Friday, 14 March 2014

When the economic situation improves, employees walk: Are you ready?

Just as you think your company is coming out of the repressed economic times and you can focus on improvements to the bottom line linked to project success, the idea of your talented employees going elsewhere may not be a factor you have considered. Worse, if they do walk, there is a skills shortage so it is harder to replace them. Can you do anything to mitigate this? Have you even thought about it?

The Hay Group have conducted research into the trends for employees moving jobs worldwide and predict that the UK will see this peak in 2015. The poor economic times meant that employees were prepared to stick with a job because there were genuine fears that there may not be another around. But, as the economy improves and confidence improves, employees will find that there are more jobs around. This means that they can leverage their expertise and skills for more money and they do not have to put up with aspects of their working environment they haven’t liked.

The Hay Group list five factors that have an impact on employee retention as:
  • Confidence in the organisation and leadership
  • Room for employees to grow
  • A fair exchange between employee and organisation
  • An environment for success
  • Authority and influence
Here is the Hay Group web page. It’s worth watching their 2 minute presentation on ‘Preparing for take-off’ to get the impression of why and how they have reached their analysis. It’s linked to from the page.

These wider concerns for a company are echoed in ‘Higher pay does not equal higher retention rates’, HR Review, 26th February 2014, (look at the quoted last paragraph for this.) Also, ‘Great with Talent’ has researched ‘Why employees leave and retention for 2014’, meaning improving retention in 2014, we believe.

Well, do your employees line up with those the Hay’s five factors? Would you know? It’s interesting that more and more companies are conducting ‘exit’ interviews with employees who are leaving to get to grips with aspects in the company that work against retention. These ‘exit’ interviews need to be handled well, of course, so there are specific training courses to prepare people to get the truth from leavers, and, even specialist companies that will do this for you (See ‘Great with Talent’, as an example). Do you have anyone qualified to conduct ‘exit’ interviews? Are you prepared to use the information positively to change your company?

It may well be worth your while, as the costs of recruiting someone are real costs. There’s the recruitment agency fees (if you use them), time for reading CVs and interviews, meetings to make decisions, then the integration time to up-skill him/her to get them working efficiently for your circumstances, teams and clients. You may well have to take on a contractor to cover the interim etc. The Hay Group mention 12-18 months to find and get a new employee up to speed. Is this true for you?

And, just to rub it all in: there’s a great question in ‘The Value of Project Team Members’, Francis Hooke, 19th February 2014, that asks, ‘If you are a project manager and you completed your project on time, in budget, but 30% of the team members have left the company, did you fail?’

See Quality Project Delivery for the answer!