What do employees really, really want?

Richard Nolan

Richard Nolan

Operations Director

The Financial Services Forum

It may come as a surprise that British employees are the most promiscuous in Europe – in terms of seeking new relationships with new employers, that is. Recent surveys have confirmed this, with almost half the respondents planning to move on within three years. The old ‘job for life’ culture is long gone, but that may be down to employees as much as to employers. 
Yet the costs of losing staff are well known, and it must be a key success imperative today for companies to retain their top-performing staff – and, perhaps more importantly, the larger numbers of highly competent employees who really make the business tick without ever becoming a recognized star.
Andrew Buloss and his team asked people about their motivations for leaving their current employer and the things being sought in a new role, and his analysis provides some useful pointers to effective
staff retention processes, in six main areas. Business and strategy issues are common – it helps, for example, if there is a clear sense of dynamism; it hinders, ironically, if senior management turnover is high.
Accountability, responsibility and authority are important too. Several respondents mentioned being demotivated when they found that the real scope of their role had been oversold at interview. Process and environment matters as well. Many cited frustration at, for instance, centrally-taken decisions that don’t take account of local market conditions that they have to cope with.
It is clear also that most people would prefer a longer relationship – there was a strong view that focused training and career development systems are positive motivators to stay.
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