How long do we remain in the same position ?
In a recent article I have mentioned about generations – Decalogul generatiilor sau planul de succesiune, I can certainly assume that those from X Generation spent unless their whole life, at least 15-20 years in the same company or on the same position, which nowadays is a rarely thing.
In this context, the financial efforts of the companies in retention area and promotion through different advertisements of their organizational values have a lot increased. The turnover is a sensitive subject the more as in Romania’s labor market you do not find people already trained for some of the positions available in the companies, you are forced to invest your money in training and after all, in best case of 1 year later, the employee would prefer a job change or a company change. HR Life is not a easy one even if the general perception is that they produce employment papers and calculate salaries.
Considering the full professional cycle of employee, we can say that each of us is hired and paid for a set of competencies, gets his best work so to receive other challenges either in the same position or in a better one, acquires new competencies and in a certain moment, breaks his bonds with the current employer and the cycle restarts in another company.
In order to answer to the article question, we should understand what is the motivator for the employee to stay longer in a certain company, which time and how much time should he stay so to be still attractive for recruiters.
For a young teenager, who just graduated, the new information and the team are the most important aspects to consider in remaining in a certain company. At the same time, the salary is also important because the teenager either moved to metropolis or does not bear anymore to stay with his parents, needs privacy and to choose his own path, to assume responsibility since the beginning of university education.
On the other hand, a 50 years old person stays longer in the same position because the labor market, especially in Romania, would not offer the same benefits and salary increase as to the current employer and besides stability, sense of security is the most wanted, appreciated value in a Romanian organization.
What happens with those between 28 and 45 years old ? There are more options here: either have a great career ahead, with different jobs changed at each 3 – 4 years or stay in the same position till the company rewards their results and loyalty with another job and the last category, but a more special one – those who make their own business, share the time between these and work place till their business are stable, then focus entirely on them.
From a human resources perspective, the situation is quite difficult because the succession plan should be thought as a motivational tool not as a conflict or unclear decisions tool. In this case the rule of spending 3 years in the same position is no longer associated with learning curve but with a way to motivate the youngest and appreciate the older loyalty
But are these 3 years sufficient for taking over, learning, implementing and improving processes from the job ? I would analyse this taking in consideration 3 elements:
- Depending on the job – one activity that involves just providing information about the payment term for an invoice and some services’ packages can be absorbed in less then 6 months after intensive training. But if you need to change the strategy of the company, for sure you need to spend more than one year on that position
- Depending on the employee – if you hire an accountant which by the job itself, is very structured, details oriented, you are more likely to spend him more than 10 years in the same position over against a marketing employee, who desires challenges and to understand why the same campaign, lets say with cosmetics gets over in a certain industry and dies the death in another one. For the marketing employee, the chances to remain 4 years in the same position without too many challenges are out of the running.
- Depending on the future perspectives of the position – here is the summary of the upper discussion. If the employee is curious enough, he might study the market trends, to identify whether his position is to be on top in next 10 years or his work might be as well done automatically or by a robot. There is also the happy option when an employee spends 4 years in the same position but he learns a lot due to the relationship with multiple departments.
So if you think about spending 4 years in the same position, take in consideration both advantages and disadvantages on a long term.
According to American literature, there are 2 poles apart: job hopers and job clingers:
- Job clingers – those who spend 5 or more than 5 years in the same position, usually in the same company, without changing the name of position or the responsibilities
- Job hopers – those who spend less than 18 months on the same position, occupied different positions in different companies
Between these 2 extremes there is the normal professional life but have you ever thought about that normal is a relative notion as much as “good” so has different meanings for different people ?
How long do we stay in the same position ? As long as we consider it normal, relating ourselves to the learning curve and how quickly we managed to take over the position, relating to the companies’ jobs opportunities or to our professional and personal priorities.
Lets have inspired decisions !
Change as a choice
You open a photo album and you realize – “How much I’ve changed!” It’s not just in the physical sense, even if the visual impact makes you think primarily this issue, it is also taking into account the change in mentality. Over each of us different experiences and influences overlap – the education of parents, grandparents, teachers to friends, colleagues and working environment. Even if we do not realize we are in a constant dynamic exchange of energy, ideas, preconceptions about right and wrong, what is acceptable and what is not in the society in which we live. And even if we wanted to, we could not resist the change because we are shaped by our collective influence, which also gives to us so many choices to be, to think, to do everything that we get change, and we change. The same things happen in organizations – anyone who crosses their threshold somehow influence their course just that, according to the complexity of the position, the change is perceived as stronger or weaker. Otherwise competitors by launching products or better service, the global evolution of the industry concerned, a state policy in respect of local goods and services, prices etc are all agents of change. Consider for example the distance and the changes undergone by Ford, the Model T in 1908 launched the variety of designs and technologies used today (an interesting article on Ford’s history can be read here)
What is our perspective towards change ? Either organizations or ourselves, we have different strategies to react – some embrace change as something natural, even feel comfortable coming up with new ideas to support the process; others prefer to remain observers to align only with certain aspects of change while others oppose completely. Undoubtedly we have every motivation for our choices, it is important to realize the long term effects of the decision. Imagine that you have a child who refuses to learn to read and any efforts, promises you did, the change still not occurs, simply he does not want to. You are in a difficult situation – as a reaction to the type of child’s resistance you change your behavior from gentle, loving parent, who desires to make everything for her child to agitation coupled with efforts to find a solution. Another situation – a colleague with whom you get along great and at a time is assigned to control the activity that you are usually performing and suddenly you experience it as a pushy, nosy person and do not understand how it came to that situation. In fact a change of roles externally triggered other changes that you have not anticipated, both to you and to colleague.
Therefore, when we speak of change we have in mind:
- Fears about the biggest changes that we would like to initiate
- The effect on yourself on long-term
- Motivators of change – arguments that counter fears
Change, especially the conscious, voluntary one is like a mountain route – will be parts that will feel like climbing, will be others that you feel on the brink and the only certainty is the expectation that you have created about outcome. Fears will always be there in various forms – from poor self esteem to discouragement from others, from various shortcomings as financial ones to the lack of energy, that feeling of exhaustion when you come home and all you want is to lie comfortably in front of the TV or to sleep. On the other side, motivators are few or one single but very important: confidence in yourself. Think of colleagues, friends who were studying for an exam or did not accomplish their tasks perfectly but the confidence that exudes from the moment they enter the room until the moment that ended the exam or meeting is so strong that leave no doubts, uncertainties or misunderstandings. Obviously they made some changes while allowing them to be who they are today but that’s because their MOTIVATOR acted stronger than fear. It is up to you to see the change as an opportunity or as enemy !