As Employees Seek Job Changes, HR Heads Look to Improve Retention Rates

November 1, 2015 – One-third of U.S. and U.K. workforces plan to change jobs in the next six months, according to the Employee Development Survey released by talent management solution provider Saba and WorkplaceTrends.com, a research and advisory membership service for HR professionals.

Almost half (49 percent) of HR leaders agreed that retention and leadership development programs were the top priority among talent management goals, but companies continue to suffer from significant retention challenges.

Other reports have cited high retention rates in today’s business climate due to the overtaking of Millennials in the workplace. Recent figures released by on-demand talent provider Findly concluded that Millennials are poised to make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2020. Studies have shown that Millennials seek constant appraisal and they look for fast promotions which also means they are likely to develop into job-hoppers, which is frustrating to companies that hire them.

Another report, The Employee Development Survey, found that 60 percent of HR leaders believe that their companies provide employees with a clear career path (advancement) while only 36 percent of employees believe this to be true.

Korn Ferry’s recent ‘Real World Leadership’ study found a significant lack of executive satisfaction with leadership development programs. Study respondents said that if they could, they would discard nearly half (48 percent) of their leadership development approach. In a similar vein, 55 percent of survey respondents judged their leadership development spending return on investment to be only fair, poor or very poor.

“Many leadership development initiatives fail because they are simply a series of programs instead of a comprehensive approach that ties directly back into the business strategy,” said Stu Crandell, senior vice president, Korn Ferry Institute.

Forty-one percent of employees polled in the Saba/WorkplaceTrends survey said they would leave their company for better career options – with a sizable amount of those polled (31 percent) stating that background skills and talents were not being recognized.

So when should employees think about leaving? According to a study by U.S. News & World Report, if you’re lucky enough to have a job, “there are definite times when you might consider holding off from job searching.

But sometimes making a change makes sense. Here’s when:

  • You’ve been with your employer for more than 10 years
  • You’re really good at your job
  • You’re really bad at your job
  • You don’t get along with your colleagues
  • After completing a successful project
  • On the turn of a fiscal year
  • After a vacation
  • Your goals don’t match with those of the company
  • Your skills are unappreciated and underutilized
  • You’re content with the work you do

And what are the best industries to consider job switching to? According to executive recruiters, healthcare and information technology continue to be the most active sectors, hiring professionals at all levels of the career spectrum.

Back to the Saba survey, when the workforce was asked if they would be willing to share more context about themselves for better career advancement in their current companies, people agreed they would like to share more. About one-third (31 percent) of employees polled would be happy to share their goals, background talents and what motivates them to ensure more accurate workforce placement; but the right questions are not often being asked.

“Saba and Workplace Trends research shows that HR leaders want to know what inspires and motivates the workforce, but they don’t seem to be asking them,” said Adrienne Whitten, VP of product marketing. “The problem could be a lack of the right tools or experience for gathering the data, as HR ranks workforce analytics as the lowest in effectiveness across the talent processes.”

The misunderstanding of employee wants and HR needs funnels down to a lack of staff insights and analytics. Twelve percent of HR managers say that ‘workforce analytics’ and ‘planning’ are their companies’ best function. Fifteen percent of HR managers say that having up-to-date risk assessment of losing high potentials would be the ‘most impactful’ insight for their business.

A recent Korn Ferry / Futurestep report found that just more than half (52 percent) of organizational leaders are satisfied with the data they currently receive from their recruitment process outsource provider. Low volume of data, accuracy of metrics, and alignment with business outcomes were specifically highlighted as problem areas by businesses monitoring performance metrics.

Saba and Workplace Trends research found that low importance for workforce analytics bears a strong correlation with the resulting low impact of risk assessment plans. Lack of proper employee analytic tools can be blamed for low retention especially when employees are willing to share details that would prevent them from leaving. HR leaders who have the proper tools and insight on what employees really want, can successfully combat rising employee migrations.

According to CareerBuilder’s new survey of U.S. CEOs, top executives are relying more on recruitment and HR leaders for innovative business strategies grounded in data. The overwhelming majority of CEOs (90 percent) say it is important that HR leaders be proficient in workforce analytics, with about one in three executives (35 percent) saying this is ‘absolutely essential.’ A majority of CEOs (65 percent) agree that post-recession, HR opinions carry greater weight with senior management; nearly three fourths (73 percent) say that their HR leader has provided data that they have incorporated into their business strategy.

“CEOs acknowledge that the recruitment landscape is changing and the need for their HR teams to come forward with data-driven, competitive approaches and efficient technologies is more critical than ever,” said Matt Ferguson, CareerBuilder chief executive. “HR leaders are becoming more influential members of the executive team. CEOs are looking for HR to be just as data-savvy and digitally-savvy as other areas of the company, and take quick, measurable actions that move the business towards its goals.”

CareerBuilder’s study also found that 92 percent of business leaders think HR executives can have broader influence by: providing actionable talent data and other research to help devise strategies to meet larger business goals (57 percent); showing ways to increase efficiencies or cut costs by better using the company’s human capital (57 percent); knowing what the company does, but also how everything works (52 percent); and proactively working with other leaders to help solve business problems (51 percent).

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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