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Why more employees are now openly curious about job prospects

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In today’s tight talent market, employees are increasingly showing they can have the upper hand.

Employees are voluntarily leaving their jobs, embarking on entirely new careers, or just taking time off. Even for those who have stayed put during the cultural shift, a general feeling of curiosity is in the air. More and more, people are open to conversations with recruiters and prospective employers, even if they’re happy where they are. Outreach, as well as opportunity, is at an all-time high. And it turns out, people are willing to talk.

Sometimes, these conversations stay inward, focusing on the employee’s role at their current company. All it takes to know one’s worth is opening LinkedIn to see the recent influx in job openings and interested recruiters. Employees are utilizing this data by turning to their employers with concrete offers from competitors. Rather than jump ship, some people are opting into a transparent and open dialogue around their worth at their company. Feeling valued, and being paid accordingly, is no longer optional.

Even if you’re happy at your job and excited about your trajectory, I always advise people, as the founder of a recruitment firm, to be open to a conversation. You never know how a recruiter might be of help in the future. Having more connections is always a positive thing. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to know what’s out there. Think of it as gathering data, not courting another position. What you discover might help you formulate a vision for an eventual exit, or it might just have the opposite effect. Seeing the landscape could endorse the happiness you feel at your current role. Either way, it’s always good to be open-minded.

If you’re set where you are, it’s time to look inward. Avoiding burnout is the single most effective way to ensure happiness at work and, as a result, in your life. A majority of resignations can be chalked up to burnout, and it’s no wonder. Gone are the days of leaving your computer at the office until the next morning. Now, watching a show on your sofa, you might be tempted to check in on the work that’s piling up just a few feet away on your laptop. A lack of boundaries is a shortcut to burnout.

In the spirit of maintaining balance at work, workplaces have been placing an emphasis on employees’ mental health, even in ways as small as encouraging PTO or mental health days. When it comes to how employees work, employers have been forced to show flexibility. Their rigidity could be another company’s opportunity. Avoiding mandates by allowing guidelines around styles of work to feel like a dialogue is a great place to begin. No one wants to be told how to do their work. Try saying, “We’d love to see you in office two days a week,” instead of sending a company-wide email mandating a two-day-in-office policy.

Other ways to keep an employee’s mental health in the forefront include frequent check-ins, adjusting responsibility in projects based on availability, and allowing flexible working hours to demonstrate trust. There’s no secret formula for longevity. You can’t promise any person will always want to grow alongside a company. But the process toward retention begins with serving employees real needs. Bagel lunches just don’t cut it any more.

Carly Mednick is the founder of and partner at Monday Talent.

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