job-embeddings

What Is Job Embeddings? Job Embeddedness In A Nutshell

Job embeddedness is based on a theory developed by Professor of Management Brooks Holtom and his colleagues at Georgetown University. In a 2006 article entitled Increasing human and social capital by applying job embeddedness theory, the researchers described various influences on employee retention or turnover that may be useful to HR departments. Job embeddedness is a theory positing that the more embedded an employee is in their company, the less likely they are to quit.

Understanding job embeddedness

In essence, Holtom noted that employees who possessed a wider range of work-related roles, relationships, and responsibilities experienced a high degree of job embeddedness. These factors he called connections, with those possessing more connections finding it more difficult to quit their jobs because of a likely intense disruption to various aspects of their life and career.

By the same token, employees who do not possess many roles, relationships, or responsibilities are described as having a low degree of job embeddedness. With fewer connections made, they tend to find it easier to quit their job as there is less impact on their life and career. For the company, these employees are difficult to retain.

The three core elements of job embeddedness

Holtom identified three core elements that indicate how connected an individual is within their organization:

  1. Fit – or the degree to which an individual’s work is related to their values and goals. Note that this is a subjective metric that relates to the career prospects, knowledge, and talents of the particular employee.
  2. Links – how is the individual connected to communities and other people within the organization? These encompass formal manager-subordinate relationships and less formal co-worker or colleague interactions or friendships. The physical workplace itself may also be a driver of embeddedness.
  3. Sacrifice – or the severity of disruption that would result if the individual quit their job. This is measured by the perceived or actual cost of benefits that are forfeited as a result of the employee leaving the organization. Loss of income and benefits are the most obvious costs, but the employee may also lose access to accrued leave or a pension plan. What’s more, their potential for career advancement may also be impacted.

To measure job embeddedness, the three elements of fit, links, and sacrifice are assessed with respect to the organization and the community. This yields a total of six dimensions that are scored to predict the likelihood of voluntary quitting. 

Most tests feature criteria that are scored using a Likert scale where employees rate their level of agreement or disagreement with a general statement. For example, a statement in the dimension that evaluates community-related sacrifice may read as follows: “Leaving this community would be extremely difficult.

Key drivers of job retention 

According to employee review site Glassdoor.com, the following four factors are the main drivers of employee retention and by extension, job embeddedness:

  • Income – perhaps unsurprisingly, those who earn a higher income are less likely to quit.
  • Promotion prospects – companies that do not provide career advancement opportunities will also find staff retention problematic. In fact, those who hold a positive outlook with respect to their career advancement are 5% less likely to quit.
  • Culture – retention is also difficult in organizations characterized by toxic culture or where no appreciable culture can be identified.
  • Industry – some industries, such as government, media, retail, hospitality, accommodation, and many non-profit sectors are also prone to higher turnover rates.

Key takeaways:

  • Job embeddedness is a theory positing that the more embedded an employee is in their company, the less likely they are to quit.
  • Job embeddedness is described in terms of three core elements: fit, links, and sacrifice. Each of these is assessed in terms of an employee’s connections with the organization and community to predict the likelihood they will quit their job.
  • Job embeddedness is driven by income levels, career advancement opportunities, company culture, and the specific industry.

Connected Decision-Making Frameworks

Cynefin Framework

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The Cynefin Framework gives context to decision making and problem-solving by providing context and guiding an appropriate response. The five domains of the Cynefin Framework comprise obvious, complicated, complex, chaotic domains and disorder if a domain has not been determined at all.

SWOT Analysis

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A SWOT Analysis is a framework used for evaluating the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It can aid in identifying the problematic areas of your business so that you can maximize your opportunities. It will also alert you to the challenges your organization might face in the future.

