Plan properly to avoid employee attrition

Written by
Ian Baxter

19 Nov 2015

19 Nov 2015 • by Ian Baxter

The fight to retain employees is becoming progressively difficult for HR managers in an age of increased competition in salary, benefits and the promise of unique company cultures. Current employers and their HR professionals fear their employees are planning to leave, and rightfully so – as one third of employees in the UK workforce said they are looking to switch jobs in the next six months; a staggering fact, especially as this applies across the generational board from millennials to Generation Xers. 

A study conducted by Saba and of more than 2,000 UK and US employees, and HR leaders, found the root of the problem lies from a lack comprehension of employees’ desires. 

Three steps to employee retention

1. Align goals


HR teams are appointed with the challenging task to of making the workplace run smoothly while managing multiple factors that affect functionality. When HR leaders are forced to juggle a handful of tasks – retention, recruitment, learning, development, planning and compensation – it is often easy to lose sight of the greater picture. 

Almost half of the polled UK HR leaders agreed that retention and leadership development are the top priority, but what about the other HR necessities? While one employee might focus on climbing the corporate ladder, another might be driven by personal development or financial reward. Understanding these differences and priorities is key for employee retention.

The challenge for HR professionals lies in ensuring they have visibility of individual employee’s goals, and can manage the most relevant tasks to each of them accordingly. This can be a fine balancing act with a number of different HR balls in the air at any time. But when HR priorities accurately reflect the spread of employee drivers, each individual will be better able to understand their growth potential and value within their company. 


2. Knowledge is key

Surprisingly, there is a large discrepancy between the understanding of skills and options valued by HR leaders and employees. 

41% of employees said they would leave their company for better career options – with a sizable amount (31%) stating their background skills and talents were not being recognised in their current roles. In contrast, 60% of HR leaders believe their companies provide employees with a clear career path. This reveals a clear division between the two parties. 

To address this discrepancy, HR leaders need a high-level overview of the employees within their organisation, as well as an understanding of where individuals’ skills and strengths lie. This will enable them to match employees’ skills with the gaps and needs of the organisation itself. This approach not only benefits the company by ensuring it is making best use of its existing employees, but also supports employees by helping them to develop their strongest skills to enable further career development. 


3. Have the proper tools

How do you fix an issue if you can’t find the source of the problem? You need the right tools to engage the employee at every stage of their journey through the company – from recruitment to learning, performance, succession and compensation, as well as the ability to access necessary data and analyse where potential issues are occurring. 

Coincidentally, HR leaders ranked workforce analytics the lowest in effectiveness in the talent processes.

Not being able to align goals and misjudging the importance of workforce analytics directly correlates to the discrepancy between HR leaders and employees. It is this difference that can drive employees to look elsewhere for what they perceive to be a more fulfilling career choice. Therefore, HR leaders must think more strategically about the tools and insights which will help them better understand their employees and reach their personal goals.