Remember when one would graduate college or enter the workforce in some capacity and then stay with the same company for 20 or 30 years until retirement? Yeah, I don’t either. Those days have gone by the way of the dodo and seem unlikely to return. The best way for people to get ahead financially and professionally is to move to another organization; at least that’s how it works for most people.

It is becoming commonplace for professionals to position themselves as their own brand. People in the workforce are taking the very aspects of business and applying them to their career advancement and professional development. They are developing themselves as a brand, they are marketing themselves to the market segment who is most likely to find value  in that brand and they are constantly refining their strategy to move that brand forward in a way that is profitable and fulfills a long term goal/strategy.

Business do everything they can to reduce turnover and employees do everything they can to be “upwardly mobile” in their careers. This seems like an unresolvable paradox. The companies who will come out on top will be the ones who figure out how to make these two things work well together. As an employer, you have the opportunity to become both the customer and the supplier to your employees.

Turnover is expensive. No earth shattering revelation there. Instead of struggling with fighting against the desires of an employee to find greener pastures to reduce turnover, why don’t you just start watering your own pasture? Do you or your managers know your employee’s brands? Have you taken the time to find out? What about who they view as their target market regarding employer of choice. What are key drivers that cause them to seek out certain employers and avoid others? Do you have even the slightest inkling of their long term career goal/strategy?

Employees have begun to treat their careers in the same manner business treat relationships. Business relationships are formed when it is mutually beneficial and end when that is no longer the case. Nothing personal, just business…right? As a business, why would you think it should be any different for employees. Isn’t employer/employee relationship a business relationship? When it is no longer mutually beneficial it ends; nothing personal, it’s just business.

In today’s marketplace, companies who find a way to understand the “business strategy” of employee’s careers will see a marked improvement in their turnover rate. No longer is a steady paycheck and a few training courses enough. Business must adapt and change to meet the needs of their customer market. The same is true for meeting the needs of their employee market.

What are some things you or your company has done to align yourself with the career business strategy of your workforce?