Tag Archive for retention

Work Factors and Retention Outcomes #EWS2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.50.56 PMI’ve been partnering with my friends at Spherion to share some information from their 2014 Emerging Workforce Study; see below for full disclosure details.

As 2014 draws to a close, HR professionals from hither and yon are pulling together end of the year reports and reviewing their dashboards to recap ‘the year that was.’ The historical data being reviewed covers the entire employee life cycle from number of hires to time-to-fill all the way to turnover and retention.

Beginning to end.

But the information that lies within and underneath the numbers is often never gathered. We don’t do a very good job of evaluating why our time-to-fill rate has moved from 39 days to 41 days. We also, sadly, don’t do a very good job of understanding the work factors that drive retention. We may toss up our hands in frustration when yet another key employee resigns, but are we asking “why do employees stay…and why do employees leave?”

And leave they do.

According to the 2014 Emerging Workforce Study findings, 25% of workers are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months. Can you afford to lose 25% of your employees? Oh sure, maybe no one will mind if Bill in Sales hits the road (he’s kind of a jerk), but what about that new .NET Developer you hired? Or the Director of Marketing you successfully wooed away from a competitor? What if they leave?

We know it’s something we need to think about yet companies report they’ve only put in minimal effort to retain their workers. Or, perhaps, those efforts have been misguided and not in alignment with the work factors that matter to employees.

The #EWS2014 study finds that employers believe that the management climate (89%), an employee’s relationship with his or her supervisor (85%) and the culture and work environment (81%) are most important when retaining employees.

On the other hand, the work factors that matter most to employees include financial compensation (78%), benefits (76%) and growth and earnings potential (71%).

Why do employees stay…why do employees leave?

The big questions, am I right?

And the HR professional who can answer them for her organization will be a 2015 winner.

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Disclosure Language:

Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

(Check out the full infographic for some interesting information.)

Employment Life Cycle: The Retention Factor #EWS2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.50.56 PM

I’ve been partnering with my friends at Spherion to share some information from their 2014 Emerging Workforce Study; see below for full disclosure details.

One thing we all strive for is to create a linkage between our talent programs and strategies and key organizational outcomes.

But sometimes, even as we scramble about tracking data and rolling out new initiatives, we don’t pay sufficient attention to the ‘voice’ of our own employees. Crazy isn’t it?

That’s why I found the data released in the study to be interesting in what was uncovered regarding the advocacy, retention and leadership phases of the employment life cycle. (Check out the full infographic for some very interesting information.)

The thing is that even as we dash about talking about our employees as ‘brand advocates’ and ‘ambassadors for organizational culture’ we are often lacking a true connection of understanding between employers and employees.

Sometimes, or so it appears, we just drop the ball!

When reading through the study some of the findings around the issue of retention were particularly interesting to me:

  • Employers believe the most important aspects for worker retention include the management climate (89%), an employee’s relationship with his or her supervisor (85%) and the culture and work environment (81%).
  • However, workers feel financial compensation (78%), benefits (76%) and growth and earnings potential (71%) will influence whether they continue to work at a company.

There’s kind of a glaring disconnect there! The question needs to be asked “are you – HR leader/practitioner/C-suite executive – focusing on the right things in your particular organization?” It seems that we discuss retention and turnover and the need to ‘hire the right talent’ all the time – yet – according to study results only 23% of employers say turnover/retention is their top HR concern.

Are we tossing out our hard-earned and tenured employees by failing to just talk to them? Listen to them? Do we then throw our hands up in the air and move onto the topic of “oh well, I guess we need to open some reqs and recruit the right people!”

Maybe…just maybe…the right people are directly under your our noses, all along… Hmmm…?

The question to ask – and this is how it all wraps together – is “are we treating our current staff members in the right way?”  Here’s a telling piece of information from the study:

“workers rate the level of customer service their employer provides to external customers higher than the way the company treats them.”  (the employees!)

Somewhat sobering.

It’s wooing and chasing the popular girl/guy. it’s landing the first date. It’s entering a relationship. And then neglecting the fact that romance needs to continue; even for the couples that hit their Silver Anniversary.

Time to take a look at the entire Employee Life Cycle. Am I right HR?

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Disclosure Language:

Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

The Evolution of the Worker – #EWS2014

I’m a sponsored blog partner with Spherion and participating in the release of findings from this year’s Emerging Workforce Study.  All opinions are mine.

Since 1997 Spherion has released it’s Emerging Workforce Study and the findings, as always, provide a snapshot of trends in the workforce; the 2014 study is scheduled to be released in early April.    Over the years Spherion has surveyed nearly 200,000 workers and the results highlighting trends, issues and strategies can provide a framework for HR and organizational leaders to identify what’s of critical importance in their specific organization today.  As this infographic shows, the needs and expectations of workers has changed over time. When we look at trends such as the rise of the “free agent,” the impact of social technologies and the priorities that candidates/employees place on work-life integration we see how all of these have implications for HR professionals, recruiters and organizational leaders.

