If I Were Running A Company…CEO of One

Written by Tracy

I don’t fault employers and businesses for the market because it’s their right and duty to maximize their profits. But, as an individual, you’re a CEO of one, and you have a duty to maximize your profits.

                                                                       — Cameron Keng, Forbes

Here’s the problem businesses are facing today: why are their employees leaving jobs? Another question: why do hiring managers/recruiters/HR see a lot of jobs in a short span on resumes?

From Cameron Keng’s article on Forbes (which is hyperlink above), if you stay with a company for a long time, your salary value decreases. You max your salary after your second year with the company and then plateaus each year after your second year. In the Keng article, he mentions that some of the causes for people getting a lot more money after jumping ship were inflation, the recent recession, and competition that is not afraid to throw money at talent.

There is research that shows firms, that are less than five years old, are creating more jobs and older firms are destroying jobs. There are many reasons for this pattern, but the most interesting part about the research is although companies are making record profits, they are not investing in creating jobs or training, but keeping the money and want to make more until the well runs dry. This is impacting the publicly traded firms, who are using profits to buy shares of buybacks. Knowing that, you want to stay with the company that cares about piling up the cash instead of building a better product/service?

There are some in HR that argue retention is the biggest concern for the company and I don’t blame them. I tell HR that this is the norm today. This is not the the 60s, 70s, 80s, or even the 90s, where advanced technology barely existed and there were fewer options for moving to a new company. Now, with new technology every minute and tons of options, opportunities exist for people to moonlight or jump ship. Instead of focusing on how to keep an employee, focus on what impact the person can make during their stay (before they leave for another job).

But what if the next person is not better than we had before? That is the company’s job to build a training program and a talent pipeline to have a Plan B when Plan A leaves. However, without any investment to improve your employees, then what’s the point of staying when another company has a better offer or a startup has exciting projects you want to be part of? The younger firms are more aggressive getting quality talent because they can message by different ways of communicating to people and they are not afraid to spend (if they have a lot of cash).

I have stated before on previous posts that companies have two options: either they want to make a profit or be great. As Keng says, companies have to do what’s best for business, but employees have to do what’s best for themselves. Today’s workers are not waiting for an opportunity to open up, they take it (or create it) and run. It’s up to the businesses to adapt.

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