"There is going to be a mass exodus of the top performers as the economy starts to turn around," predicts Razor Suleman, a consultant who helps companies retain their best workers.
Studies have shown that worker morale fell during the recession. Productivity rose as companies squeezed more work out of their employees. That points to a reason quits may keep rising: Overworked employees could jump at the chance to switch jobs as new opportunities arise.
About 25 percent of companies' top performers said they plan to leave their current job within a year, according to a survey published in the May edition of the Harvard Business Review. By contrast, in 2006, just 10 percent planned to leave their jobs within a year. The survey questioned 20,000 workers who were identified by their employers as "high potential."
Companies retained those workers during the recession but heaped more work on them, said Jean Martin, the study's co-author and executive director of the Corporate Executive Board's Corporate Leadership Council in Washington. At the same time, employers cut back on awards and bonuses, she said.
Now, top performers at some companies are heading for the exits as hiring picks up. It means companies will feel more pressure to retain them.
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