, their work structure, and a litany of other things that we’ve woken up to the realization that we have so much choice in and control over, you realize so many people are always contemplating. Could I fit another dog into my lifestyle? Do I have enough money? Would I still like this puppy once it grows up and is as big as his paws promise he will be?

Do I want to take one home and try it out?

You may find it trite to compare our views on careers to puppies, and I mean no disrespect, as I think it is something we can all agree on: we deserve free choice, an environment where we can do our best work, and respect while we’re there. The point is, there has never been a time where we have been as willing to try something completely new, simply because we enjoy it or simply because we would rather do something that captures our heart than only listen to logic.

Literally. Vets have never been busier. Know somebody who bought a dog over COVID?

We can be mad about it, and if you’re the one doing the hiring, you have a good reason. People having a more laissez-faire view of work is, no doubt, having a serious impact on your productivity, hopefulness, and energy.

  • We can embrace today’s employees’ curiosity, boldness, openness, and passion-seeking orientation.
  • We must grab people’s hearts and heads before they even apply for a job.
  • We must make our workplace, the people in it, the work, and the bosses seem as appealing as puppies.
  • We must evaluate recruitment pages, processes, or screening interviews to see if they stand up to the swipe-right reality of today.
  • We must find opportunities for micro-connection, curiosity, and interest to combat the scroll.
  • We must help the confused, disheartened, and less confident today’s employees visualize themselves thriving in your team, organization, and even your industry so that they are willing to take the next step.

image of a woman hugging a dog and kissing it on the headIt’s not all on you. Please don’t misunderstand me. However…

You have a great opportunity to test how you’re doing. What grade would you give recruitment as it’s done right now?

If the way people experience your organization as they are looking into joining your team is painful work, they may choose to move on. Work doesn’t have to be a fun party. I don’t think anyone expects to go to work and hug puppies all day (my friend, the vet tech, would say even people who work with dogs all day don’t – no time!) There might be a benefit, though, or at least it couldn’t hurt, to look at your early phases of the employee experience, or even your first interaction with you, with new curiosity.

Great people want to do great work and have a greater need for a purpose and passion. You offer it; how do they know?

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if I can give you an idea or two on how to do this. In the meantime, wishing you and your team all the best and help people, including you, feel more delighted, excited, and ignited in today’s dynamically changing employee experience reality.

Take a look at these previous posts. I know you’ll find some timeless nuggets to help you create a delicious employee experience:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

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