Feeling 'at home' in the Office: Why employees stick around
Employees who are comfortable with their organisations are more productive
Yesterday evening as I walked into my office elevator I was joined by a group of 3-4 guys giggling over annoying habits of some office freak. I decided to eavesdrop. Apparently, this office freak was a new joiner who was this gang’s newest bait.
One of the guys said, ’Man! These new-joiners are such entertainment.’
The other one exclaimed, ‘Thank God! I have been a new-joiner just once in my career.’
I could easily sense the relief of being ‘oldies’ from whatever little fragments of conversation I picked up before getting off the elevator. Whatever may be said about benefits of taking up a new job every few years (or sooner), the fact that organizations with comfortable work environment have higher retention rates cannot be overlooked.
At a time when most of the companies fear attrition, these inferences may paint a rosy picture, but then hasn't this been a reality always? Attrition is a problem but the fact is that every employee does not leave the organization. Some people switch jobs frequently, some switch jobs in 3-4 years, while there are some who do not plan to leave an organization that pays well unless circumstances force them to do so. Even during vulnerable circumstances a few employees do stick around.
Oldies often exhibit interesting traits: They are among the most relaxed and easy going employees in an organization. Having known the processes of their organization for years they feel comfortable in their surroundings. They might have a gang of back-slapping buddies at the workplace and can be spotted sharing workplace gyan with new-joiners. Frequent gossip sessions and chai-breaks can be another side of this friendliness. Often they are the ones who keep the office alive with their uninhibited behavior.
When are they bad news?
Employees who are comfortable with their organizations are more productive; however, every employee who stays with an organization for long cannot be considered to be good news. The reason is, every old employee isn't necessarily an ‘engaged employee’. There are a few who can be seen loitering around, making frequent rounds to cafeterias, cribbing over organizational policies and totally clueless about work related changes. Sometimes they become resistant to change and prefer sticking to the older systems. More often than not, discipline doesn't bother them much.
When are they good news?
There is no denying the fact that employees who are more comfortable with organizations are more productive and stick around for long. Such employees bring a sense of stability to their organization and colleagues. It is always good to have someone who has known the organization for years and would have an understanding of organizational processes.
Besides regular work, stable employees have a lot to offer to their company. Familiarity to systems and company policies is an added advantage that organizations can benefit from. Their experience and perspective on some of the major company decisions of the past can be of great benefit too. These people can double-up as great trainers for new-joiners as they have a lot to share. Moreover, their growth track within a company can act as morale booster for new employees and strengthen their faith in the organization.