Rules of Engagement - View on Jobs Outlook

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By Deanna C. White

The US Department of Labor may have released some dismal findings on job growth in its May Jobs Growth Report, but findings from the latest Randstad Engagement Index (released in May) show finance and accounting employees believe the job market is going to pick up, and when it does, many plan to leave their current positions for a better job.

Despite the fact that 76 percent of financing and accounting employees say they feel increasingly safe, secure, and confident about their current jobs and the job market, more than half of those workers said they would actively explore new job possibilities, and 35 percent say they are likely to seek out a job in another company, according to Ursula Williams, executive vice president of Randstad Finance & Accounting, the second largest human resources services and staffing company in the world.

And those are just the ones who are admitting it.

"This survey really speaks to the fact that organizations have to watch the engagement level of their high-performing employees. They need to have an engagement policy that specifically asks these employees 'What are you looking for? What do you want? What makes you want to work here'", Williams said. "Because employers know what can happen in the company when these people leave. Productivity can suffer, the knowledge base is depleted, and they have to spend time and resources recruiting new people." 

The Randstad Engagement Index, previously named the Attachment Index, measures the attitudes and perceptions impacting employee engagement within today's companies. The findings represent employees' priorities, concerns, outlook, and intent around both their current employer and future career plans. The study targets employees to help employers further understand and better engage their workforces. 

Key findings from the latest index reveal that finance and accounting employees hold the following opinions about their current jobs/employers:

  • Seventy-six percent feel secure in their employment.
  • Seventy-eight percent feel their companies have great futures.
  • Only 18 percent of finance and accounting workers are concerned about layoffs at their organizations.
  • Only 16 percent are concerned about losing their jobs.
  • Half of all finance and accounting workers feel they will get a raise in 2012.
  • More than half, 53 percent, feel more loyal and committed to their company/organization than when they first started with their employers.
  • Only 12 percent would consider taking a pay cut in order to keep their current job.

The index found finance and accounting employees' hold the following opinions on the job market:

  • The majority of finance and accounting workers, 56 percent, believe the job market will pick up in 2012.
  • Forty-two percent would accept an enticing offer from another company in the next six months.
  • More than a third, 35 percent, are likely to seek out a job in a different company or organization.
  • Forty-five percent believe it would take less than three months to find a new job if they lost their current one.

Williams said despite the fact most employers struggle to find and retain the best and brightest, they still devote a disproportionate amount of time and resources trying to reengage their underperforming employees ‒ neglecting the job contentment and retention of their highest performers.

"The high performers are the employees organizations have to worry about", Williams said. "Because they are the ones who are the most sought out."

And in most cases, she believes, retaining those high-performing employees is not a monetary issue.

"In terms of [salaries], everyone clearly wants the same or better, but depending on individual employees and where they are at in their career, there are many other factors they consider when they decide whether they want to stay with an organization, such as career development, their commute, and work-life balance", Williams said. 

But at the end of the day, behind all the number-crunching and analysis, Williams said the best thing an organization can do to earn its employees' career loyalty is, ironically, simple and obvious: "People just want to feel valued. They want to know what their contribution is to the organization. They want to know how what they do ties into the organization's success. Money is never the number one reason people give when they are asked why they have decided to leave an organization", said Williams.

To learn more, you can access the study online. 

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