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Get ready, work is changing

 8 February 2018     Donald Cooper 

Forty years ago, most people worked for the same company for much of their life enjoying a stable working environment and a predictable career ladder. Because change was much slower then, people had long-lasting skills. Not so today.

It’s estimated young people now entering the workforce will typically change jobs 12 to 19 times and change entire careers three times during their working life. So, your average new hire is going to be with you from two to four years before they move on – unless you give them a very compelling reason to stay.

More and more work will be done on a project basis by freelancers. It’s estimated by folks who study these things that in just a few years 40% of North American workers will be freelancers or contract workers. The buzzword for this is ‘The Gig Economy.’

Both my son and daughter-in-law are freelance advertising consultants, going where they’re needed, when their particular talents are needed and picking the companies and projects that interest them. This gives them the lifestyle freedom and control that works for them.

According to Forbes Magazine, people who strategically change jobs (employers) every few years end up earning a minimum of 50% more over their working life than those who stay put in just one or two jobs for life.

To illustrate this point, the Forbes article tells the story of Jessica Derkis who started her career earning $8 per hour ($16,640 annual salary) as a YMCA marketing manager.  Over the next ten years, she changed employers five times to ultimately earn $72,000 per year at her most recent marketing position.  This is approximately a 330% salary increase over a 10-year period.

As business owners or managers this means that we must improve our ability to on-board new employees or freelancers quickly, so that they’re highly productive as soon as possible. No more taking months to ease them into the job.

It’s also important you put into place a process to recognise top performers quickly and create – both for them and with them – a career path that keeps them challenged, engaged and rewarded.

Finally, if you’re a toxic boss – or if some part of your culture is toxic – you’d better change your ways in a big hurry. The real battle in business today is the   battle to attract, challenge and retain talent and those top-performers won’t tolerate toxicity.  They’ll move on while you stand there saying, “You just can’t get good staff anymore!”

So, what needs rethinking, fixing or doing in your business to prepare for the big changes coming in increased staff turnover and the trend to hiring more project-specific freelance employees?

Note: If your business needs help with attracting, engaging and retaining talent, my session on Winning the Talent WarsEight essential steps to attracting, leading and engaging a top-performing team! can be helpful. I’m easily reached at (416) 252-3703 or by e-mail at [email protected].


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This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.


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