Sluggish economy creates cocooned workers

The stagnant economy has caused many workers to cocoon themselves in their current jobs, waiting for the nation’s financial situation to improve so new jobs will open, according to the authors of the Heman Trend Alert, a newsletter advising employers about employee retention.

These workers are used to the freedom of switching jobs for better opportunities and have found themselves trapped in a market where there are more workers than jobs. But all that’s about to change, warn Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, as the economy begins an upswing.

“Many chairs are now warmed by people who have already moved psychologically,” they say in the October 2 version of the Herman Trend Alert. “They just show up for work each day out of habit.”

And with employee turnover so low because of the slow economy, many employers have reduced efforts to make workers feel valued and appreciated.

In the late 1990s, the forces affecting hiring and retention were moving in the opposite direction. With more jobs than people to fill them, employers practiced aggressive recruiting methods and workers had many alternatives.

Herman and Gioia, who call themselves strategic business futurists, say new jobs are already being created, and in a short time employers could face serious labor shortages.

They quote the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which projects that by 2010 the nation will have 167,754,000 skilled jobs to fill and only 157,721,000 people to fill them.

To check out the Herman Group’s Retention Tool Kit, click the link in the right-hand column.