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Job Hopper Jason - what are his motives?

This week we're focusing on Job Hopper Jason in our winning cards series. Job Hopper Jason can be extremely costly, both financially and in terms of time and patience. With a reputation for serially moving from one job to another, he's never quite satisfied in a job, he's always looking out for a better opportunity and is generally not going to be one of your most reliable staff. We all dread recruiting Job Hopper Jason, but in this article, we'd like to consider the possible motives behind his job hops.

While you can guarantee that some Job Hopper Jason's will never settle...we think there's a large majority who want to settle in a job...one that suits them and their families. Might it be that those who move from company to company are actually searching for a flexible role, where they can share child care with their partner, where they can be a present and active member of their family as well as being a valued member of a team at work?

The government are taking this prospect very seriously. The traditional role of mums staying at home and dads being the main wage earners is quickly going out of fashion. Dad's want a say in their children's day to day activities too, they want to be there for them, they want to pick them up from school and see school plays and our workforce could potentially be structured to not only cope with that – but thrive on it. One could argue that it's high time both parents had the opportunity to have careers and bring up their families together.

If this is indeed one of the main reasons that Job Hopper Jason disrupts businesses by moving so quickly from role to role, you could influence his decision to stay in your company. You know only too well the cost of recruiting someone, agency fees, months of advertising, interviewing, making job offers, inductions, training. Even if Job Hopper Jason stays a year, you've got to replace him and go through those costs again. As always, we have some tips to guide you through so you'll be a) less likely to end up with an unreliable member of staff and b) much more likely to retain the undeniable talent that Job Hopper Jason really does have;

Consider these areas;

  1. If you find that staff leave regularly, make sure you hold an exit interview. It's good standard practice anyway but it's important to identify the real reason someone is leaving. There might be problems in your organisation, at ground level, that you didn't know about and you might be able to avoid future staff leaving for similar reasons.
  2. Carry out anonymous staff surveys asking for information about people and their jobs. Employers often put off surveys like these for fear of hearing problems that could be expensive or time consuming to deal with. Ask the obvious questions though, delve a little, find out what people really think and you'll be doing yourself the very biggest favour. This is an opportunity to make your staff feel heard, to bring to the surface problems that everyone knows about but no-one talks about. You have an opportunity here to change things. Use these surveys to inspire your board to create better working environments, teams, structures and services. It's exactly the right way to motivate talented, clever staff and avoid them leaving to go to your opposition.
  3. Take a detailed look at your recruitment and induction procedures. How exactly are you recruiting? How do you identify that a vacancy in your company exists? Try looking at flexible working hours for that role. Could it be appropriate for the role to be job shared between two staff? Looking really carefully at job design, what skills or competencies are required and how you're attracting candidates could all lead you to streamline costs.
  4. Manage employee expectations. Are you over promising? Another reason for Job Hopper Jason to leave could be that he was promised one thing and you failed to deliver, for instance are you promising a friendly open plan environment when in reality, the atmosphere is stressed and closed? What are the expectations on the role you've just filled? Does your new member of staff know exactly what's expected of him and what his role entails? If he fails to deliver or his team begin to quietly resent his inefficiency – it could be because you haven't been specific enough and he isn't aware of your expectations.

Businesses do need to think about the reasons why Job Hopper Jason might get his reputation and family friendly working is an issue which isn't going away. For more information on where the government is intending to take the flexible working strategy, click here.

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