Should Employers Be Looking for Lifetime Employees?

I think we all are being sold a big fat bag of lies!

Okay, not lies, but definitely a very narrow skewed view of the truth. Case in point, you are now supposed to believe that you don’t want to work for one employer for your entire career.

Do you know why you’re supposed to believe this?  Because idiots like me, and the media, keep spoon feeding you study after study that shows younger generations don’t want to work at the same employer for their entire career.

Okay, I get that. When I was 23 I didn’t know what I wanted to do next weekend, let alone 40 years from now!  But, because younger generations want this, now we all want this, apparently.

This isn’t just an employee issue either. Organizations are now supposed to believe they no longer want lifetime employees. You, as an employer, should just sit back and watch employee after employee walk out your door to do the exact same thing at your competitor. This is the world we live in, Tim. Why would I want an employee to stay with us for 40 years. I need to get fresh eyes and new experiences into our organization.

I recently met with a very successful employer in southern Indiana. A tech company that most people will never know, even though they have stuff in your computer you use every single day. They’re basically a ‘guts’ company. They put high tech stuff into stuff you use but never see. They want lifetime employees.

They take an extremely long time to hire. Fit to them is paramount.  If one thing doesn’t ‘feel’ right with a candidate, they’ll wait to find one that does ‘feel’ right.  It’s a strong culture organization. Proud people, almost zero turnover and they are highly profitable. They walk away from talented candidates all the time. Skill is important, but it’s not as important as fit.

There are not enough of these organizations left. Too many organizations today are only hiring for skill. When you only hire for skill, you get the work environment younger generations are telling you they want. One where they don’t want to stay forever!

When you hire for fit as your primary focus of selection. Meaning, skills are important, we want smart people, but all things being close to equal, fit will determine the hire. Fit is so important that if we can’t find the ‘right’ fit, we’ll leave the position open until we can, regardless of skill.

Here’s my deal, I think employees do want to work for one company for a lifetime.  I think the reason you see anyone leave your organization has very little to do with them not wanting lifetime employment  and a ton to do with how they fit in an organization. Sure, you’ll always have talent that is capped out and needs to move to grow, but even then I think those people would prefer to stay and grow.

Hire for fit. Teach the skill. Enjoy high tenure, high performance, and better profits.  So, yeah, start looking for lifetime employees!

3 thoughts on “Should Employers Be Looking for Lifetime Employees?

  1. The concepts of life time employment and safety in our work as well as the millennial worker instability is all interrelated. Here credit goes to Simon Sinek for his observations about life time employment, safety in our work environments and the millennial mind set.

    Most of us want to feel safe in work. This is a simple biological and human nature fact. We are more productive and focus our energy on the organizational success rather than our own survival (protecting ourselves for the organization). Life time employment is a possibility if the right fit is the motivation rather then the right skills. Taking it a step further and looking at millennials, we see a generation that has many of our social ideas lived out. An example of this is the idea that “everyone is a winner” and thus everyone gets a trophy! Millennial lived through this in there childhood, we imposed in ton them but one they entered the work place were failures and successes are accounted for i.e. not trophy for the second place or even last place showing creates a feeling of not fitting in, a bad feeling for a work environment. Now couple that with the Millennial inability to cope with failure and you have the receipt for:
    I’m leaving your employ because I don’t fit in. I’m not successful, not getting trophies and or recognized and I’m stressed out since I can’t cope with and don’t know how to cope with failure. But you’ve only been with us for 8 months, tell me again, why?

    Add to the millennial mindset, instant gratification …. yes we made that happen for them as well …. we created the millennial dilemma. I’m not winning, I don’t know how to cope with failure and its not happening fast enough.

    Work is an environment where we want to feel successful, valued and motivated. So it incumbent that the work place, leadership, become engaged in the retention process. This leads to coaching, and development for success as well as helping employees deal with failure and the associated stress. It is no enough to say that failures occur it is imperative that the environment create a safety net that helps develop those who fail to move onward and upward.

    The concept of lifetime employment is not at all foreign to us. Generations ago it was the norm but greed, looking at the numbers only, and a lack of human interactions and sensibility we created a work environment that is both hostile (pick your reason) and unfulfilling. To put is succinctly: our leadership has sold us out for the dollar instead of being the developmental, disciplined, caring leader who places people above themselves.

    Hope this helps a bit but if your interested in a very real world look at organizations and their leadership please look at any of Simon Sineks youtube videos and you perhaps understand more effectively what his message is and how it has affected all of us in the workplace.

  2. You’re on a tear here but you’re running up against the LinkedIn Bullshit KoolAid Reid Hoffman has been trying to get Corporate America to swallow and sadly what it’s leading to is a Jonestown Massacre of American Capitalism as America’s talent pool DNA is slowly and silently ebbed down as companies continue to rely on the site’s membership as its sole source of recruiting candidates.

    Companies are complicit in this problem; in a race to reduce costs they’re reducing quality in their hires and now they’re receiving what they’ve bargained for: candidates who expect much and who don’t expect to deliver too much in return.

    And companies are being told to accept it.

    Don’t accept it. Expect loyalty and expect commitment and expect much from your employees and you’ll get it. But don’t look for them in the madding crowd. Don’t look for them where the cows are mooing. Look for them in the low country and on the high ledges; in the forests and in the dark patches. Look beyond and before – around and after. STOP looking where everyone else is looking and STOP pushing the easy button.

    Expect more from yourself.

    That’s where all of this starts.

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