Three ways to prevent a drain on talent

A brighter economic outlook also means dissatisfied employees are more likely to look for a new role. Martin Reed examines how organisations can prevent “employee churn” becoming a problem.

A report published by Towers Watson in February 2014 highlighted an issue relevant to all organisations whatever their sector or type: that in times of economic recovery, employee churn is likely to increase significantly.

In fact, the report showed that the countries in Europe with the highest wage increases have seen the largest number of staff choose to leave their current place of work.

This, coupled with an economy showing strong signs of recovery, make it clear that organisations need to sit up and take this issue seriously. HR functions must ensure the right processes are in place to prevent a drain of employees. There are three key areas you need to focus on in order to do this:

1. Working relationships

People tend to turn to their manager with their biggest frustrations and if they are continually left feeling misunderstood, unheard and undervalued, it is much more likely that they will start thinking about moving elsewhere once the jobs market opens up. The adage that “people don’t leave companies; they leave managers” holds substantial truth and is one of the most important factors in staff retention and turnover.

To avoid this, it is down to employers to engage closely with their employees to gain a better understanding of how they operate to ensure they are in no hurry to jump ship. We strongly encourage businesses to implement forums or platforms for frank and open conversations with staff on a regular basis. This can aid two-way communication and help boost self-awareness.

Psychometric assessments are also a great way of gaining an unparalleled level of understanding of those within any organisation. The insight they provide gives managers the tools to better understand their own management style and the styles of those they are managing. Simple things like gaining insight into favoured communication methods or work fears can go a long way in helping to support the smooth running of any team and the delivery of better results.

2. Role suitability

If the role is not presenting an employee with the right sort of challenges, or if it is simply too demanding, it can often leave individuals feeling as though they have no other option but to move on. Therefore, the role and what it entails, including the routes to progression and what is required, can often play a significant part in determining how likely employees are to start weighing up their options.

To overcome this challenge, it is imperative that employers make a conscious effort to understand the behavioural requirements behind any role and ensure the person in it really is the right fit for the benefit of both the employee and the organisation. You could well find that you have been forcing a square peg into a round hole all along. Your employee could be much better suited and happier elsewhere in the business.

3. Cultural values

HR functions should be fully aware of the culture of their organisation, as it can hugely affect an employee’s level of job satisfaction. If a member of staff is simply not the right cultural fit, they will never feel fully comfortable within their working environment. For example, if an employee does not completely identify with their organisation’s core values and beliefs, they may feel alienated.

You need to think about whether or not a potential employee will fit both the role and the organisation as a whole to ensure a lower level of employee attrition. By focusing on the right areas and employing the right tools, HR managers can help minimise the risk of attrition and stop it from becoming a serious threat to their business both now and in rosier economic times.

While we cannot expect the economic recovery to happen overnight and for all employees to begin resigning immediately, what is clear is the need to future-proof businesses against this anticipated increase in staff churn. It is a very real issue and the impact will be felt across all businesses ranging from micro to multinational corporations.

Martin Reed

About Martin Reed

Martin Reed is CEO and chairman of people assessment provider Thomas International.
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