There are many reasons why employers should treat their employees better. One, they represent the company, and you want to make sure they’re always putting the best foot forward. Two, it can be costly having to retrain new employees. And three, they just might leave, and they could leave in droves.

A recent survey came out stating that 84% of all employees are thinking about changing jobs in 2011. That’s a staggering number, and it shows that the effects on employees who felt trapped because of the economy in the last few years is wearing off.

There have been some horror stories regarding how employees have felt they were treated during this time, when unemployment was staggeringly high. Heck, it’s still high now, but it’s been at this rate for so long that it seems to be the norm to a lot of people. From an independent consultant point of view, the same types of things have happened. Gigs that used to pay really well were suddenly being offered at drastically discounted rates or ridiculous stipulations that I refused to accept it, though many others did for fear of not having any money coming in at all.

What have been the worst things to take place in general? Employee abuse is up there, along with many forced hours, too much work, lack of training and of course a lack of raises. Salary considerations for leaving one job and going to another were taken into account, because many employers weren’t offering either comparable or better salaries, but employees are fed up and ready to be on the move.

Strangely enough, more employees are deciding to go the independent route, learning much earlier than people from my generation that they might be able to take advantage of the market with their skills and earn a comfortable living without having to deal with someone else’s problems. And if it doesn’t work out, they’re still young enough to find something else they can deal with and move on.

What’s the employer’s saving grace at the moment? That unemployment rate being high in many places still. But it’s starting to come down in many more areas, and employers had better be ready to start finding ways of offering something more to the employees they have if they don’t want to deal with a mass exodus. When that happens, you can bet the best employees will be the first ones to leave.