Refocusing on Retention

With 1.7 million more job openings than job candidates, there appears to be no slowdown in the ongoing battle for talent. As employers continue to struggle to fill talent gaps, the focus is generally on how to attract new talent, more so than how to
retain talent. Great recruiting can have some unexpected consequences when it leads to higher turnover from employees who feel underappreciated, undervalued and underpaid.

To put more umph into retention efforts, the first step is to understand what employees care about. Many employers simply don’t know. Among traditional employers, only 41% survey employees to determine what drives satisfaction and retention. That compares unfavorably with more progressive, emergent employers, 90% of whom make the effort to ask employees what they care about.

Spherion has been exploring the issue of retention for many years through the Emerging Workforce® Study and has consistently found clear disconnects on retention. In general, employees (other than the youngest generation in the workforce) rank compensation as the #1 driver of retention. Many believe they deserve higher pay than they currently receive, encouraging them to explore
new options.

After pay and benefits, most employees (across every generation) place growth and earnings potential and flexibility higher on their priority list than employers do. In fact, employers rank time and flexibility last on their list of retention drivers.

Why the disconnects? For some, it may be the more intense focus on recruitment rather than retention. For others, it may be that retention requires more effort. Providing career paths and opportunities to advance is not new. Figuring out how to ensure employees take advantage of them can be a bigger challenge. Promoting flexibility with remote work or scheduling adjustments is easier said than done. Employers need to be proactive about flexible options to ensure that both employees and the employer reap maximum benefits.

Experts may differ on the best way to calculate the cost of turnover, but everyone agrees it is a cost best avoided and always minimized. When employers invest in retention priorities that match employee expectations, they may see a far better return on their talent initiatives.