February 20, 2004

Dissatisfied Employees are Job Surfing at Work

"Tell off an employee before noon, and there's a good chance that he or she will be back at their desk after lunch searching for a new boss on-line," says Monster.com's founder, Jeffrey Taylor. Yesterday he spoke at a conference in Toronto of the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario, as reported by GlobeTechnology.com.

Apparently the most popular time is between 2 and 3 p.m. on a rolling time zone, according to Taylor. Workopolis.com's president, Patrick Sullivan, cited 10:30 a.m. Monday mornings as the busiest time for his site. He added, "People come back to the office on Monday, after a nice weekend, and say 'I think I'll look for a job.' "

Mr. Taylor told his audience of human resources managers what I've been reading all over the Internet and in print: That employers should not assume that they have a captive work force just because the unemployment rate is hight. With the Internet, workers have easy access to opportunities and know whether they are marketable.

"You should treat [employees] like gold," he told the audience. "Employers who do not treat their employees well, he said, risk losing their best, not just 'the C-players . . . they might want to lose.' "

While virtually no one is expecting a rapid turnaround of the employment market, many experts are predicting that with the retirement of the baby boomers, there could be a serious shortage of American employees by 2010. (Of course, that's if we don't see a corresponding shift overseas due to global outsourcing.)

So in a nutshell, employers who think they have a captive audience are most likely just kidding themselves, and are focusing too much on the short term gains which will be more than lost when the human intellectual property eventually leaves for greener pastures. In my opinion, little things like appreciation (expressed both verbally and monetarily), employee enrichment programs, and fostering self-empowering environments really do go a long way -- especially in fast-paced, high-energy drain positions with long hours. Am I describing anything familiar to the legal market?

Topic(s):   Law Practice Management
Posted by Jeff Beard