January 9, 2019

Employees are open to or looking for new jobs – here’s why, and how to make them stay

Ceridian’s newest Pulse of Talent report found that only 27% of employees aren’t open to new opportunities. So, employers are under pressure to do more with their retention strategies and keep their top talent for the long term. Here are key factors that drive employees to stay or go.

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Managing Editor, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

Note to employers: it’s likely that most of your employees are open to new job opportunities.

Ceridian’s 2018-2019 Pulse of Talent found that only 27% of employees aren’t interested in new opportunities. That means the majority of employees are looking either actively or casually (37%), or would consider a new job if they were approached (36%).

The annual survey, conducted by The Nielsen Company on behalf of Ceridian, asked 2,001 full-time employees in North America about their current jobs and career plans to explore the factors that keep them satisfied and engaged throughout their careers.

The Pulse of Talent findings indicate that the pressure is on employers to create engaging reasons for their top talent to stay for the long-term. The findings are also in line with the current state of the world of work. In a tight labor market with a record unemployment rate, and with the changing nature of work itself, employees are more comfortable leaving their jobs for new opportunities, and are more selective with their choices.

“In general, I don’t believe companies think enough about retention strategies or challenge common assumptions about why people actually stay. Top talent won’t rest on their laurels,” Ceridian’s Chief People and Culture Lisa Sterling said in the report.

Register for the webinar: How to retain employees in a competitive job market

A key takeaway for employers? Focus on understanding the factors that contribute to job retention, such as career growth and development, and flexibility. Here are some top considerations for employers.

Learning and growth opportunities

Pulse of Talent revealed that employees are really hungry for career growth and development opportunities.

Three-quarters of employees surveyed (75%) work at a company that provides resources for learning – anything from workshops and virtual webinars to attending formal classes.

Those who do work for such a company are more likely to feel happier with their jobs (83%) and stay longer (7.8 years) than those whose companies do not (58% and seven years, respectively).

Career advancement and progression should also include succession planning – and Pulse of Talent found that only 41% of respondents say they’re aware of any formal or informal succession planning at their companies. This highlights an opportunity for employers to address this gap. “If employees are seeking career growth, and feel they need to leave the organization to find it, discussions about career trajectory and succession planning need to take place at every level,” the report states.

Register for our free webinar for more findings about performance management and employee development

Compensation and promotions

Although 65% of respondents said they felt they’re paid fairly in relation to other people at their company with similar job titles, only 58% of employees surveyed feel they have had adequate pay increases based on the amount of time they’ve been at their company.

What to do? Think of “compensation” as more than simply merit, or a number on a pay stub. As Ceridian’s Sterling says in this post, help employees understand the total investment being made in him or her, and help employees see their pay in a different light.

Similarly, just over half of employees surveyed think their companies give promotions when deserved – and respondents think that two years is a reasonable time frame to get promoted, but of those who have received one, it happened after five years, on average.

Transparency is important when it comes to communicating expectations around promotions. And leading employers are increasingly thinking about creative ways to reward and recognize employees beyond simply merit. Set guidelines and communicate them clearly to your people, Sterling advises.

Related: The new compensation strategy: Be more creative

Purpose-driven culture

Among employees surveyed who say their company practices their stated values, 90% are happy (positive or extremely positive) in their job versus 52% who think their companies do not. The former plan to stay with their current company an average 8.4 years longer; the latter, only 5.9 years.

Whether an employee feels they are contributing to the overall business goals also has an impact. Only 51% of respondents said they feel they’re making an impact, but 92% of those who responded that way said they’re happy in their jobs.

Sterling told the Huffington Post that employees don’t want to feel like just another cog in the machine. “People want to be paid well for what they contribute, but people want their contributions to be far more meaningful than sitting at their desk and doing their jobs,” she said.

There’s a greater onus on leaders and managers to communicate company values, and help employees understand how their work impacts larger business outcomes. Equally, managers need to have more meaningful and ongoing development conversations with their employees to understand their professional goals, and work together to achieve them.

Sterling adds in the Huffington Post: “We need to be far more aggressive in making sure that we are…giving people experience and exposure, we’re getting them engaged in things that are much more relevant than just their jobs and what that job looks like.”

Register now for the webinar: How to retain employees in a competitive job market

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