KEYGroup® Press Releases
The Issue Heats Up: Survey Shows That One in Five Employees Plans to Quit in 2006 to Pursue a More Balanced Life
A KEYGroup® research study reveals that 18 percent of workers plan to leave their jobs within the next year to improve their work-life balance. Dr. Joanne G. Sujansky, CSP, reflects on this “early warning.”
Are you doing enough to help your employees enjoy a healthy work/life balance? If you shrug off this question with an attitude of “That’s their responsibility, not mine,” you’d better think again. “Balance really is a bottom-line issue,” says Dr. Joanne G. Sujansky, CSP, CEO and founder of KEYGroup®. If your employees feel that work is overpowering their personal life, they’re likely shopping around for a new job. And it’s not just her opinion. She has the statistics to back it up.
“We just surveyed more than 1,700 workers from all walks of life on their attitudes toward their jobs and their companies,” says Sujansky. “And one of the most interesting findings was that almost one in five participants plans to look for a new job in 2006—specifically because of the ‘balance’ issue.”
The Internet-based survey—commissioned by KEYGroup® and conducted in December 2005 by MMc Marketing Research and Consulting—included questions regarding disconnect between management and workers, frequency of performance feedback, and the amount of unnecessary stress on the job, among others.
The 1,727 men and women who took the survey ranged in age from 18 to 64, had varying levels of education, and lived all over the United States. While they work in numerous occupations, the majority of respondents classified themselves as “Middle Management,” “Office & Administrative,” and “Professional.”
Eighteen percent of employees agreed with the statement, “In the New Year, I plan to look for another job to improve my work-life balance.”
“I see this finding as an early warning of a huge turnover issue soon to face the U.S.,” says Sujansky. “Fact is, many companies simply don’t have a culture that emphasizes work/life balance. There’s a prevailing attitude among employers that employees are there to work and their personal life, or lack thereof, is irrelevant. Let me bluntly say that if you think this way, it will harm your company. Guaranteed.”
Sujansky has pushed her clients to address the balance issue for quite some time. In fact, deliberately helping employees foster a healthy work/life balance is an integral part of creating what she calls a VEO—“VEO” being short for “Vibrant Entrepreneurial Organization.”
“A VEO is an organization in which all employees feel a sense of ownership for their company and their work,” she explains. “And obviously, you can’t be a loyal, innovative, productive employee—one with an entrepreneurial attitude—if you’re working 60-hour weeks and can’t leave the office to attend your child’s school play. That makes you a slave, not an owner. And slaves are always resentful of their masters.
” What’s really interesting about this survey finding, says Sujansky, is that it’s the opposite of how one might expect unhappy employees to act in an age of economic uncertainty. Rather than telling themselves they’re lucky to have a job at all, they’re resolving to do something about their dissatisfaction.
“What I’m seeing in my work with clients is that the best and the brightest employees, the kind you want to have working for you, know they’re in demand,” she asserts. “Why? Well, my theory is that in difficult times, people re-think their priorities. They focus on what really matters to them. And you know, working long hours for a job that’s unfulfilling isn’t going to make the cut.”
Here’s another facet to consider: In times of intense pressure, heightened competition, and rapid change, companies with resentful, stressed out, overworked employees are more likely to be squeezed out of the marketplace. They just don’t have the VEO “edge” they need to stay viable—and the people who are motivated enough to leave may go on to strengthen the very competitors that are making you obsolete.
“You must make sure your employees are fully engaged and energized,” Sujansky asserts. “Treat them holistically as individuals who have lives outside the office. They’ll be grateful and will reward you with their hard work and loyalty. And chances are, they won’t be one of the 18 percent who, right now, are surfing career websites and calling headhunters. They’ll know they have a good thing going—and so will you.”
This article may be reprinted for your use in an organizational newsletter and or e-zine provided that you contact Kelly Hanna, Director of Sales and Marketing at 724-942-7900 to gain permission.