Is career cushioning something small businesses should be cautious of?
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Over the last couple of years, we’ve witnessed The Great Resignation, quiet quitting, and now the new kid on the employment trend block – career cushioning. With each of these viral trends there is often some worry, especially for small businesses who may not have the time or budget to tackle recruitment drives or staff churn – but don’t worry, we’ve covered everything you need to know here.  

What is career cushioning? 

Career cushioning is when someone is exploring other job options, just in case anything goes wrong in their current job, regardless of job security. This can include many different things: from passively viewing jobs boards to setting up an additional income stream on top of their day-to-day job. It can be a casual chat with a recruiter to passively apply for some roles they like the look ofbut it’s different from actively looking for new jobs and is more of a career ‘insurance policy’ should things change in their current role.  

A customer asked us what they should do about one of their employees that was proactively looking at additional job options, ‘just in case’. The employee felt it was fair to be doing this openly, having read an article talking about the ‘career cushion’ that they saw on social media. It’s seeing an increase in attention because it’s being actively encouraged in a lot of forums due to the economic uncertainty we face in the UK, as well as shifting attitudes in the workplace. 

Understandably our customer was a bit spooked by this – usually looking for a new job isn’t a great sign of how happy and satisfied that employee is in their current role, and in a small business, staff churn can be a time drain and, with recruitment and training on top it can seem daunting.  

If one of your team is attracted to the idea of career cushioning, the chances are they are likely to leave if the right opportunity elsewhere came up. Sadly, this can be a difficult problem to overcome because the chances are you won’t know your people are career cushioning unless they are being open and transparent about it – which will usually come too late.   

These viral trends can be unhelpful for employers, but by being mindful of the culture you’ve built in your business and having open and honest conversations with your people, they are much less likely to be looking elsewhere!  

So what can I do about it? 

These scary employment trends don’t need to be concerning, in fact they could be viewed as an opportunity to review how you look after your people and see if there are any ways you can improve how happy they are at work. This doesn’t need to be time consuming or expensive, and sometimes things that seem small can make a huge difference to how someone feels about their job and their place in your business. Money isn’t everything, and there are small wins you can start right away that could have a positive impact on your people.   

HR software that keeps all employee details in once place is a great way to improve employee experience, as it makes you far less likely to drop the ball on important things like pay, appraisals and holiday tracking, but also keeps you on top of the smaller things that make a massive difference, such as birthdays, work anniversaries and other personal details that will matter to your team.  

Not only that, but you can also use employee satisfaction surveys to judge how everyone is feeling on a regular basis. You can do this anonymously, so people feel more comfortable giving honest feedback. This is a fantastic way to get a true opinion on the culture in your business, which can often be difficult in a small business.  

That’s one of the reasons citrus HR exists – to give small businesses HR tools historically only available to much bigger organisations. And a huge part of that is around employee satisfaction. 

This can be managed through pulse surveys, straight forward appraisals and holiday tracking, meaning you’ll never miss a beat. One to ones can be logged, managed and tracked, giving you the perfect opportunity to discuss job satisfaction and allowing you to spot areas you may need to work on before it becomes a problem.  

The truth is these small things matter, and the more considerate you are of your team, how they feel at work and their development and morale the happier they’ll be.   

As our HR software is cloud-based it can be accessed from anywhere, which in the age of hybrid working makes it even easier to improve the employee experience.   

If you’d like to discuss career cushioning and other ways you can try preventing your people looking elsewhere, contact our team today and we’d be happy to help. If you’re keen to start getting the small wins right with our HR software, you can start your free trial today  

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