How many times have you heard senior leaders in an organization complain about the lack of loyalty among lower-level employees? They bemoan how hard it is to retain key talent. Some even get quite frustrated about what they perceive as disloyal behavior on the part of those who choose to leave for other opportunities. Well, a new study by Peter Cappelli and Monika Hamori shows that senior executives perhaps should look in the mirror. Cappelli and Hamori studied information collected from a leading executive search firm. They discovered that 52% of the senior executives approached by the recruiters responded with an expression of interest in an outside opportunity. They became candidates for an outside position. Cappelli found the number quite surprising.
What's the implication here? Certainly, senior executives need to think about the conflicting messages that they are sending their employees. If they are frequently entertaining outside inquiries, then how can they expect different behavior from their staff? Moreover, executives need to think about their talent development programs and succession planning processes. Why do many people consider leaving? Their firms aren't investing in their development, and/or they don't see a clear path to advancement.
One final interesting finding from the study: Executives with greater career breadth, either outside the firm or within the firm, tended to be more likely to become candidates for outside positions. In other words, moving people around to different units, regions, and functions can be good for your company and for the employees' development, but it may have one adverse effect. It may actually make those people more open to moving to a new opportunity outside the firm.