Way back in the mid-'00s when I embarked upon my current career path I heard an interesting statistic about how often people change jobs. The average then was apparently 5-8 times - putting this in perspective that is either a company or more comprehensive career change every 5-8 years, assuming a 40 year working life. A quick bit of research on the web and apparently that figure has now risen to 10-15 job/career changes over the course of your career, so on average people are spending no more than 5 years in a role (and I regularly see CVs with people moving company/role every 3 years).

This shouldn't, in my humble opinion, be perceived as being due to a lack of loyalty, nor as a result of short attention spans. Rather, many industries actively encourage continuous professional development within the workforce, and this constant enhancement of skills results in employees becoming over-qualified for their position. Hence, they seek a greater challenge and often their current employer isn't able to deliver.

This brings us to the subject of rewards. I have commented previously that I do not believe career progression should be all about following a path to the boardroom, and that people who aren't meant for management should be rewarded (both financially and otherwise) for being the best at what they do without having to move in to management. So non-financial rewards need to be fundamentally reviewed to ensure that people feel actualised without becoming a CXO. 

But what about the financial rewards? What is the best way to recognise the value someone is adding to your business? 

When discussing the expectations of candidates moving from one firm to another, particularly for strategic level professionals, the subject of Long Term Investment Plans, Options, Shares, etc. can become a tricky one to navigate. 

In many cases (although certainly not all), people moving from one firm to another will be doing so due to a combination of both pull factors (i.e. the attraction of the new opportunity), and push factors (lack of challenge, career advancement, or perhaps less positive reasons as well). When long term incentives are in place, securing that individual can be prohibitively expensive for the new employer. 'That's great news!' says the HR team at current employer... Is it though? The longer that individual feels chained to their current employer, the more demotivated they become, and ultimately this will likely have a negative impact on their effectiveness.

I am not suggesting that all long term incentive plans should be comprehensively reviewed to re-mobilise and motivate the workforce. Nor do I think that long term commitment from both parties is a bad thing. I do think however, that a more dynamic workforce demands a more dynamic reward structure, and one that responds to value when it is added.

Headhunters always get more approaches from candidates after bonus period than at any other time of the year...