Grab it while you can – don’t let top talent slip through your fingers: recruitment, retention and staff turnover

Employers are not planning for future skills needs in their organisation, concludes the latest survey on recruitment, retention and staff turnover.

More organisations are struggling to hang onto their staff, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s Recruitment, Retention and Turnover Survey. The latest figures show that almost eight in 10 employers had difficulty retaining workers in 2006, compared with seven in 10 the previous year.

The report’s author Nicola Monson said employers need to work harder to keep staff turnover under control, saying almost half fail to have a formal resourcing strategy. “Many are not planning for the future skills requirements of their organisation,” she said.

So where are employers going wrong? The survey suggests there are four key areas that need work:

  • Training internal staff to fill vacancies
  • Targeting migrant workers and recruiting from abroad
  • Offering flexible working
  • Using employer brand more effectively.

Flexible working

The Confederation of British Industry’s head of employment and employee relations Katja Hall agrees that employers need to take a more pro-active approach to talent management. “Many firms are put off providing extra training and flexible working because of cost. However they need to weigh this up against benefits. Firms should identify specific training needs and find out how much value employees put on other initiatives such as flexible working.”

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Workwise UK, an initiative promoting flexible working, said increasingly people are prioritising this when looking for a job. “Homeworking, in particular, has become very desirable. People no longer want to put up with standing on a crowded train or sitting in congested traffic every day when the technology is available to enable many people to work remotely,” he said.

According to Flaxton, if employers don’t sharpen up, they may be missing out on a growing talent pool. “The number of people who require flexibility – such as those with caring obligations – is only going to grow over the coming years so employers have to provide flexible working if they are to attract and retain staff,” he said.

Recruiting abroad

Europeople is a specialist recruitment firm sourcing staff from Eastern Europe. Its managing director John Davidson is unsurprised that the survey shows employers are seeing a positive impact when recruiting from abroad.

“This mirrors the feedback we get from clients, who report staff are positive, enthusiastic and hard working. There is also a very good educational infrastructure in these countries, so employers are able to find well-qualified staff who are hungry to develop their careers.

“More firms are catching on to the fact that there is a rich pool of well-educated talent out there,” he said.

Hall agreed that targeting workers from abroad could be an effective strategy for more firms. “It’s all about widening the pool of labour,” she said.

As for employer brand, Hall said it was time that more organisations began to take the issue more seriously. “Employers should not underestimate the importance to employees of feeling proud of the organisation they work for,” she added.

A snapshot of the survey results

  • Although 89% of respondents said training internal staff to fill vacancies had a positive impact, only 29% of employers use this initiative.
  • Three-quarters of respondents said using the employer brand has a positive impact on recruitment, but only 31% currently use it.
  • Seventy-four per cent said flexible working has a positive impact but only 30% use it.
  • Seventy-five per cent said targeting migrant workers from the EU and recruiting staff from abroad has a positive impact, but just 14% actively do this.

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