How long do we stay 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 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:

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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 hopersthose 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 !

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