The Importance of Retention: fully developed workplace networks as key to true innovation
In an entrepreneurial society, like the one developing before us today, innovation is integral and vital. The development of this entrepreneurial society has been, without a doubt, mostly positive. Nonetheless, we shouldn’t overlook the trade-offs that come with this new way of doing business.
The changes taking place with the development of an increasingly entrepreneurial business world impact the work of manual and office workers alike. From outsourcing and automating labor to free-agency and job-hopping; less and less is being expected in the way of long term relationships with employing organizations. To support the growth that comes with our increasingly entrepreneurial economy we need to promote stronger communities, higher engagement, and better incentives to stay at organizations that are new and long-established.
A 2016 study by Indeed.com, the most used employment website worldwide, revealed that 91% of people are either actively searching for or are open to a new job and 59% of people describe themselves as constantly seeking new work opportunities with online job finding services. Additionally, getting hired appears to have little impact on these behaviors as 65% of people report resuming their searches within 91 days of starting at a new job.
Job switching and low commitment have been shown to dramatically affect organizational efficacy and performance in a number of ways. A comprehensive meta-analysis conducted by the University of Arizona showed that committed and collaborative attitudes at the workplace led to reduced costs and notable increases in key measures of a successful, fulfilling, work such as customer satisfaction, efficiency, and productivity. Boris Groysberg of the Harvard Business School conducted a study that showed steep declines in productivity in individuals who had just moved to a new company; due to the fact their ability to collaborate on projects, utilize available resources and navigate internal politics was severely inhibited by being transplanted into new and unfamiliar networks. According to Rob Cross of the University of Virginia, these networks take about four years to form fully. This is just a hair less than what a 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics shows to be the average period of time a wage and salary worker remains in one place. Indicating that a concerning proportion of employees never enjoy the benefits of fully established workplace networks and even fewer enjoy it for long.
So what can we do to change this?
Promoting real innovation and entrepreneurship is only possible with the commitment and work of an entire team. So change must begin by restructuring leadership and management structures. People throughout the hierarchy must be empowered with opportunities to take action and makes decisions based on their own visions and inspirations. This way fewer people are left half-heartedly chasing the dreams of others and true exploration can happen. Collective, rather than individual, compensations play a key role in promoting this collective incentivization.
Entrepreneurial work culture has many benefits, but to take advantage of them we need to shift the spotlight away from individuals and highlight teams and networks more. It is not about one of us, a few of us competing with one another, or a collection of followers going through the paces as directed by a hypercharged few. It’s about an inspired, empowered, and dedicated community of collaborators coming together to produce innovative contributions to the world.
Ph: Unsplash / Ian Schneider