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  • Irina Ketkin, author of #adventuresofthelearner

Attention and Tenure; and how it all links to LnD


Whenever December approaches, a lot of people start looking back to the past year and try and see what have they accomplished (shout out if you do that too :)). This year I have a 5 year anniversary since I joined my current company. And that made me think - what is the average length of time people from my generation stay in the same company and maybe even in the same position?

Let's look at some facts - Snapchat exists because "as a result of the web and social media boom, our attention spans are smaller than ever" (source). We are constantly checking e-mails, updating our statuses, uploading pictures, keeping track of Likes and Comments and trying to be witty in 140 or less characters. Does that mean we cannot stick to the same job for long periods of time?

On Forbes' website, Jeanne Meister writes:

"The average worker today stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.4 years, according to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the expected tenure of the workforce’s youngest employees is about half that.

Ninety-one percent of Millennials (born between 1977-1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years(...). That means they would have 15 – 20 jobs over the course of their working lives!"

There is a multitude of conclusions one can draw from this. For me (being the crazy LnD fanatic that I am), this makes me ask "How does this affect LnD?". And the obvious answers might include:

  • have short training sessions (applying the on-time principle, where you talk about Appraisal Meetings in November/December time and so on)

  • have short videos promoting content every week (why not every day?! If we can spend 30 min on Facebook, we sure should be able to spend 5 min on a video that might actually be useful in our day-to-day)

  • have constant watercooler coaching sessions with your direct reports (the LnD expert would come in here by explaining how to do it, it would then be up to the managers to actually do it)

  • have a social online platform for anyone who wishes to share their knowledge and experience (I have come to enjoy the LinkedIn posts because this is exactly what they can do!). This could be a corporate forum, a special app (my friend works at a major IT company and they develop their own apps to promote wellbeing and work-life balance), even a Facebook closed group - in this day and age the possibilities are limitless (sorry for the cliche!).

  • give everyone time to work on their own thing. I am a HUGE fan of Dan Pink and his Motivation 2.0 approach. One of the elements presented is Mastery - people do things because they want to be good at it even if it doesn't give them a tangible return (cue thoughts of hobbies). Google has done it, Facebook has done it... do you really need more examples?! But closer to the point - why am I mentioning this here? Because even with a short attention span, if you enjoy doing something, you can do it for hours on end losing yourself completely. If your company allows you to do that, are you more likely or less likely to leave?!

There are tons of other examples you can include in the list above. But these are the first things I could think of. What about you - what would you add? And what is the average tenure length in your company? And what do your companies do to accommodate people's 'short attention spans'?

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