Despite the surge in unemployment and a growing employee pool, it is still hard for companies to find and keep talent.
Today it takes more than adequate pay and benefits to keep employees happy -- it takes a positive, nurturing work environment. And it seems that some employers are still struggling to create a workplace that will invite and retain employees.
I have a friend who is clearly a valued employee where she works. Her supervisor tells her she is valued, and she has received cash bonuses and raises to reinforce that message.
Yet she is not happy in her job most of the time, because she does not feel that she is contributing to the mission of the department or to the company in a significant way. The projects she is given to work on do not utilize her strengths or give her an opportunity to grow and learn.
Despite the money and words of encouragement, this employee is honing her resume and thinking seriously of looking for employment elsewhere, simply because she is being underutilized.
She has discussed this issue with her supervisor, who knows she is unhappy. But instead of working with my friend to determine how she might better serve the company and develop her abilities, the supervisor gives her more projects that are simply routine.
Not every company can satisfy an employee's need to grow, learn and contribute. Sometimes an employee's skill level doesn't match his or her desired job "wants." But a savvy manager knows how important it is for every employee, especially those who are skilled and ambitious, to have the chance to develop.
It is not only vital for retaining the employee but for the future success of the company. Employees who are given a chance to spread their wings are more likely to contribute the most to the bottom line. They are the managers and executives of tomorrow.
But if those impulses are stifled, they will spread their wings and fly elsewhere.