Whenever we experience change in our lives, it can cause us to take stock of our life choices. Whether you’ve had some changes in family circumstances, been through a reorganization at work or moved to a new house, it can result in you reassessing your employment situation.
As an HR professional, you know that it’s inevitable that some employees will consider moving on to pastures new. Sometimes you need to accept this as part of the employee lifecycle. But in other situations, you can be more proactive. You can recognize that employees will consider other opportunities and take steps to limit the ones within our control – and avoid the pains associated with replacing them.
My preference is certainly to be more proactive where possible, and research released by Qualtrics at the end of 2017 helps to explain why. The study found that almost one-fifth of UK employees are planning a move in the next two years, whereas these figures stand at just over one in ten in the US. This suggests that, comparatively, the UK has a serious problem when it comes to employee retention which needs to be addressed.
Helpfully, the study also outlined some major indicators which can highlight whether employees may become a flight risk. These included:
1. Short tenure
Employees that have been in their position for less time are more likely to move on according to the report. Are your recruitment processes bringing in people who fit in with the existing company culture? And don’t forget to look at how you engage with new starters. We’ve carried out research before which shows that employees are far more likely to remain within a company if they have a structured onboarding programme. By making sure employees have everything they need to succeed when joining an organization, you can help build up the loyalty and trust that will keep attrition rates low.
2. Low pay or seniority
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that people are happier in their job when they’re earning more money. It also shouldn’t be a shock that people will look outside their organization if they think they can advance their career faster elsewhere. So, having clear career progression plans in place for employees is essential if you want staff to stick around.
The Qualtrics study showed that the majority of potential leavers feel stressed most of the time. It may well fall on managers to support their staff to overcome these work-related issues, but the HR department can also help here by highlighting the tell-tale signs that someone is experiencing problems. These can often be displayed in certain behaviors, such as persistent lateness or high instances of absence.
4. Work-life balance
If your organization is perceived to be an employer who is supportive of the work-life balance, you’re more likely to have happier workers. Interestingly, the Qualtrics study showed that employees emailing outside of contracted hours could provide an indication of flight risk. It found that two-thirds of potential leavers email at weekends, and 25% all the time. Interestingly, 50% of loyal workers never check emails at the weekend.
A recent study from the University of Surrey found that employers should do more to ensure employees don’t feel pressured by technology to work outside of their contracted hours. This is especially important in the ‘always on’ society we live in. But the flexibility granted by the digital world can lead to more productive employees and provide them with greater job satisfaction.
Taking steps to reduce flight risk
The key for employers is to have systems in place to help create a balance – to allow employees to work on their own terms but also to engage and monitor behavior. These systems should span across onboarding new starters, progression planning and employee wellbeing, as well as identifying potential problems in workers’ personal lives.
But organizations don’t have to stop there. With the right kind of HR reporting and data, you can help your business to predict where the flight risks might be within their organization and address the issues in advance. This kind of predictive analytics can help businesses retain key talent and keep things running smoothly within the organization.
About the author: Richard Shinton is a Product Manager specialising in all things Business Intelligence with over 20 years of experience. The first 19 years with NGA UK and Ireland were spent building a successful Business Intelligence Support team centered around high levels of customer service. He has taken that experience and knowledge and brought it to bear in the ever-changing and fast-paced world of BI and Analytics.