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How HR teams can turn the talent drain into an opportunity

How HR teams can turn the talent drain into an opportunity

Over the past 18 months, HR teams have faced one major challenge after another. Whilst safely scaling up the return to the workplace is top of the to-do list for many of us at the moment, it may be distracting us from an even more significant threat to our business and recovery — retention.

The pandemic has forced us all to think about what really matters and that applies to our careers too. Where employers haven’t impressed or are looking to reduce flexibility, people are seriously considering voting with their feet.

Our Emergency Exit report found that 52% of employees are considering changing jobs in the next six months — that’s 16 million people in total. Many are looking for a better work-life balance, flexible work options or a change of career.

For HR leaders, keeping our best people on board will be a top priority — investing in people makes them feel valued and provides a much-needed sense of stability across the business. If employees don’t feel supported, they’ll be more likely to consider a job change, and a large-scale talent drain could cost UK businesses billions.

Every person retained saves businesses an average of £3,000 in recruitment costs alone. On top of that, on-boarding new starters can be time-consuming and expensive, especially considering the time spent by the existing team delivering handovers and training sessions. While average yearly recruitment costs may be budgeted for, a sudden increase in employee turnover could hit businesses hard.

As well as being financially costly, high turnover can damage relationships and cause gaps in knowledge which decrease productivity across the business. If employers don’t put the right changes in place, the impact of the talent drain could be devastating.

So what support could help convince people to stay? Our survey found that 83% of those considering switching jobs would change their mind if their employer made some adjustments, so HR teams have a chance to improve the employee experience before people make their final decision.

Before putting new policies in place, it’s important to talk to our people to understand what initiatives would be most useful to them. Measuring engagement with wellbeing activities can tell us how our current initiatives are being received, but employee surveys and two-way conversations will really help us gain insight into where support is needed most.

For those who want to be proactive, there’s also an opportunity to attract top candidates. Job seekers are looking for better work-life balance and hybrid work options, so employers can attract new talent by focusing on these priorities.

With almost half of people (47%) saying flexible working is more important to them than before the pandemic, this is going to be a popular benefit for those looking to change jobs. HR teams can highlight any flexible working policies in their job adverts, as well as benefits around work-life balance (including annual leave entitlement) to appeal to top candidates.

Job security is another area that’s growing in importance, with 53% saying the pandemic has made this a bigger priority for them. This means permanent contracts will be more attractive and fixed-term jobs will need to come with other incentives, including better pay, to make up for the lack of stability.

What’s clear is that career moves will be driven by more than just the pay grade — company culture is going to be the first concern for millions of job seekers in the coming months. The scale of people looking for a change — and how easily they could be retained with the right support — is a timely reminder of why a preventative, proactive approach to your team and their wellbeing has to remain a business priority.

To find out more about employee expectations and support, download our full Emergency Exit report.

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