There tends to be a stigma attached to job hoppers. Those people who do change jobs frequently are often branded as disloyal or money-motivated.
Is this a fair statement or just a sign of the times? Should companies hiring in Thailand just accept it or look to identify areas where they could improve to ensure a long-term workforce? Read on to find out.
Thailand’s Job Hoppers
There’s no two ways about it. Thailand is right up there in the ‘job-hopping’ stakes. This is not a cultural thing, it’s a market-led trend. Thailand has an incredibly low unemployment rate with 99.35% of the population in work in December 2015. No matter how you cut it, you are going to be fighting to source and retain your workforce.
With more companies launching operations in Thailand, the market creates a lot of opportunities. Candidates are bombarded with choice as competition for similar candidate profiles increases.
As connectivity increases, it’s becoming a shorter process to reach out to candidates. With online job boards and social profiles within easy reach, prospective candidates are presented with new opportunities regularly.
This works in reverse as well. According to a recent Forbes article, we are becoming more self-orientated and we are taking control of our career development. As candidates become more connected, they are more likely to reach out to recruiters and directly to companies.
This is especially prevalent with Millennials who have been brought up in an environment where instant communication is the norm and they can start a dialogue with a stranger in minutes. This is supported by the fact that 30% of organizations lose 15% or more of their millennial workforce annually.
The simple truth for Thailand is that demand outweighs supply and the power lies with the workforce. There are so many opportunities out there, it is common for many people to stay in their jobs for an average of two years.
Why? HR Function
When an HR department serves both its main functions, there is the opportunity to manage the workforce and to invest in staff development programs.
The majority of smaller HR departments in Thailand tend to veer towards the administrative and management function with little thought given to development and retention.
With this being the case, staff have little motivation to stay in a role for extended periods of time. Without feeling that a company is willing to invest in their development, the workforce becomes less satisfied and ultimately looks for new opportunity when it's presented.
For any company entering the Thai market, it’s important to be wary of this fact and set up a staff development program from day one.
Make sure that growth opportunities are loud and clear from day one. Some example of how you could go about this include:
Quarterly performance evaluations and clear incentives for further development and/or promotion.
Dedicated training and development programs that include off-site and internal programs (coaching) for staff development and retention.
High Potential program for employees exceeding their expectations for fast track development and promotional opportunities.
Even with this plan in place, it’s still important to get comfortable with the fact that job hopping is a trend that isn’t showing any sign of slowing down.
Regardless of the stigma, there are several upsides to having an empowered workforce:
Hiring people who change their jobs frequently can inspire growth and change. Whilst many people naturally shy away from change, it’s an unavoidable and inevitable consequence of growth. Having a higher turnover of employees can help introduce you to new ways of getting things done. Everybody can work together to bring new and efficient ideas to the table.
People who job hop can be more tenacious and set out to get what they want. In many cases the personal qualities which encourage someone to move on to new opportunities are positive. They know what they want and have the self-confidence to go out and get it. This can actually end up being an asset to many work environments e.g. sales.
There is more awareness about different company cultures and how they work. If you've hired an employee that has been part of several organizations, they may find it easier to adapt to new environment. Because they have been exposed to various cultures, they are less likely to resist change and embrace a different way of doing things.
It’s hugely important to value and nurture your employees. It would be a mistake to cut corners on training or ignore workforce needs just because there is a chance they may move on somewhere else.
Change is inevitable. If we want to grow, then job hopping is inescapably part of this change. It’s about shifting negative perceptions by looking at the benefits and turning them into opportunities.