Are you facing an employee exodus?

January 21, 2019

Hot off the press: Investors in People (IiP) have just published their annual ‘Job exodus trends’ for the UK. The report is based on employee sentiment research conducted in December 2018 with 2000 UK respondents. Being somewhat sceptical, I would imagine that if people were asked in December if they were likely to ‘consider moving jobs’ in the next year, some would say ‘well yeah’ – even if they end up not leaving. But even so, to see that 45% said they would should give leaders food for thought.

Yes, 2019’s 45% is better than 2018’s 47% and a shift from 2017’s 59% – but what’s going on behind the headline numbers? Significantly, there’s a conflicting message: almost half the people say they’re looking to move and yet there’s a substantial uptick in prospective employees seeking job security.

Why would you leave a job if security matters?

A key factor is probably the UK’s very low unemployment (just over 4%) – lowering competition for those new jobs, and no doubt boosting job-seekers’ confidence of landing a better package. More money tops the wish list at a new employer with enjoyable work a close second. But asked to choose between a pay rise and job security, 44% choose the latter. I wonder if the reports of plunging stock markets, economic headwinds and of course Brexit are prompting people to trade short-term pain for long-term gain – before things get really tough.

Seeking better pay tops the three reasons people are looking to move, followed by not feeling valued and work-related stress. Workplace stress is given as the worst thing about their job by 1 in 5 respondents.

There is some good news though: more respondents say they’re happy in their roles compared to last year – and I think this is where managers can make a difference.

What can managers do?

A manager reading thus far could be forgiven for thinking all the factors cited by potential leavers in IiP’s survey are beyond their control. Sure, pay rises may not be in your gift – but you can ask for benchmark data to reassure people that they’re being fairly rewarded. Meanwhile, here are 7 significant steps that managers can take to make sure they hang on to valued team members. For example:

1. Support people to manage their workloads and watch out for signs that the pressure is adversely affecting their performance and wellbeing.

2. Delegate clearly and supportively, giving people room to get on with a task.

3. Give feedback on performance, whether it’s praise or pointing out what needs to improve – people need to know how they’re doing. Ensure they get the message that they’re valued.

4. Establish team members’ significant strengths and work together to ensure people are able to play to their strengths whilst minimising and/or managing their weaknesses (want a Strengthscope (c) profile? We can help with that…).

5. Seek team members’ suggestions and feedback on how things could be done differently and/or better.

6. Earn people’s trust – do what you say you will, when you said you would. IiP has some useful pointers about trust.

7. Say Thank You to your team – both individually and collectively.

About the Author:

Dawn Sillet is a management trainer, coach and author. After working in the advertising industry in the UK and overseas for 15 years, she switched careers and now works with employers large and small to improve individual, team and business performance. She launched training consultancy Zoomly in 2012, specialising in super-focused, bite-sized 90 minute training workshops and coaching for the creative sector. Dawn is also the author of The Feedback Book: 50 ways to motivate and improve the performance of your people.

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