Personal SWOT Analysis

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The SWOT analysis is commonly used as a strategic planning tool in business. However, it is also well suited for personal use in addressing a specific goal or problem. A personal SWOT analysis helps individuals identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Pareto Analysis

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The Pareto Analysis is a statistical analysis used in business decision making that identifies a certain number of input factors that have the greatest impact on income. It is based on the similarly named Pareto Principle, which states that 80% of the effect of something can be attributed to just 20% of the drivers.

Failure Mode And Effects Analysis

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A failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a structured approach to identifying design failures in a product or process. Developed in the 1950s, the failure mode and effects analysis is one the earliest methodologies of its kind. It enables organizations to anticipate a range of potential failures during the design stage.

Blindspot Analysis

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A Blindspot Analysis is a means of unearthing incorrect or outdated assumptions that can harm decision making in an organization. The term “blindspot analysis” was first coined by American economist Michael Porter. Porter argued that in business, outdated ideas or strategies had the potential to stifle modern ideas and prevent them from succeeding. Furthermore, decisions a business thought were made with care caused projects to fail because major factors had not been duly considered.

Comparable Company Analysis

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A comparable company analysis is a process that enables the identification of similar organizations to be used as a comparison to understand the business and financial performance of the target company. To find comparables you can look at two key profiles: the business and financial profile. From the comparable company analysis it is possible to understand the competitive landscape of the target organization.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

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A cost-benefit analysis is a process a business can use to analyze decisions according to the costs associated with making that decision. For a cost analysis to be effective it’s important to articulate the project in the simplest terms possible, identify the costs, determine the benefits of project implementation, assess the alternatives.

Agile Business Analysis

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Agile Business Analysis (AgileBA) is certification in the form of guidance and training for business analysts seeking to work in agile environments. To support this shift, AgileBA also helps the business analyst relate Agile projects to a wider organizational mission or strategy. To ensure that analysts have the necessary skills and expertise, AgileBA certification was developed.

SOAR Analysis

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A SOAR analysis is a technique that helps businesses at a strategic planning level to: Focus on what they are doing right. Determine which skills could be enhanced. Understand the desires and motivations of their stakeholders.

STEEPLE Analysis

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The STEEPLE analysis is a variation of the STEEP analysis. Where the step analysis comprises socio-cultural, technological, economic, environmental/ecological, and political factors as the base of the analysis. The STEEPLE analysis adds other two factors such as Legal and Ethical.

Pestel Analysis

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The PESTEL analysis is a framework that can help marketers assess whether macro-economic factors are affecting an organization. This is a critical step that helps organizations identify potential threats and weaknesses that can be used in other frameworks such as SWOT or to gain a broader and better understanding of the overall marketing environment.

DESTEP Analysis

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A DESTEP analysis is a framework used by businesses to understand their external environment and the issues which may impact them. The DESTEP analysis is an extension of the popular PEST analysis created by Harvard Business School professor Francis J. Aguilar. The DESTEP analysis groups external factors into six categories: demographic, economic, socio-cultural, technological, ecological, and political.

Paired Comparison Analysis

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A paired comparison analysis is used to rate or rank options where evaluation criteria are subjective by nature. The analysis is particularly useful when there is a lack of clear priorities or objective data to base decisions on. A paired comparison analysis evaluates a range of options by comparing them against each other.

Related Strategy Concepts: Go-To-Market StrategyMarketing StrategyBusiness ModelsTech Business ModelsJobs-To-Be DoneDesign ThinkingLean Startup CanvasValue ChainValue Proposition CanvasBalanced ScorecardBusiness Model CanvasSWOT AnalysisGrowth HackingBundlingUnbundlingBootstrappingVenture CapitalPorter’s Five ForcesPorter’s Generic StrategiesPorter’s Five ForcesPESTEL AnalysisSWOTPorter’s Diamond ModelAnsoffTechnology Adoption CurveTOWSSOARBalanced ScorecardOKRAgile MethodologyValue PropositionVTDF FrameworkBCG MatrixGE McKinsey MatrixKotter’s 8-Step Change Model.

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