Insights & Trends

Why Job Hoppers Hop and How You Can Stop It


As a human resources professional, you’re all too familiar with the job hopper — the employee who changes jobs every one to two years.

Due to the time and money necessary to hire and train new workers, employers view job hopping candidates as unfocused or otherwise not dependable. However, many workers — especially those new to the workforce — use this tactic as a means by which to quickly move ahead in their careers.

According to the 2016 Gallup How Millennials Want to Work and Live report, new workers (aged 18 to 21) are the most likely to become job hoppers. In fact, researchers predict these workers will change jobs up to six times before they turn 32.

Today’s younger workers are focused on their personal brands, and are searching for ways to make their brands competitive and successful. When their workplaces seem more focused on company growth, these employees will leave for a new opportunity.

Some are embracing this fact. LinkedIn’s 2017 U.S./Canada Recruiting Trends report found 81 percent of those surveyed admitted that matching employer brand to employee brand has a significant impact on attracting talent.

Even so, not everyone’s fully on board. In the 2016 Jobvite Recruiter Nation Survey, only 51 percent of those surveyed said they’re focused on employee branding.

The following advice will help you demonstrate to job hoppers the benefits of remaining in their current roles:

1) Understand and put to rest employee concerns

Some employees see job hopping as necessary to advance in their careers. However, they’re less likely to hop if the company offers development and advancement opportunities.

Meet with employees one-on-one to help them create a personalized career path. To accomplish this, you must first determine their interests, skills, and strong points. As much as possible, tailor their role to those specifications.

Allow the employee to highlight and apply skills and talents outside of their job descriptions. For instance, a sales representative who enjoys creating graphic design projects in their free time could feature self-made images in their sales presentations. This way, they’re using a passion to directly benefit the company.

2) Create opportunity to grow personally and professionally

Today’s younger workers view work as an extension of their daily lives, rather than a scenario that requires specific behavior. Younger workers don’t want to have to filter or alter their ideas or mannerisms.

Instead, they seek companies that share their personal as well as professional values. In addition, younger workers want to know the company is making an impact outside of mere sales figures or project deadlines.

Here are a few ways you can pair employees’ need for individuality with career advancement:

  • Create “idea lending” programs where young workers can offer advice and opinions. Gaining new perspectives on company processes is beneficial to ensuring optimal productivity without wasted time or money.
  • Demonstrate how the company is making a social impact. Highlight to these workers company-involved aid programs, charitable donations, youth education sponsorships, and other examples of outreach beyond workplace functions. If your company is not currently involved in any social impact programs, task these younger workers with brainstorming outreach options.
  • Create team-building programs such as happy hour socials, weekend barbecues, casual sporting activities such as kickball, and others. When employees feel personally connected to their co-workers, they’re motivated to become high performers and remain with the company rather than search for greener pastures.

3) Communicate more often and more clearly

Younger workers are used to frequent communication and crave that interaction. They are not comfortable simply being given a directive with no further discussion until the task is completed.

Create milestone project updates and monthly one-on-one discussions. This not only satisfies the employee’s desire for increased communication, but will give you an opportunity to gauge project progress and determine if the work has strayed off task.

Younger workers also relish public recognition. Create a monthly awards program, and communicate the value of each employee to the short- and long-term success of the entire team/company.  

Above all, communicate frequently and in brief sessions. This contact doesn’t have to be solely about work-related issues. Building team rapport and relationships leads to loyalty and dedication.

No employee wants to feel like a number or simply a “worker bee.” It’s important to demonstrate to job hoppers how remaining with the company will enable them to gain the skills and experience they desire, while growing as an individual and advancing in their careers.

By understanding employee concerns, creating personalized professional plans, and keeping communication frequent, it’s possible to end the job hopping tendency and retain motivated and qualified workers.

What are you doing to keep your employees engaged? Let us know in the comments!