Here's a statistic that'll kick your employee-retention strategy into high gear: A new survey says nearly three quarters of your employees are cruising online job sites – during the workday.
The poll of nearly 400 U.S. and Canadian workers by Right Management and ManPowerGroup discovered exactly half admit to looking at job boards often during office hours, and nearly a quarter (24%) say they do so occasionally. Only 26% say they look rarely, if at all.
"No one ought to be surprised today that most employees are tuned into the various Internet job sites," says Monika Morrow, senior vice president of career management at Right Management. While there's no getting around the fact that some employees may be actively looking for a job, Morrow suggests that for many, scrutinizing job boards may be a way to relax. "People are under pressure, and nowadays many eat lunch at their desk and don't even take all the vacation due them. So investigating what jobs may be available elsewhere may be harmless," she says. It may even be beneficial, Morrow suggests, with job searching helping employees stay informed and on top of trends in their industries.
She cautions employers against pushing the panic button or cracking down on Internet use based on these findings. "Constant presence on the Internet is now a fact of workplace life, and evidence is that people are nevertheless working harder and more efficiently. So I don't think employers should be concerned by this finding."
If employees are spending work time looking at job boards, employers might reasonably wonder how this is affecting productivity. Morrow suggests it's not necessarily a cause for concern. "I suspect checking out job boards is no more distracting or time consuming than personal phone calls or dabbles on Facebook, and employers learned long ago to live with those."
Even though most employees are checking out job sites, relatively few are actually switching jobs at the moment, notes Morrow. "On the other hand, that may change whenever the job market heats up again."