Reducing turnover and improving employee retention is always a top priority for employers.
And yet, with the effects of the Great Resignation still lingering, as well as increasing concerns over the skill’s gap, coming up with innovative and effective retention strategies has never been more important.
Something we have also come to notice is the rise in non-linear career paths. One study has found that Gen Z are 53% more likely to pursue an unconventional career path as they are proving to be a lot less anxious about abandoning the traditional career ladder.
This normalization of non-linear careers has risen in popularity, and has been coined a ‘squiggly career’ by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis in their book of the same name. A squiggly career is one that embraces the idea of a career that is full of change, challenge, options, and opportunities, allowing people the space to develop in different directions without the anxiety of doing so. It rejects the notion that the career ladder is the only shape a career path should take.
Now, from an employer perspective, the idea of encouraging a squiggly career is a bit counter intuitive. But the ideology that rests at its core is an interesting and timely one, and could hold the key to helping leaders be more creative with their approach to retention strategies.
It is clear that some workers, particularly younger workers, are attracted to this idea of non-linear career paths. It gives them more space to try different things and to align their passions with their work. At the moment, the only way to take a ‘squiggle’ like this in your career journey is by changing employer altogether, but what if employers were actively creating this ‘squiggle room’ in the roles they offered?
One of the best ways of doing this is by creating the space for employees to job craft. This means being open to being flexible, creative, and innovative with an employee’s role, and allowing them to craft their own personality and passions into what they do in order to increase engagement and produce top-quality output. This ‘squiggle room’ allows the space for employees to explore different skills and approaches all while remaining in their role, which means they won’t feel the need to actually move on to a different career entirely as their needs for flexibility are already being fulfilled.
Squiggle room also works great even for those who prefer the linear career path. There are always things in life that get in the way of our journey up the corporate ladder, whether that be trying to achieve a work-life balance, or taking care of kids, or falling ill. The list goes on. But with this ethos of flexibility built into a company, all these hurdles are going to feel much more manageable because their employer has actively created the space for these inevitable squiggles to occur.
And the proof is in the pudding – 54% of workers said they would leave a job if they didn’t think they belonged at a company. But with ‘squiggle room’, there is space for everyone to be accepted and included for who they are, not just the skills they have to offer.
To discuss how we can help you create a squiggly culture in your workplace to improve retention rates, please get in touch with us.