Could the economy be boosting employee loyalty?

As the economy cools, the number of U.S. employees who say they intend to stay with their current employer has bumped up considerably. At the same time, more of them are putting in greater discretionary effort at their jobs.

These are among the findings of Gartner’s latest Global Talent Monitor report for the second quarter of 2019. The number of workers who say they intend to stay with their current employer (53%) represents a 10% increase from the first quarter, and it’s also the first time ever that a majority of the U.S. workforce has reported an intent to stay, Gartner says.

“With this quarter-over-quarter increase in intent to stay, we are now seeing a shift as employees hunker down, indicating concerns around available job opportunities and potential weakness in the labor market,” says Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice.

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The number of U.S. workers who are actively looking for another job also dropped from 25% in the first quarter to just 12.5% in the second quarter, the report notes. It’s also well below the global average of 20%.

Employees are also working harder: More than 21% of U.S. employees expressed a willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty at their jobs, the report finds, which is significantly greater than the global average of nearly 17% and is the first rise above 20% since the first quarter of 2018.

“Workers appear to be putting more time and effort into their current positions with the hopes of solidifying their roles in case of a change in the economy,” says Kropp. HR leaders should use this opportunity to call for greater investment in internal training programs to help them be more productive, he says.

Some Talent-Attraction Efforts are “Feeble”

These numbers hardly mean the war for talent is over, especially for certain tough-to-fill positions. And according to another Gartner report, its inaugural Talent IQ Index 2019, some companies have lots of work to do in improving their talent-acquisition efforts.

The index ranks the talent-attraction efforts of the 200 companies with the most U.S. tech hires, measuring them across more than 500 “talent attraction indicators” against three components: employment branding, job-offer competitiveness and candidate experience. Based on these measurements, the companies were ranked into four groups: Genius (only four companies made the cut here: Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, American Express and Stryker Corp.), Gifted (86 companies), Average (58 companies), Challenged (26) and Feeble (19).

For companies hoping to avoid falling into the Challenged or Feeble baskets, Gartner offers the following advice based on best practices:

Employment Branding: Ensure your organization’s career-related social media posts focus on the topics that matter to candidates to better engage with them. Topics should include diversity, corporate culture and professional development.

Job-Offer Competitiveness: Job postings should speak directly to what employees want by considering the five categories of the employee value proposition: rewards, opportunity, organization, people and work.

Candidate Experience: Gartner says its research finds that tech candidates are focused on diversity and inclusion when evaluating potential jobs and organizations, yet many organizations don’t appear to realize this. Only 38% of organizations have a D&I statement from a senior leader on their careers site, it finds.

Andrew R. McIlvaine
Andrew R. McIlvaine is former senior editor with Human Resource Executive®.