Chapter 5 Solving the Career Growth Dilemma

Career issues remain the top reason that employees are voluntarily leaving their jobs in the United States. This trend has happened seven years in a row based on our national research. And it’s not always about upward mobility or a lack thereof. It’s about growth—growing skills and knowledge, gaining responsibility for roles and tasks, being exposed to things that make one better at one’s job, and so on. No matter what organization we’re talking about, employees care a great deal about these matters, particularly millennials. Because they care so much about these matters, having conversations between leaders and employees is critical, and yet these conversations are not happening as frequently as they should be.

If an employee leaves in the first year, it’s most likely because they had missed expectations or were a poor fit based on the skills required. The next biggest reason is a lack of advancement opportunities. Figure 5.1 plots the biggest reasons employees voluntarily leave their jobs within the first twelve months on the job, excluding pay. We always exclude pay when asking these sorts of questions because everyone, even you, has a number—an amount of money for which you would leave your current job. Fortunately, even the allure of more money can be moderated by engagement. Research shows that if an employee is engaged, it will take at least 20% more pay to get them to leave simply for a higher salary. Conversely, if an employee ...

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