You probably already know if you have a hell on earth working environment that most of your employees are looking for another job. But if you have a good working environment, how do you discover if a single employee is leaving, even before their first interview?
While regular conversations with staff is still the best way to understand the professional goals and issues that staff are dealing with, I also realized that an online social world can reveal intentions that will not be discovered through normal chats. While Facebook will reveal open rebellion, LinkedIn is more subtle.
LinkedIn is a professional social environment. Some people use their profile as an online resume, hoping to be discovered by a recruiter with their dream job. People use it to network and meet people who work in the industries, professions and companies that fit their goals. It is also a place to market yourself to the outside world.
As a consultant, I am looking for people who could benefit by partnering with me. It requires me to search and read a lot of profiles, and because of updates, I see who is connecting with who all the time. I found it odd one day when I saw an HR Director that had just landed a new job 6 months before, now connecting with a lot of recruiters. At first I thought she was trying to locate talent for an opening, so I contacted her to see what she was trying to source.
Since we were friends, she told me that she wasn’t trying to fill an opening at her company, but rather, find herself a new job. After 6 months, she found this job unacceptable and was looking to leave.
Since then I have kind of kept track of those that seem to be networking with internal and external recruiters. I’ve made a list and every couple of months I check to see if these people are still in the same role. Over 50% of the time they have switched jobs. Could it be that a CEO, HR Director or other Senior Manager could figure this out too?
As I assumed, I am not the only person that discovered the secret of watching people on LinkedIn. A couple of other associates I know have shared with me that they connect with key staff in LinkedIn for this exact purpose. They watch the connections and comments to determine the motives of staff. One manager said it was a tool he used to check the temperature of staff, and if he detected a problem, he was able to proactively solve it. He realizes it is a lot easier to retain staff before a resignation happens.
We often train managers to listen to their staff to discover issues. I would like to add that we should also be reading about our staff and discovering issues we may never hear them talk about. LinkedIn is a powerful tool, and I love to learn how to use it in new ways.