Want to keep your staff this New Year? Practice transparency

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It's a scary number for recruiters and managers to see: 86% of employees said they plan to actively look for a new position in 2013.

Another 8% said they may do so and are already networking, according to a new Right Management poll of workers in Canada and the United States.Only 5% intend to stay in their current position.

“At a minimum, the survey findings are a sign of considerable job dissatisfaction throughout North America,” said Owen Sullivan, CEO of Right Management. “The constant drumbeat of downsizing coupled with the expectation to do more with less has put an added amount of stress on workers. Ongoing economic uncertainty and volatility around job growth and job security have warranted the exploration of new positions.”

Employers should take the time to try to gauge worker satisfaction as well as job commitment.

“What we’re finding is what behavioral psychologists call ‘flight cognition,’ a wish to depart a situation, not necessarily an indicator of actual employee turnover," said Sullivan. "Nevertheless, when more than four out of five workers seem so unhappy it ought to concern top management.”

The findings may also be a reflection of the continuous job hunt.

“With so many job boards and constant social networking, workers appear to have convinced themselves that they’re truly job hunting when all they’re doing is cruising the Internet,” said Sullivan.

The Internet job boards are sort of like window shopping, something to do during a down moment. A real job search, which is a much more serious proposition, requires a deliberate and concerted effort to make a change. However, the constant access and push and pull of the Internet and job boards make it easier to shift a window shopper into a buyer, he said.

Employers should be proactive when it comes to retaining top performers, who may be the first to get competitive job offers as the economy strengthens.

“Don’t wait. Have open and transparent conversations about the realities of the business to allay any fears and uncertainties,” said Sullivan.

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