Posted 23rd December 2019

Q: What is a business’s biggest asset but also its biggest expense?

A: You. Well, you and me. People.

People are crucial to a business’s success or failure, so it’s vital to keep them motivated and happy.

In this current climate, when businesses are facing recruitment challenges and skills shortages, retaining and developing the employees you already have is more important than ever. By investing in people that are already committed to you, rather than in costly recruitment processes that may or may not bear fruit, you can avoid losing critical knowledge, skills and networks and all the time and money you’ve already spent to get your workforce to where it is today.

In a recent survey of more than 6,400 businesses, 73 per cent of those who had been through a recruitment process in the last quarter said they had experienced difficulties. The problem was particularly acute for large businesses (250+ employees), and skills shortages were felt most strongly across skilled manual and professional roles.

In some companies, when people announce their intention to leave, HR offers them an incentive to stay, often in the form of a pay rise or promotion. But in these times of economic uncertainty and ever-increasing pay bills, do organisations really have to reach for their chequebook in order to retain their talented staff?

A recent article in City AM reporting on the scale of churn in the City highlighted figures from Hays showing 40 per cent of professionals in the Square Mile moved jobs in 2018 amid frustration over lack of career progression. Salary dissatisfaction played a role, but it was clear that City professionals expected more than just a competitive wage.

As we have outlined in a previous blog, reducing attrition is about getting to know your people. It’s about making them visible, understanding what motivates them, and offering them the career development opportunities and benefits they are looking for.

You cannot underestimate the power of this visibility. Without knowing what motivates people, you will be relying on assumptions and outdated ideas about what people want and risking the very thing you are trying to avoid.

We asked a group of professionals recently, “What is important to you at work?” Only one in ten chose their salary. Being in control of their future, making progress towards personal goals, feeling recognised and valued, doing meaningful work, and flexible working were all much more popular responses.

So, to keep costs from spiralling, it’s important to understand that the quest for a higher salary is just one reason why people leave a job. It’s not the main motivator for everyone. Career progression means different things to different people and does not always have to mean financial reward.

With Optunli, your whole talent community is visible, including your current workforce and the people out there who want to work for you and would be a perfect fit. There is no need for a recruiter in the middle, as both you and your people are in the driving seat. They can tell you all about themselves and be matched to opportunities, while you can use the visibility you have to work more efficiently today and to plan more effectively for the future.

Teresa Fox
Post author:Teresa Fox

Teresa Fox is a Co-CEO and Founder of Optunli.

Do organisations have to put up with ever-increasing pay bills to hold on to talented staff?
https://t.co/kAauo9WgEd

Almost 3 out of 4 businesses have struggled to hire new people due to #skills shortages.

Holding on to and developing the employees you already have is more important than ever.
https://t.co/yOujwFHaNJ

Hi all ... just to signpost @CIPD’s “Responding to the coronavirus” support page with comprehensive advice and free resources for employers. We’re updating it regularly. https://t.co/Jvcv50DdKW