This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

March 13, 2002

Values Based Career Decisions

We're picking up the beginnings of an interesting trend. People are carefully analyzing how they feel about their work and sometimes making dramatic career decisions.

Recently, we have learned about a number of people who feel that their work is no longer meaningful to them. Instead of remaining in those jobs, unhappily fulfilling their daily responsibilities, these people are heading for the door. So far, the folks we're hearing about are at the executive and management levels, but this trend could reach further into the organization.

These senior and mid-level executives and managers are telling us that they don't feel enough support from upper management for the work they're doing. Conscientiously, they do not feel they can continue in their positions when their heart isn't in their work. These people are leaving their jobs and leaving their employers-in a slowed economy! What caught our attention is that these dedicated professionals have no other job to go to. They are just quitting, with the assumption that the right opportunity will come along.

This behavior is something we might expect in a strong economy, not a weak one with fewer opportunities on the horizon. What's driving these decisions? Values. The people we've talked with have been very clear that they will not stay in a work environment where they are not comfortable. If their work is not appreciated, they will leave rather than continue in an environment that is inconsistent with what they believe in. In their minds to stay would be like committing fraud. Interestingly, several of the people we talked with are senior human resource executives who don't feel their company is supporting the employees appropriately.

The tendency to leave an employer for these reasons is congruent with what we learned in our research for our book, "How to Become an Employer of Choice." These shifts may be the start of a groundswell movement of workers based on what is important for them, rather than what is important for the employer.

We're concerned about what this career movement trend portends for the future, as the economy picks up?

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