Most Execs OK With Looking Around While Employed

March 26, 2008 ( - Senior executives apparently don't mind setting their sights on greener pastures even while on their current employers' payrolls, according to a new poll.

Three-quarters (75%) of respondents said they would be comfortable looking for a new job while still working – and more than half of this group said they were “very comfortable” doing so. That’s up from 69% who expressed that sentiment in 2002 (36% were “very comfortable” doing so in 2002.

The national poll included responses from 150 senior executives from human resources, finance and marketing departments with the nation’s 1,000 largest companies. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by specialized staffing service firm Accountemps.

“Top performers will always be in demand, and employers should make retaining key staff an ongoing priority,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps.

Accountemps offers the following advice for maintaining an engaged workforce:

  • Say thanks . Performance-based bonuses are a key way to reward exceptional work, but also remember to say "thank you" either in writing or in person for a job well done.
  • Celebrate achievements. Honor employees' accomplishments in the presence of their peers. Recognizing staff can enhance morale while highlighting exemplary behavior.
  • Provide growth opportunities . One of the most common reasons people leave a company is a lack of advancement opportunities. If you're not in a position to offer a key employee a promotion, assign projects that will expand the person's skill set and help the individual meet valuable contacts within the organization.
  • Foster professional development . Help team members expand their knowledge by offering access to training opportunities or reimbursing them for fees associated with obtaining a professional certification.
  • Ease the strain on overworked staff . Be responsive to signs that your employees are facing overload. Don't wait until they reach the breaking point to bring in additional temporary or full-time professionals as needed.

Executives were asked, " How comfortable would you feel looking for a new job while still employed? "

Their responses:

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Very comfortable

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Somewhat comfortable

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Somewhat uncomfortable


Very uncomfortable


Don't know

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