Talent loss in the new year and revisiting employee experience

Talent loss in the new year and revisiting employee experience
5 minutes read

Lots of things are happening as we start a new year. Bosses returned bright-eyed and bushy tailed, staff have secured new jobs and December sales figures are grim. Staff have made new year’s resolutions, such as prioritising mental health or to finding a new role. Good for them, but not so good for employers. Whether people stay or leave depends on a number of things. What is often true is that it is the talented ones and those who sell themselves the best tend to leave first. The only realistic option to save them, if you have a chance, is to offer them a last-minute counter-offer. The trouble is that the horse has already bolted and the reasons not fully understood – it is not always about pay. So, today we review talent loss in the new year and revisiting employee experience.


Talent loss in the new year

Research suggests that up to half of people will receive a counter-offer when they resign. However, one quarter to one third of them will accept it and stay with you for up to a year. About the same proportion will stay for another 5 years. So, yes, for some employees their remuneration really is a bone of contention. Those who enjoy their job, their colleagues and live near their employer will still leave if they have not had a pay rise for 5 years. Similarly, someone on a good wage but who feels overworked, struggles with many of their colleagues and has to travel far may not stay for anything.

We are only part of the way into January and LinkedIn is awash with people thanking their previous employers for years of memories. Many are now announcing their new employers and fantastic new roles. In general, the new year marks a watershed for many people and gives them time to reflect on their employee experience. Similarly, many know that the recruitment market is highly active in the new year and a job secured in October may start in January. It is not something that is entirely preventable but employers and managers face a grim cost to replace key staff. Now, let’s look at some of the employee experience factors that may contribute to talent loss right now.


Revisiting employee experience

The ultimate outcome of a poor employee experience is a leaver. Some people will leave anyway out of temptation (lured) or seduction (poached). Others are ‘assisted’ by recruiters who know that there is a commodity to sell on. Some people have a poor employee experience but struggle awfully to find alternative employment. These may display higher sick absence or mental health issues as they try to carry on regardless. Ultimately, it would be amazing if everyone had an amazing employee experience. In an ideal world, hardly anyone would resign and everyone would be highly engaged and motivated.

Employee experience is the sum total of your proposition for employees. Every touchpoint, interaction and policy of your organisation influences it. For example, assuming that you get everything right in the eyes of most employees, you should have happy and committed people. The trouble is, it is fiendishly difficult to understand what people want, especially from an interview or a questionnaire. Additionally, there are many compromises made in life, as are made in providing the total employee proposition. For example, where some may long for a café in the office, others may criticise you in private for a draconian expenses process. Where one company offers a flexible dress code, another may have a corporate uniform. It is difficult to please most people most of the time but understanding how is a good start.


Attracting talent to stay for the experience

While perhaps not able to provide the perfect, quintessential employee experience (if that even exists), you can at least try to make it better than others. If the catchment area for jobs is quite localised, you have a good chance of being able to retain most people. Those in big cities with a substantial proportion of commuters may find they need a more holistic approach. To do this, it helps to understand why people joined you in the first place. Similarly, it helps to delve into why people want to leave. There are many other ways of soliciting feedback ‘in-flight’, but gaining a consensus is tricky. You may think that everyone wants a ping-pong table but later find that half see it as a nuisance.

In many cases, beware the potential for bias and manipulation of responses. Employees may tell you only what they think you want to know or shoot for the moon if they think they can get away with it. Others will try to avoid giving feedback for fear of reprimand. A select few might completely lie and distort the truth. Either way, such methods are notoriously unreliable, which is especially the case if the organisation has not built a safe culture with understanding leaders. However, the benefits of attracting talent to stay for the experience is huge. Nobody wants their talent to take flight to competitors, nor do they want to lose all of the knowledge and skills you helped them acquire. There are costs to search and selection as well as knowledge loss, disruption and learning curves.


Keep your talent in a good place

Think Beyond believes that a great employee experience is good for business and good for customers. Long-term organisational effectiveness depends on engaged and motivated employees and loyal and advocating customers. January is often a time for talent to fly the nest or to take lots of doctor and dentist appointments. We can help with surveys, blind interviews, studies and testing to obtain more accurate insights. All we need are leaders who want to get to the truth and understand the true value of their people. After all, we don’t hire smart people to tell them what to do, we hire smart people to tell us what to do (Steve Jobs).

If you would like to speak to someone, why not arrange your free initial hour by sending us a note or calling our office. Alternatively, why not ask us to call you via our website.

Finally, why not read related articles about EX measurement or going beyond surveys.