Question marks strewn across the floor with one highlighted

In an article recently published by TechTarget, which we shared via our social media channels, a question was posed about how IT leaders can combat the IT talent shortage. In that article, which was based off of research that showed organizations are still struggling to bring in IT talent – especially for positions such as cloud architects, cybersecurity specialists and agile developers – they identified the reasons why there’s a shortage and addressed what IT leaders could do to combat it. The matter, however, is nothing new, as our own blog addressed the IT skills gap two summers ago.

So, with the issue continuing to be a thorn in the side of the IT industry, we wanted to tackle the topic from a different angle by asking the question, “Why do workers change jobs?” Our thought process being, if you want a candidate, especially one with experience, to make a lateral move, you first need to understand what would motivate them to do so (salary aside). In this blog post, we examine their reasonings and motivations for switching jobs.

The Reasonings and Motivations for Switching Jobs

Lack of Opportunity in Their Current Position

One of the main reasons employees change jobs is because there’s a lack of opportunity for them in their current position. Sure, a lucrative salary can be a key attractor but as the old proverb states, “money can’t buy happiness.” That’s why it’s important for leaders to always remember that people are looking for fulfillment, purpose, and growth in their job. They want to develop their skills, apply their knowledge, and improve at what they’re doing. When people can put their skills and abilities to use in the jobs they’re doing, they tend to feel a sense of usefulness, self-confidence, and accomplishment.

Career Advancement and Promotions

Career advancement is one of the most important elements for employee satisfaction and retention at a company. For the most part, when workers realize they’ve reached their limit at a company, despite how hard they may work or how well they may be doing, they tend to seek work elsewhere. When applicable, good workplaces will keep people advancing into new work paths and ensure they’re experiencing new roles and responsibilities. When this occurs, production levels tend to increase. A win-win for both employee and employer.

Excessive or Too Little Work

As with most things in life, too much or too little of one thing usually leads to problems. In a professional environment, too much or too little work can lead an employee to seek greener pastures. As our first two points made clear, workers are seeking a challenge. Giving an employee too many tasks, though, may cause frustration, a lack of motivation, or even employee burnout. Too few tasks, on the other hand, can result in boredom and a lack of fulfillment. It’s a fine line that leaders and managers must learn to walk.

Work/Life Balance

Just as leaders and managers need to find balance in the amount of tasks they give their employees, employees are seeking a happy balance between their work lives and home lives. It’s what’s referred to as a work/life balance and it’s defined as the state of equilibrium in which demands of personal life, professional life, and family life are equal. If you want your employees to work at your company for a long time, and be happy while doing so, then the importance of work/life balance cannot be overstated. In effect, studies have shown that employees who have a positive work/life balance do better work, so promoting this balance is beneficial to both employee and employer.

A Need for Autonomy

One of the more empowering things employers can do for employees is to give them entrepreneurial rights or, in other words, autonomy. It’s not an easy ask for employers and it’s more easily accomplished for certain industries (e.g. marketing or graphic design) than others (e.g. government agencies or banking). If, however, you are able to let your employees make decisions, own their work, and determine how to move forward, you will be rewarded. As you provide your employees with more autonomy, you’ll notice an increase in intrinsic motivation, trust, and loyalty to your company.

So, while there are many other factors that may lead an employee to change jobs, if you can work on improving these five motivators, you’ll for sure see improved retention and attraction rates.

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