We typically change work employment 4–8 times in a lifetime. There are exceptions, but most fit within these limits. If we roughly calculate that working life lasts about 40 years, then the average employment relationship is 5–10 years with these figures.
“I came, I saw, I conquered”. Some can describe their career with such grand words. Most people describe their careers more moderately, but I like to think that longer working relationships between the lines imply that things have gone rather nicely after all. If not quite “I came, saw, and conquered, then maybe at least “I came, saw and enjoyed myself “
Nowadays, “I came, saw and enjoyed” more often seems like “I came, I was, and I left – and quickly.
For some, short-term employment relationships are suitable for their life situation, but I believe that most employees and employers wish that the employment relationship would last longer. Yet, today, even several consecutive one- to two-year employment relationships are not uncommon. It is also striking how people praise their previous employer and previous colleagues, even though they are leaving so soon. The gratitude for the previous job is abundant in the extreme. I have already learned so much and developed that now is the time to take the next step in my career, is said repeatedly by many. Perhaps this is not about telling the whole truth but rather being over-polite. If everything is so wonderful, why on earth would you want to leave already?
Well then, why do more and more people change jobs more and more often? There are probably several reasons, and it is not always one’s fault you end up in this situation. Sure, if every time you want to change jobs just after a short period and constantly find yourself thinking that the reason lies only in others, never in yourself, then this may be a place for some self-reflection. The same applies to employers who find themselves always hiring people who always fail in their new job. This is hardly only the employee’s fault.
You can’t influence all the reasons, but you can influence your attitude and how to do things right. This applies to both the employer and the employee. Many, I believe, sometimes all of us, on both sides of the table, have room for improvement. If more attention were consciously paid to this, I think employment relationships might also start to lengthen again. Perhaps we again could get closer to the saying, ‘I came, saw, and enjoyed myself.
In my opinion, there are three phases in an employment relationship life cycle:
The beginning – is when the employee is introduced to their job/employer, and the employer gets to know the employee.
The middle period – is when the employee enjoys his work, develops, learns, progresses, does his best and makes” an impact”.
The termination period – is when the employee leaves the employer – either of his own free will or is forced to leave.
I think we should always pay attention to the entire employment relationship life cycle. Every step is important for both the employer and the employee. I feel both parties should invest in each step to the best of their abilities. And not as it unfortunately often happens, in the beginning, during the onboarding, both parties make an effort; in the middle period, many seem to prefer to let things roll under their own weight, that’s it, and in the termination period, neither party could not care less. As a result, when they separate, both are often more than satisfied to get rid of each other. If you do not invest appropriately in every employment relationship life cycle period and are unaware of the consequences, this can happen more easily than people think. So how do we stop this from happening?
The employer: The starting point should always be that the employee is treated well throughout the employment relationship life cycle, when they enter the company, when they are in the company and when they leave the company. What does this mean on a practical level?
The beginning – i.e., the onboarding period. Onboarding refers to introducing the new employee to his new employer, the organization, and the job. The employer’s goal is to make the employee feel welcome and to ensure they get the best possible start in their new job. It is essential that this is done well.
This does not mean that someone has to hold the employee’s hand all the time. It means that the onboarding activities must be of real benefit to the employee so that the employee feels that the employer genuinely values and invests in them. The employee must get and retain the feeling that he made the right decision when entering this company. There is always a beginning and an end to the onboarding period. At some point, an invisible line is crossed, where one moves to the middle period.
The middle period – It is usually thought that once the onboarding has been completed, it is the employee’s turn to invest in the company, i.e. to do their job as well, efficiently and productive as possible. And that’s a reasonable requirement from an employer. But this does not mean that the employer should now stop paying attention to the employee. On the contrary, the employer must continue to support and encourage the employee, so they will continue to feel valued and appreciated. The salary or bonus does not compensate for the lack of appreciation. The employer must also ensure that the employee has the right and good work conditions for working and development. Then, no matter how good things are, as the years go by, it is only natural that a feeling that you want to do something else starts creeping in at some point. And so, we move, sometimes almost unnoticed even by ourselves, over the invisible mental line to the termination period. We want to move elsewhere.
The termination period – Some people spend their whole lives working for the same employer, but most of us eventually feel we would like to do something else. This is not a vote of no confidence in the employer and should not be taken as such. This is the most delicate phase in any employment relationship for both parties. How will I feel the moment I hand in my notice? How will the employer react when I do it? No employer wants to lose a good employee, that’s for sure. But even if the employer is “happy” that this very employee is leaving, the employer should do their very best to ensure that the leaving employee gets a good feeling and a positive memory of the employer when they depart from their job. This is about investing in the company culture and the well-being and motivation of the remaining employees, as they see how the company acts when someone leaves. Here the employer also invests in a walking talking advertising billboard, which tells people how well the company treated them at the moment of their departure. This is also an investment in the company brand.
Employee: Also the employees should do their best throughout the entire employment relationship life cycle – when they enter the company – when they are in the company, and when they leave the company.
The importance of having the right attitude is emphasized here: How you do your job, how you behave, how you treat your co-workers, and how you deal with your boss and your employer in general. A good working relationship is something that both parties should invest in, from start to finish. The employee is equally responsible for making their best contribution in return during the entire employment life cycle. Without this, a good and long-term working relationship rarely arises. Here are a few examples of practical situations where this can be affected, in a good or bad way.
The mind can quickly become poisoned if all hardships and disagreements are seen only in black. We all experience difficulties and have disagreements. They can also be seen as an opportunity to learn. Few people develop in their work without them. Just because a manager/co-worker thinks differently about something doesn’t always mean they’re wrong. If you consider all dissidents to be just idiots, do not expect any team spirit and cooperation from others. If you approach the thoughts of others with an open mind and a sensitive ear, chances are, you will learn and get good colleagues. If you never offer your help when you see that a colleague is in trouble, do not expect to get help and sympathy from others when you need it yourself. If you mistreat others, how do you think you will be treated? “You will be treated the way you treat others” is a good guideline for every period of the employment life cycle. Also when you resign from your job.
It is always advantageous to try to leave behind a good memory of yourself when you leave. It also makes you feel much better, and you never know when you might need help from a former employer or co-worker. If nothing else, maybe as reference persons. What goes around comes around and applies well here too.