career mov

Does Making a Career Move Mean Switching Companies?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Does making a career move mean switching to another company? According to a recent Gallup poll, the answer is “Yes” for a most Americans. In fact, 93 percent of U.S. adults say that the last time they changed roles, they left their employer to do so. Fewer than one in 10 (7 percent) say they took a new position within the same company. Results are based on a Gallup Panel web study completed by 13,510 national adults, aged 18 and older. The survey was conducted May 26-June 18, 2015.

“This tendency for American workers to move out of an organization—instead of changing roles within that organization—poses significant problems for employers,” write Gallup analysts Brandon Rigoni and Bailey Nelson.

An obvious challenge for many U.S. companies is turnover-related expenses. Gallup reports that while it’s tough to say precisely how much value an employer loses when a worker leaves, because factors such as job complexity and skill level must be factored in, some estimates find that it can cost up to 150 percent of the employee's annual salary for high-level employees.


What’s more, turnover can damage team dynamics because of the loss of group rapport or an employee's unique expertise and contributions. “Teams must also shoulder the burden of extra work until a replacement can be trained. Further, losing talented, knowledgeable employees can be a drain on a company's leadership pipeline, and rampant attrition can also take a toll on an organization's carefully cultivated workplace culture,” explain Rigoni and Nelson.

Gallup offers several strategies for keeping the best employees:

  • Hire the right people. Gallup's science overwhelmingly supports a data-driven, talent-based approach to recruitment. “A scientific approach to selection may seem to cost more up front. However, often top talent more than pays for itself with increased productivity—and it costs far less to find and retain great employees than it does to constantly replace mediocre ones,” write Rigoni and Nelson.
  • Mold jobs to people, not people to jobs. According to Gallup, playing to employees' strengths is far more effective than trying to improve their weaknesses. “Crafting jobs to maximize people's talents also builds stronger teams. By orchestrating each individual's strengths to fit the team's goals, leaders promote workgroup engagement and drive team performance.”
  • Keep managers committed and accessible. After an organization invests time and money in hiring great people, it's in that organization's best interest to help them continue to grow. “This means putting great managers in place to provide ongoing performance feedback and to position employees for ever-greater success,” advises Gallup. “By making career mobility conversations a regular occurrence, managers can help employees stay on track with their aspirations and accommodate their goals.” This will create a progressive culture—one that employees won't need to leave for a vocational refresh or to achieve their dreams.

For more tips on hiring best practices, join us for our virtual event, Hiring the Right People on December 3.  For tips on managing you career, check out TD at Work's Career Management Collection.

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at 

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