A recent survey by global HR thinktank Reventure found that around half of those surveyed were looking for a new job in the next year.
And as the millennial generation starts to become the bulk of the workforce, the number of employees with itchy feet will probably increase – as millennials are likely to switch jobs more often.
But Reventure found that this could become an even bigger problem if employers start focusing on technology instead of talent.
Technology vs tradition
There’s a great deal of technological change coming up in the next five to 10 years.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will bring workplaces more automation, and therefore more efficiency, which could potentially open the creative capital of an organisation.
READ: AI and the workplace
Lead researcher at Reventure, Dr Lindsay McMillan, suggests AI could upend the traditional model altogether.
“The current pyramid structure of organisations is likely to face disruption because AI will begin taking over the repetitive, mundane tasks from everyone’s job,” said Dr McMillan.
When discussing the role of AI in the workplace of the future it’s easy to focus on the technology’s effect on systems and structures. But what of the technology’s effect on the humans, who each have their own careers and ambitions?
How do you make sure you can be a tech-led business without disheartening the people who make your business tick?
One word: purpose.
It’s about purpose
Reventure’s research found that 77 percent of millennial employees are searching for meaning and purpose in their work.
And – let’s face it – it’s hard to find meaning and purpose in your work if there’s constant talk about technology making your entry-level role redundant.
A workplace culture centered around technological advances can offer a great competitive advantage, but it may risk alienating people who already have an eye on the exit.
When segmented into industries, Reventure found professional office workers reported the lowest rates of finding meaning and purpose at work.
Often the people doing the so-called ‘grunt work’ in businesses are the ones who gain a bottom-up appreciation of the business and they move up the ladder.
If employees leave before they can climb the ladder, the business loses a lot of perspective.
To stop this happening, Reventure has suggested managers and business owners are clear about the way an individual’s role contributes to the overall success of the business.
“This includes fostering an understanding of how the individual’s personal attributes, such as their interests, abilities, values and personality, uniquely equip them to do their work well,” the report reads.
“Our research indicates many workers are now looking for roles that…contribute to the common good,” the report reads.
“Leaders who are able to identify, design and articulate strategies that go beyond money and serve a greater purpose, are more likely to foster a work culture that is conducive to developing meaningfulness.”
If employees feel a business is all about making money and being cost-efficient, they could see themselves as interchangeable cogs in a profit-making machine.
But businesses that embrace technology in the workplace while still focusing on making purpose clear – the ingredient that really makes a business work – will be able to reap the benefits of both.