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Guest Insight: 5 Preventable Steps to Losing Great Talent

Time’s are tough for retention managers  Staying on the right side of economic shifts and technological advancements while meeting employee expectations is a feat that requires pragmatism and foresight, as well as a good deal of know-how. 
It can feel like just part of the natural order: the way the world is. However there are ways of sidestepping this attrition and it’s all to do with understanding the root of the problem. 
To make life easier, we spoke to the UK’s leading employee engagement platform, Perkbox, on why talent is lost, and what lessons could be applied for businesses worldwide. 
Perkbox surveyed 2,000 UK-based employees and caught up with two talent experts, Julia Murrell, Director of People and Development, Firmdale Hotels and Andy Partridge, Co-Founder, Enviable Workplace, to explore employee pain points and retention strategies. The questions examined why employees fire up their Guardian job alerts and look for work elsewhere – and what managers can do to stop this from happening. The results were telling… here’s what's putting your top talent at risk:
1. Bleak career prospects. Good salaries and comprehensive benefits will only go so far in the fight against turnover. Talented employees tend to be the most ambitious, and will want to see opportunities for development and career progression within their role. To put a number on it, 32% of employees resent the lack of career development opportunities on offer.
To tackle this, you need to offer a clear road-map of career progression. Moreover it’s something that needs to be communicated and nurtured consistently. Where possible, each employee should have an individual journey mapped out based on conversations with their line managers.
2. Lack-luster leaders. On average, over half of all employees surveyed had a fundamental problem with their seniors. The employee-manager relationship will always be prone to stresses and strains, but the way we address these problems needs adapting. Particularly as only 48% of employees believe their management teams contribute towards a positive environment.
If your company doesn’t have a management training program, our study suggests it might be time to make the first move. In addition, frequent feedback loops through surveys and informal catch-up conversations are good ways to uncover what’s causing latent frustrations.
3. Absence of company vision. There has been a tectonic shift in the expectations workers have from their company. It is no longer enough to offer a salary; now your employees want to work for an organization with purpose and value.
This is particularly true among your Millennial workforce, who, by and large, are interested in companies that have a societal value. However 59% of UK employees don’t feel aligned with their organizations’ goals.If you take some time to focus on goal alignment, it will strengthen leadership and create flexibility. With a mobilized team working towards shared objectives, businesses can execute strategy faster and with more agility. To achieve this you need to think beyond personal and team objectives and focus on a wider company movement. Use internal channels to promote the brand’s progress towards achieving its goals.
4. Failing to recognize. Pay rises are rarely economically viable and actually do little to tackle retention anyway. Almost two-thirds of employees agreed that regular personalized benefits – such as cost-saving perks, free meals, and gym memberships – would be appreciated as recognition for their loyalty and personal investment.
The most effective strategy here is to offer perks that are in-keeping with your organization’s goals. If done well, this could result in a more skilled and more engaged workforce.The most successful programs contain a blend of instant recognition, leadership support, and personalization.
5. A breakdown in communication. What seems to bother employees even more than poor leadership is the absence of organized and transparent communication. In fact, 35% of employees identify a lack of communication as their biggest frustration at work. If an organization fails to articulate its requirements on both an individual and a collective level, employees will lack direction and drive.
The solution to this is perhaps the easiest to implement: encourage open dialogue. Candidly discuss issues as they arise and introduce a culture of feedback. Regardless of the industry they’re in, employers need to engage with their people. Great company cultures are the product of leaders with emotional intelligence, stakeholder experience, and employee engagement. Employers need to make stronger emotional connections with all of their people, and bring purpose and value to work.

Emily McMahon
Content Manager, Perkbox
020 3870 6743 / 07946293333


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