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Report: Companies must do more to keep employees fulfilled
06:47 AM CDT on Monday, October 16, 2006
By BOB MOOS / The Dallas Morning News
Employers need to improve their recruiting and retention practices if they're to weather the worker shortage that economists expect over the next 10 years as the baby boomers start to retire, says a study being released today by the American Business Collaboration.
"Compensation remains the No. 1 factor in getting employees through your front door, but salary won't make them stay. Companies must do more to keep workers satisfied and fulfilled," said ABC's director, Debbie Phillips.
The report's recommendations include more mentoring, more flexible work arrangements and more communication with employees.
Still, the study's findings may not be as significant as the source. ABC, a consortium of seven of the nation's major companies, advises corporate America on how to manage employees who are more footloose than earlier generations of workers.
ABC was created in 1992 and has been at the forefront of helping employees balance their work and personal responsibilities. The organization's earlier reports have led to the creation of employer-based child care and elder care programs.
Texas Instruments Inc. of Dallas and Exxon Mobil Corp. of Irving are members of the group.
The latest study, based on an online survey of 2,775 people, found that America's workforce is swirling with change.
•A third of employees in their 30s and a quarter of workers in their 40s expect to switch employers within three years.
•Salaried employees expect to work for an average of five employers over their careers; hourly employees plan to work for six.
The study, done by Harris Interactive, said a lack of career development is a major reason for job dissatisfaction among workers in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Employees want more coaching from their employers.
The report also found that men are more concerned than women about achieving a better balance between their jobs and home life. Thirty-one percent of salaried men said their work and family lives are out of balance, compared with 18 percent of women.
"That's interesting, since work-life balance has been viewed as mostly a women's issue," Ms. Phillips said.
Betty Purkey, TI's manager of work-life strategies, said she's not surprised that the issue cuts across the genders.
"It's a men's issue, too," she said, noting that three of every four TI employees are men. "Women have just been more vocal about the need to balance their jobs and family responsibilities, though men are beginning to speak up."
The study also asked 200 people planning to return to the workforce about what they'll look for in their next jobs. A third of the men and a quarter of the women said they expect to pass up corporate America and start their own businesses.
"People want more control over how they work," Ms. Phillips said. "They've decided that if they can't find it in the corporate world, they'll create it for themselves. Companies that can't accommodate such people will lose out on their talent."
The study recommends that companies allow more flexible scheduling to hold on to "entrepreneurial employees."
Ms. Purkey said the ABC report is a good reminder that employees have different expectations and priorities at different stages of their lives, and that companies need to design their policies and practices to suit each age group.
"We have four generations working at TI," she said. "We pay attention to all of them."