How Corporate America Can Win Back Employee Trust

by O'Donnell, J.T. Thursday, May 13, 2010
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It’s no surprise 55% of Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs. Recent events have taken the employee-employer relationship to the breaking point. Millions of people have been laid-off, giving them plenty of time to watch the news and see the corruption that contributed to their situation. The average length of unemployment is now 7+ months. Meanwhile, those who weren’t let go are dealing with survivor’s guilt and excessive workloads that makes them daydream of the moment when they’ll sing, Take this Job and Shove It, to their employer. In short, in the not-so-distant future, employee relations and talent retention are going to become hot topics in HR departments and executive board meetings across the country. In these meetings, they’ll ask:

• How do we keep our best talent from walking out the door?
• What will we do when all the Baby Boomers retire and we don’t have seasoned staff to take over?
• What can we do to improve our corporate image as a good employer so we can attract the best talent?

The answer is simple: Offer employees the one thing they want most – a way to feel more in control of their professional futures. Going forward, companies who provide a ‘Career HMO’ will be seen as more trustworthy and attractive as an employer. Here’s why...

Corporate America Has to Stop Making Promises it Can’t Keep

There’s a reason we say, “Every Job is Temporary,” at CAREEREALISM.com. The average length of employment these days is 18 months. A college grad today can expect to have as many as 9 careers in their lifetime with an average of 3 jobs in each one. That’s 27 jobs! So, for companies to say they can offer full-time, long-term employment is a risky proposition when statistics prove otherwise. Let’s be honest, there’s no such thing as a ‘permanent’ employee anymore.

Instead, Offer a Method to Ensure Employees Stay Employable

So, if we can’t guarantee employment, what can we do to help employees be their most productive and satisfied? What can we do to make them feel confident that, if the time comes to move on (either voluntarily or involuntarily), they’ll be able to do it without feeling scared or resentful? The answer lies in giving them the coaching and support vital to driving their own professional development, a.k.a. a Career HMO.

What’s a Career HMO?

A Career HMO is a career coaching service that enables employees to speak confidentially with an expert about their workplace challenges, career goals, and anything else related to their professional success. It’s a place they can go to educate themselves about the latest methods in connecting better with their boss, or dealing with an annoying co-worker. It’s a place to seek counsel and guidance on ways to feel happier at work. And yes, it’s a place to learn how to move on gracefully.

NO, Your Employees Won’t Be Coached to Leave You – Actually, The Opposite Will Occur

A common concern by management about implementing a Career HMO is that all the employees will just seek help on how to leave them. That is a very short-sighted view. In reality, people who are given an opportunity to talk through their workplace issues often are able to resolve their negative thoughts and recommit to the job. Don’t believe me? Ask members of Deloitte about the in-house career coaching service they launched. Better still, look at these results:

In the first year of deployment, Deloitte had these financial results:

$12 million in savings for turnover related costs – 1st year.
• Direct result of the interaction of one-on-one internal career coaches via a technology platform.
• Helping the employee better navigate through the firm, allowing for improved career satisfaction and ultimately retaining valuable talent.

Forget Outplacement, It’s Too Little Too Late

Another reason to implement a Career HMO is to avoid what many companies are experiencing right now. Laying-off employees is not only damaging to a company’s reputation, it also puts former employees on unemployment – which the company must contribute to. Sadly, in hopes of shortening their unemployment time, companies often overspend on expensive outplacement programs that are seen as a ‘too little, too late’ gesture. Moreover, many of these programs are outdated and inflexible with respect to an employee’s ability to use them. So, the pricey program is really just a waste of time and money. A better option is to provide a benefit that teaches employees to be prepared for changes in their employment status. Thus, when the day comes, they can put their job search in to high-gear and minimize their emotional reaction to the situation.

FACT: Going Forward, You’ll Need to, “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Companies of all sizes like to boast about what a great place they are to work. Well, job seekers are going to start saying, “Oh ya, prove it.” (And I’m not talking about winning employment awards.) They are going to want to see how confident you are in your ability to make them happy. Offering your employees a career coach to help them with their professional development says a lot about your respect and appreciation for your talent’s well-being. It also proves you believe 110% that you are a good place to work and that you are not concerned about employees wanting to leave. (Plus, do I even have to mention the number of personal and sick days that are taking each year due to mental stress about work? A Career HMO helps with that too.)

Want to See How a Career HMO Works?

The best part about using a Career HMO is how affordable it is. You don’t have to be the size of Deloitte to offer one. E-mail me at info@careerealism.com to set up a private demo of our Career HMO so you can see how it can help your company.