The Evolution of the Worker 11.22.13 FINAL

 

Data, such as that released in this year’s study, can provide us with insight on workforce trends and viewpoints which may not yet have manifested themselves in our particular organization but will, never fear, be showing up very soon.

Spherion’s Emerging Workforce Study has been tracking employees’ attitudes about their jobs or careers and there is some interesting data in the soon to be released 2104 study including:

▪   46% of survey respondents agree that the recession has made them more interested in pursuing a work arrangement outside of traditional full-time employment and 62% have believe they can make a stable income by means other than a traditional work structure within a company

▪   86% of workers rate work/life balance as their most important career priority

▪   Culture drives retention. One of the top reasons employees cite for staying at a job is because of the culture and work environment.

See what happened there?  According to the study, employees know what will make them stay with an organization: culture, work/life integration, work relationships, and career development/mentoring opportunities among other things. And, as we see, if these things are not in place employees are more confident with heading out on their own and being a “free agent.”

Interestingly enough, according to study results, only 30% of employers cited turnover (and retention) as a top HR concern.  I find this fascinating because I can barely turn around at an HR Conference without my peers lamenting their inability to attract and retain key talent.  Are HR practitioners and leaders making assumptions about what’s important to their employees rather than actually asking them and this, in turn, is what is leading to disengagement and outward migration? Or, to take a dark and twisted view of it, do some organizations continue to view workers as disposable?  Do some live by the motto “Retention doesn’t matter; we’ll just open up a requisition and hire someone else?”

I sure hope not.

The reality is that how we work, and what’s important to us, has changed dramatically and continues to evolve at lightning pace. Bottom line: if we are to get a handle on the workplace of the future it helps to pay attention to survey data such as this today.

I encourage you to watch for the release of the full findings in April. For updated information, you can follow Spherion on Twitter. Join them on Facebook or follow the hashtag #EWS2014.

 

Disclosure

Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

How to Lose an Employee in 3 Easy Steps

Steps2One of the key indicators we often review both in the overall labor market and within our organization is employee tenure and retention.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median employee tenure was 4.6 years in 2012 which has trended up since 2000 when it was 3.5 years.  The BLS points out that one of the factors in this is the overall aging of the workforce; over half of workers age 55 to 64 and those age 65 and over had 10 years or more of tenure in 2012, compared with less than 1 in 10 workers age 25 to 34.” 

 A few other interesting items from the report:

  • Mothers with young children have lower tenure than those with older children
  • Employee tenure varies by race and ethnicity; a higher proportion of white workers had at least 10 years of tenure with current employer than did Black, Asian and Hispanic workers
  • Workers with more education (age 25 and older) have higher tenure than those with less education

Now that doesn’t all sound so bad, does it?

Yet…other reports point out that as the job market has picked up, workers are abandoning the concept of extending their tenure with a job and moving at somewhat alarming rates; for employers at least.  This report that PayScale released last year showed that among Fortune 500 companies, the median tenure rate appeared to vary considerably from the data reported by the BLS; Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, with highest turnover rate, had a median employee tenure of 9 months and less than 10 companies on the list had a median tenure of 10 years or more.

Apples and oranges to some degree; the data collection methods were quite different.

But…there’s no denying that we like to gather these data points when we work in HR or run a business.  We invest a lot of time and money into hiring members for the team and find it quite disconcerting when they make an exit before we’ve even had the opportunity to derive much value from their employment.

People leave jobs and organizations for a variety of reasons. While I disagree with PayScale’s classification of tenure as an indicator of ‘loyalty” there are elements inherent in the concept that lead to employee’s seeking opportunities elsewhere.  And in many of these cases the ‘losing of an employee” is often because the employer/manager/organization screwed up by:

  • Disregarding an obvious style mismatch.   Call it fit.  Call it motivation.  Call it personality.  Whatever the moniker, hiring managers know it when they are interviewing correctly; a candidate’s work style, demeanor or motivational factors are not in sync with the job or organization yet the hiring manager proceeds with extending the offer.  A good pedigree on paper or a recommendation/referral from a respected peer does not mean that the candidate in question is the wisest hire and the mismatch may be so great that the employee’s tenure will be short-lived.
  • Hovering and micromanaging.  Management styles vary as do employee styles but, by and large, a highly skilled employee expects to be hired for her abilities and knowledge and allowed to do her job.  Hire the best and get out of the way, right?  Yet some managers still attempt to command and control which messages to an employee that she is a mere peon who is not trusted to do her job.  And she will leave.
  • Refusing to provide career development opportunities.  Providing growth opportunities for employees is of benefit to both the organization and the individual employee; it allows for optimization of performance and prepares the employee to take on broader responsibilities.  And, naturally, highly skilled and talented employees expect to be able to continue their professional development.  Denying employees the opportunity to join professional organizations, learn new skills or gain continuing education credits (to name just a few) often leads to an employee leaving Organization A for Organization B where learning and development is not only supported but expected.

I think we can all agree there are more than 3 steps.  Have you trod on any others?