You Should Plan on Switching Jobs Every Three Years for the Rest of Your Life (Vivian Giang) The Forum applies the 70:20:10 Lens


We've all heard that the days of landing a job and staying with the same employer for life are over. In some research it’s been noted that the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company is about 15 years. With the frequency of company longevity rising and falling what is an individual to do?  Furthermore, as employees learn that companies just won't last, how do these companies manage the development of their people?

In the Fast Company article You Should Plan on Switching Jobs Every Three Years for the Rest of Your Life by Vivian Giang, the author, through interviews and research, presents a compelling case for those moving on to move up. In addition to the decline of the "job hopper" stigma that plagued those who moved on to find the next challenge in the past, Ms. Giang lays out deeper arguments for frequent movement and the challenge it presents employers.

The article reveals some compelling information for organisations and individuals to embrace frequent movement. For one thing, those who stay with same company longer than 2 years get paid 50% less than those who leave. Additionally those who move on more frequently may be more loyal as they use this time to make a good impression so to leave for the next opportunity with favorable opinions. Another advantage for both individual and organisation is that job hoppers are constantly placed outside their comfort zone. Moving around their field is like a perpetual stretch assignment; always pushing their understanding and adopting new ideas, approaches and technologies along the way.

Patty McCord, former Chief Talent Officer for Netflix, noted in the article that employee retention is a major concern as organisations invest heavily in hiring and retaining big talent. This is true for many organisations, large and small but is the emphasis on retention the wrong approach for talent management today? For organisations, longevity may not be as desirable as first thought as was also noted in learning decreases as employees nestle into their roles, and creativity and innovation would also naturally decline. Organisations may actually get the least amount of work from a tenured employee!

In this new reality individuals and organisations must shift their belief and strategies around learning to meet the needs of mobility and address the contradiction of employee retention. A training first approach, rich with courses, courseware or classes is wasteful for organisations and frustrating for workers looking to get in, get started and learn in their work.  As the world of work and working changes, a 70:20:10 Framework with its inherent flexibility serves to best meet the needs of both worker and organisation.

A framework respects the individual needs for learning primarily in and around the work being completed. Additionally it places social at the center, helping workers connect with each other throughout to find the best information and ideas to complete their work with the least amount of friction. Finally, encouraging workers to be reflective and seek continual improvement as well as making it easier for them to cooperate and collaborate serves to create an environment for maximum productivity and fulfillment.

With independence and purposeful work being essential to employee engagement, a 70:20:10 framework fosters an environment that can lead more naturally to employee retention.

Organisations moving to a 70:20:10 framework would be well advised to promote this framework externally even more so than internally. Knowing your best employees may move on, you need to entice those potentially moving in. A more mobile worker will be looking for opportunities where the organisation focused on learning in the workflow, autonomy and trust. Internally, moving to a 70:20:10 framework can begin with new mental and physical models.

To begin organisations should reimage managers as support agents rather than traditional task masters. Even more important than upper-level leadership understanding, middle managers need to embrace a new mindset and executives need to encourage and reward accordingly. Manager’s primary focus should shift being the catalyst to reduce barriers and increase access to information and individuals. Physical models like Development plans, those associated with annual reviews, can be easily modified to better position workers to own their own professional growth. A key to success is to challenge employees to think beyond the course and turn to networks, reflective practices, mentors and communities of practice.  Each of these focuses keeps learning closer to the flow of work

With the stigma of job hopping no longer a factor, organisation's looking to capitalize on the modern worker and their needs must rethink their talent management strategy as one less about retention and more about capturing momentum. And then set out to reduce the friction around learning and working to maximize the power of the growing mobile talent.

READ: You Should Plan on Switching Jobs Every Three Years for the Rest of Your Life

and for another perspective: Pros and Cons of Job Hopping - Should I Stay or Should I Go?