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7 Ways to Prevent a Talent Exodus


Staff turnover is on the rise as over one third of HR directors report an increase in the number of departing employees according to research from Robert Half. How can you prevent a talent exodus in your business?

Don’t be so rigid : Boredom and frustration is the number one reason behind employees quitting their jobs[1], especially in larger businesses. Offering meaningful work is the key to resolving this issue and one recommended by Laszlo Bock, Google’s former SVP of People Operations. The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) also found that half of UK workers feel trapped by an inflexible company structure and would be happier with more freedom and autonomy in their workplace. Collaboration is also conducive to creating a happier workforce.

Open up your skills training to your older workforce : The Skills Commission report A Spotlight On … Lifelong Working For An Ageing Workforce predicts that by 2022 a total of 12.5m vacancies will be available, with only 7 million young people to fill the gap. People aged 50 and over will form the largest part of the workforce by 2024. A survey carried out by McDonald’s in 2016 also found that employees are generally happier in a multi-generational workforce and therefore more likely to stay with your company. Upskilling all of your workforce is essential to bridge the skills gap and retain employees. Nearly one fifth of people leave their jobs because of the lack of digital tools. An estimated 745,000 digital skills shortfall is also anticipated this year alone.

Create an ‘employee experience’ : The concept of the employee experience featured highly on Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends while noting that the ability of employers to respond to issues of engagement and culture had fallen by 14% over the past year. The majority of businesses (59%) were not able to address the challenge of an employee experience which encompasses issues such as work/life balance and providing programmes for a multi-generational workforce. 84% of UK businesses notably rank this issue as ‘important’ or ‘very important’.

Reconsider your use of zero hours contracts : The controversy over what constitutes the ‘gig economy’ or zero hours contracts continues to attract negative recruitment headlines. One in four people state that money worries are affecting their on the job performance[2] and while median income for gig economy workers is only £6.00-£7.70/hour that situation is unlikely to change. Zero hours contracts may suit some workers but for the majority they add to the insecurity and lack of engagement. A new report suggests adult social care workers are leaving their jobs at the rate of 900 per day. One in four are also employed on zero hours contracts.

Include internal applicants for your next job opening : Stagnant career prospects are a major reason for attrition reported by Robert Half. Offering a clear career development path by promoting your existing talent sends out a positive message and expands your talent pool. The next time you post a new job opening, include your high achievers and employees with potential in the mix. Your HR analytics will identify who those people are in your organisation.

Rethink salaries – but not the counter offer : Despite the downward pressure on salaries, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) reports a rise in both permanent and temporary pay rates in March. Robert Half suggests that salary increases and counter offers are used by employees as retention strategies. While pay rise – as part of an overall performance review – will motivate and encourage staff, a counter offer should only be considered as a short-term measure.  The majority of candidates who accept a counter offer resume their job search within a few months because the reason for their unhappiness at work is usually more complex than a salary rise.

Review your hiring process : Up to one in three UK workers are in the wrong job with each unhappy employee costing your business up to £16,000 and a growing number of new hires leave their jobs within the first six months of employment. If your recruitment metrics reveal a pattern of early departures among your new hires, it is indicative of problems in your hiring process and overall candidate experience. Be realistic about job expectations during interview to reduce the chances of an early departure and carry out a review of your entire process to identify potential roadblocks.

Kate Smedley offers a range of talent solutions including advice on your hiring process and content to boost your employer brand.

Contact me to find out more.