Why staff are leaving, and how to keep them

Why staff are leaving, and how to keep them

how to keep the staff
According to the Hays Annual Salary Guide more than 77 per cent of employees are currently looking or planning for a new job within the next 12 months – that’s four out of every five workers.

The cost-of-living effect on jobs

While there is always a myriad of reasons for anyone deciding to leave their role, the cost of living is having a big impact on workers at the moment. The main reason people cited for looking to leave their job was the rising cost of living at 64 per cent – almost two in every three. Not surprisingly then, the number one benefit employees are looking for elsewhere is a pay rise, at 71 per cent.
Even higher though is the number one reason that would keep employees at their organisation – again it’s a pay rise, with a figure of 82 per cent. Assuming a big amount of overlap it suggests that in one clean sweep employers could negate the 77 per cent that are looking to leave. Although a) that depends on the size of salary increase, and b) if you dig deeper there are many other reasons for leaving. And staying.

Why staff are thinking of leaving

While cost of living is the major factor in staff wanting to leave their job, there are a few other reasons that register greater than 50 per cent as a reason to leave and all of them are, unsurprisingly, very direct and personal to the individual.
Second and third in the list with 61 per cent and 60 per cent respectively are ‘major personal changes in my life’ and ‘lack of promotional opportunities’, both of which would seem linked to the cost of living and possibly magnify its effects.
Beyond money, though it may simply come down to being unhappy and the role work plays in that. Negative mental health and wellbeing habits has a score of 58 per cent and poor management style or workplace culture which scored 59 per cent.
The main reasons staff want to leave is that they aren’t being paid enough, they aren’t getting their desired work/life balance, and either management or culture is negatively impacting them. 

The benefits staff are looking for 

When they begin looking elsewhere there is definitely a trend in what they are looking for to attract them to a new role. Yes, more money is top at 71 per cent, but they are also looking to better themselves, with three of the top six reasons being learning and development. Learning or developing technical skills at 63 per cent, learning or developing soft skills at 45 per cent, and learning or developing digital skills at 43 per cent all show that staff want to learn and grow.
Being able to work more flexibly is definitely a trend that will continue to grow and is the third biggest thing employees are looking for from a new job at 54 per cent.
Finally, a more challenging and exciting role comes in at 42 per cent and is something that has always been a reason to look elsewhere for many ambitious workers.

How you can convince staff to stay 

For employers, it is obviously vital to know what retention strategies resonate with the workforce. And at the moment it is the cost-of-living that is driving what employees want from their organisations. A pay rise at 82 per cent and job security at 81 per cent share the top two positions – more money and the prospect to keep earning are what workers are focussed on right now.
With those two way out in front, there are then four other factors that follow behind with equal weighting. A continued commitment to hybrid working is important at 64 per cent, along with other flexible working benefits at 63 per cent and other salary benefits at 63 per cent.
The top five all play in to making life a bit more comfortable for people: A decent salary, the ability to maintain a work/life balance, and the stress of knowing whether they have security.
Beyond those, however, there are five other things that employers can change to win back employees who are thinking of leaving.
Improve their commitment to ESG and DE&I – and this is especially important the younger you are and the newer you are to the employment sector. Lack of commitment to ESG (52 per cent) and lack of commitment to DE & I (50 per cent) need changing.
The next three all then play into the factors previously mentioned – lack of flexible or hybrid working (47 per cent), poor work / life balance (46 per cent), perhaps caused by an unmanageable workload (48 per cent). If these are happening in your business, then look at them quickly as they could lead to workers leaving.
These factors do change slightly however, depending on the level of the business you are at and the stage of your career. For instance at an entry level a commitment to ESG rates much higher that at a later stage in perople’s working lives. At a management level is seems DE&I and training are the most important factors. Then at C-suite changes to personal lives and lack of promotional opportunities become the issue.

Remember the individual 

As Mathew Dickason says in his introduction to the Salary Guide, a lot of this really comes down to trust. But it also comes down to money, a work/life balance, and learning and developing as an employee. And it can sometimes get lost in the maelstrom of working life that every employee is an individual and values different things. There are trends, but they are made up of individual wants and needs.

It’s most important to recognise that when rewarding staff and trying to retain them. While work/life balance might be important to one person, it may be that career advancement is more important to another. While there are different percentages attached to each answer, those percentages are made up of hundreds or thousands of respondants and so it’s important that all issues are addressed.

A commitment to DE&I and ESG will continue to be important to workers and increasingly so as new employees join the workforce. Learning and development has made a leap forward in terms of what employees want, fuelled by the flexibility that COVID spawned. And work-life balance has become more important to many, again as a result of the lockdown experience. The key to all of this is understanding which benefit is most valued by which employee and making their working life better as a result.


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