Career Stability and Commitment Pays Dividends Over Time

Posted by Kevin Jarvis on Jul 07, 2016 05:00:00 AM

Topic: ALL

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Today, it is not uncommon for a career-focused individual to change jobs every few years. This trend is even more common among millennials. According to Forbes, 91% of millennials (born 1977-1997) stay in a job for less than three years. Many young professionals believe job hopping may be the way to fast-track career advancement, or help them build an impressive résumé. However, is this really the pathway to success? Or is there anything to sticking with a company and aiming to advance within?  The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) surveyed professionals and found that job hoppers are perceived as lacking a well-defined career path and unreliable overall.  While job hopping is becoming increasingly common, it often raises red flags for hiring managers and holds employees back from reaching their full potential.

SHRM also found that it is widely agreed upon by business professionals that the most common reason for job hopping is an increase in pay.  While the allure of higher pay is significant, the tradeoff is often an interruption in long term career aspirations. Research conducted by MarketWatch shows that many workers are finding that the simplest way to achieve job security is long-term commitment to a company. Job hopping, on the other hand, leaves little room for an employer-employee relationship to blossom.

Many parallels can be drawn between career growth and investing techniques. All too often, investors believe they can time the market in order to buy and sell assets at the perfect moment. They will jump in and out of investments, much like employees will jump in and out of jobs. This speculative investment strategy is beaten time after time by the approach that many of the industry’s legends employ; the “buy and hold” method. This structure, used by greats such as Warren Buffet, focuses on long term growth potential, and the dividends that result from the extended timeframe rather than short-term fluctuations.

Dividends are rewards for time.  In investing, a company will reward a shareholder for keeping their funds invested for a length of time.  In a career, the dividends are the mutual respect and esteem for commitment and hard work.  When a company sees an employee as part of the corporate “family”, they are more likely to put that employee’s best interest at the forefront of their agenda.  Employees often forget the power of recommendations, which are more effective in being promoted within an organization than at an outside company.  Consider the dividends of a partnership mindset with a company; the establishment of trust and commitment.  When time is treated like an investment, it is easy to see how job hopping ultimately hinders long term career development.

Keys to long term growth with a company:

  1. Realize the value of time.  There is a finite quantity in each person’s career, and great care should be taken to ensure it is spent in the wisest manner.

  2. Consider a company’s values.  A rewarding career starts with working for a company that is aligned with your core values.

  3. Don’t jump-ship just for the first good opportunity that arises. When a job with another company presents itself, consider all aspects before making a choice. A rash decision could burn bridges with your former employer.

  4. Network in other departments or locations of your company. Filling a position with an internal candidate is often preferred because of the access to references and the lower orientation costs needed to bring an employee up to speed.

  5. Organic growth can be better for a career than starting over with a new employer.  When you leave a company your reputation may follow, but managers’ first-hand experience of your work is lost. A company will strive to keep its employees satisfied, and this often leads to growth in other areas of interest.

Fottrell, Quentin.  Most Americans Say Job Hopping is a Bad Career Move. Marketwatch. July 11, 2014.

Meister, Jeanne. Job Hopping is the ‘New Normal’ for millennials: Three Ways to Prevent a Human Resources Nightmare. Forbes. August 14, 2012.

SHRM. Job Hopping SHRM Poll. December 1, 1999