HR directors fear losing top performers in early 2013

UK HR directors have admitted they are “very concerned” about the prospect of losing key staff in 2013, and said they expect one in five (22%) of their current employees to look for new roles as part of their new year’s resolutions.

This is according to research from recruitment consultancy Robert Half, which also highlights that 79% of HR directors fear they will lose top performers among those staff who will be looking to change roles in the first half of the year.

Phil Sheridan, Robert Half UK managing director, said: “Top performers are instrumental in helping organisations grow. However, it is all too common for companies to wait until they receive resignations to enhance their retention efforts, but by then it is often too late to keep those key staff.

“Most employees want their jobs not to be merely a source of income, but also a means of attaining self-esteem, pride and professional development.

“Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to retain your best and brightest. However, by making sure employees are happy though regular communication, company updates and encouragement, you can ensure that your company isn’t hit with a mass exodus.”

Robert Half has advised employers to look out for four key signs that an employee might be on the verge of quitting, and offered tips on how employers should respond.

A noticeable change in attitude: A formerly enthusiastic individual may become withdrawn and indifferent while performing his or her role.

Longer lunch breaks and frequent absences: This may be a sign that the employee is using the time for job interviews. It also can mean the individual is bored with his or her work.

More professional attire: Does the person come to work in business dress even though your company has a casual/semi-casual dress policy?

A drop in productivity: Perhaps an employee who used to take projects home or work overtime no longer does. Also, forgetfulness about deadlines, meetings and appointments could indicate a worker who is gradually disconnecting from a job.

What should you do if you see these red flags? It’s definitely not the time to take a “wait-and-see” approach. Rather, it’s best to ask the employee if he or she is planning to leave. If you discover the employee is preparing to quit, the following are some suggestion for handling the situation.

Emphasise the employee’s value and opportunities: If you are at risk of losing a key employee, consider offering an incentive to stay. Stress the person’s value to the organisation and discuss future career opportunities with the company. However, don’t promise more than you can deliver.

Don’t pin your hopes on a counter-offer: Making a counter-offer is still risky business for both you and the employee. Even if the individual accepts your offer, the “trust exchange” between you has been compromised. From that point on, you may doubt his or her loyalty.

Leave the door open: If a valued employee decides to leave, tell the person to feel free to contact you if things don’t work out with the new position. Express that you would be happy to have him or her join your team again.

XpertHR has further information on retention and employee engagement.

If you’re considering the next step in your HR career, visit Personnel Today Jobs.

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