A close friend is putting his resume together in anticipation of a new job search. He hasn't been on the "market" for over 15 years. I clued him in that things have changed significantly since circa 1998. For example, since 1998 we have weclomed Viagra, the iPod, hybrid cars and You Tube - not to mention the new nations of Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo and South Sudan. There's alot more that has changed or been invented since '98, but I think he got my point.
My friend is of the mindset that the fact he has been with the same company going on 17 years will be a big plus in his job search. While that is admirable, I told him, it really isn't that important anymore in today's job market. In my prior life, I reviewed resumes all the time and one thing is for sure, it's rare to see someone in the same position for more than 10 years, and it's not unusual to see people change jobs every few years. We used to call them job-hoppers (or losers, depending on who you talked to), but today it is an admirable quality to see that breadth of experience on resumes.
Which got me thinking about it more deeply and asking myself: Is it a matter of employee dissatisfaction with their job or something else that causes people to move on after a few years? In my new life as a professional coach, employee motivation is a big topic. So I decided to explore it.
What is it that excites people to get up each day and go to work? What drives folks to put in long hours, and fuels their passion to go to the office each day? In the Forbes article: "The Top 9 Things That Ultimately Motivate Employees to Achieve" dated June 4, 2012, Contributor Glenn Llopis discusses employee motivation. (Some of the top 9 surprised me.) I have excerpted the 9 factors below. For suggestions on what leaders can do, refer to the article in its entirety.
1. Trustworthy Leadership - Leaders that have your back and that are looking out for your best interests will win the trust of their employees who in turn will be more motivated to achieve.
2. Being Relevant - In today’s world where everyone wants to be noticed and recognized for their work employees are motivated to achieve to remain relevant. As such, employees are in search of new ways to learn, improve their skills and invest in themselves.
3. Proving Others Wrong (surprise!) - This particular motivation to achieve has been heightened as of late from younger professionals that seek to prove themselves faster amongst older generations in the workplace. Employees never want to be stereotyped or marginalized, but for many younger professionals this serves as the trigger to awaken them from within.
4. Career Advancement - Perhaps the most important factor on this list is the ability to advance. Employees are extremely motivated to achieve if this means that advancement awaits them. This requires employees to be mindful of opportunities that lie around, beneath and beyond what they seek.
5. No Regrets - People only have a few real chances in their careers to reach their ultimate goals. In fact, how many times do you meet people that are more successful than you are and you wonder how they got there? People don’t want to live with any regrets in their career/life and thus are motivated to not disappoint themselves.
6. Stable Future - People are motivated to have safety and security. Everyone wants a stable future, but you never know when time will pass you by. That’s why we are all in a race against time and thus motivated to achieve faster than ever before. We have all learned from the 2008 economic collapse that we can all quickly become victims of unexpected change without preparation.
7. Self-Indulgence (huh?) - This factor is quite interesting and extremely important to put into proper perspective. People are motivated for selfish reasons to achieve – albeit money, attention, fame, etc. Must we be reminded that greed and selfishness contributed greatly to America’s current economic hardship?
8. Impact - As mentioned earlier on, today’s employees are motivated to achieve more than ever simply by the opportunity to create impact. As employees reflect on their lives and careers, they want to contribute in ways that measure their achievements based upon the long-term benefits that the company they serve bears.
9. Happiness - In the end, happiness is one of the greatest motivations to achieve. Happiness fuels ones self-esteem and gives people hope for a better tomorrow. We are all victims of taking our work too seriously. Step back and enjoy the journey. Your motivation to achieve is ultimately based on earning a living that brings you tremendous joy and satisfaction.
You can read the article in its entirety either on Forbes.com or on my website: pathfinder-coaching.com. In a nutshell, employees are not merely motivated by the traditional values of yesteryear, i.e. money and a job for life. They are in search of more. More meaning, more relevance, more impact, more happiness. If your company is not taking these factors into consideration, then prepare yourselves for the loss of your most valuable and talented employees.
Gina is the Principal and Coach at Pathfinder Professional Coaching. For more information on Pathfinder, including free surveys and videos, go to pathfinder-coaching.com. Pathfinder Professional Coaching is also on Facebook.