Voluntary Quits are Up

I’ve personally never thought of the metric that measures how many people are voluntarily quitting their jobs as a leading economic indicator, but apparently the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) thinks so. In a recent blog post, The Labor Market gets JOLT, Chief Economist Heidi Shierholz remarks that “a large number of workers voluntarily quitting their job is a sign of a strong labor market, one where workers who want to move on from the job they are in are confident they will be able to find a new job that pays better and more closely matches their skills and interests.” I understand her reasoning, but perhaps less quitting isn’t a sign of a deteriorating economy? Perhaps this is a concurrent indicator rather than a leading indicator.

I’ve not dived into the calculations for this metric, but I hope they are controlling for the 10,000 boomers who are retiring every day. They will voluntarily quit a job too, but that doesn’t mean the economy is getting stronger.

If you’re a Christian Business owner, there are some steps you can take to make it harder for your valued employees to leave.

First, be sure that all conflict between your valued employees and their managers is fully resolved.  Most often, employees leave a manager long before they leave a company or a job.

Secondly, consider off-loading some of their responsibilities to others and then enlarge their job with higher level of responsibilities.  Tie increased compensation to the attainment of new goals.

Thirdly, offer new or upgraded professional development training.  Most people will stay longer at a job if they feel they are growing professionally, are fairly compensated and are growing in their career trajectory.

Finally, if you suspect they might be looking around, then get out and start networking with potential candidates, even if they are not looking for a new job.  Frame the lunch or breakfast with them as a networking appointment – “you never know when the opportunity might arise for us to work together in the future – let’s get acquainted now.”  Even if they never work for you, networking to find new employees will pay huge dividends down the road.  They might refer great people to you who are looking for work or they mull it over for a few months and decide they want to make a change to your company.

Work hard to keep the people you have.  And work hard to be sure you know the people you’ll need in the future.

Bill English
CEO, Elevate
Associate, The Platinum Group