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Economic uncertainty isn't boosting talent retention


Posted by Kirsten, Michael at Tuesday, 05/15/2012 12:55 am
 
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It seems like a natural assumption to make: when times are uncertain, people will seek security instead of new opportunities, right? Yet, talent retention efforts in Europe appear to have stalled.

Over the past three years in Europe—a period of unprecedented employment uncertainty—employees' intentions to leave their jobs have not declined as we might expect. Instead, as a latest acquisition and retention report points out, they have simply plateaued. It appears that shaky global markets have done little to increase talent retention, nor employees' desires to move on to new opportunities.

Instead, employees are taking their careers into their own hands with renewed vigor. They’re reporting high levels of dissatisfaction, but it’s not the trivial kind. They appear to be searching for organizations that will embrace their potential, provide them with consistent challenges, and this—far more than higher salaries or better benefits—is the reward they are seeking. And, despite economic uncertainty, they're willing to move jobs to access it.

Yet, it also seems that few employers in Europe are getting the balance between each of these elements right. Most employees feel that their current organization isn't accessing their full potential or skill base. Most feel they have a lot more to offer, and this is where the negative retention cycle begins: as one employee leaves to pursue their potential, another arrives in their place with the same goal. Both of these people may get what they seek for the short term, but then the cycle is destined to repeat—unless we can do something about it.

Instead of being locked into an endless cycle of plugging skills gaps in a tightening market, HR professionals, hiring managers and senior leaders can take some invaluable advice from employees themselves. Across Europe, employees are asking employers to:

- Give them a voice in how they’re rewarded: don’t assume a bonus will always be top of the list. Consider other projects, skills and responsibilities that staff can be exposed to should they reach their high-performance target. After all, large numbers of people say that challenging work helps to keep them engaged in their job.

- Commit resources to documenting and keeping track of employees’ skills: few employees feel their full potential is being utilized in their role. Managers and HR departments do not always have a clear view of the skills that each employee has, and as a result they fail to be proactive about helping employees use these as new opportunities arise.

- Find ways to move employees internally: for most employees, the idea of an employer for life is outdated and instead they actively seek new employers to access and develop new skills. Allowing employees to choose projects and make a case for being part of them, as well encouraging other departments/managers and teams to seek skills internally, will increase development and growth opportunities for internal talent.

These tips on talent retention in the European region, are part of the new Ebook, 8 Signs Talent Retention Strategies are Faltering. You can download your free copy here.

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Photo Credit - Flickr®User - Bob Long Jr.


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