talentAfter years of stagnation, businesses are now focusing on growth. For employers, stability in their workforce is essential so they can focus on other parts of their business. HR strategies aiming to satisfy staff are essential; however it’s worth knowing that staff satisfaction is not always enough to keep workers within the business in the long-term.

In fact, according to a survey of over 1,000 London workers conducted as part of Brook Street’s Survive & Thrive campaign (www.surviveandthrive.co.uk), over half of workers (58%) said that they were satisfied in their current jobs. This sounds positive but, less than 40% of workers said they see themselves with the same company in twelve months’ time. This highlights that keeping staff happy is important, but employers also need to ensure they spend time thinking about what is going to make their talent want to stay within the business.

Making sure that HR directors know what their staff really wants is extremely important. Without it, HR strategies are not fully informed and can’t reflect the real needs of workers. Employers also need to be aware of what their competitors are offering, and what could lure their staff out of the door. The Brook Street survey found that 63% of workers would leave their current role for a better offer elsewhere, rather than a lack of opportunity or dissatisfaction in their current role. If HR professionals remain conscious of the threat of competitors snatching their talent, they have a much better chance at keeping staff in place.

Another interesting fact that has come out of our survey is the impact that staff departures have on existing staff. The survey found that 42% of employees would be more inclined to look for a new job if their colleague had done so. This is worth bearing in mind as there is a risk that employers may find themselves in the difficult position of replacing more than one member of staff at a time, which can be challenging and place additional pressure on the rest of the workforce.

The loss of staff can also leave a significant skills gap. A separate survey conducted by Brook Street for the 2013 London Salary Guide, found that it can take over two months to replace a member of staff. Workers have recognised that their skills are crucial to the performance of businesses and are becoming increasingly selective about the roles that they will consider.  Employers really need to take all of these facts into consideration if they want to be successful at retaining their talent and not put their productivity at risk.

We are starting to see a renewed ‘war for talent’ with employees being exposed to a range of job temptations. In fact, nearly half of the workers surveyed for our Survive and Thrive campaign said that they receive regular job alerts via jobs boards and social networking sites, even though they are already employed. Alongside this, 28% of workers said that they have been approached by head-hunters or other businesses in the past year. It’s more important than ever that employers open up their eyes to the realities of the jobs market before they find themselves losing key members of staff.

Skills shortages are an ever impending threat on the success of businesses. The easiest way to plug the talent gap is by going to competitors, so businesses need to think about how they can protect their workforce and ensure that employees aren’t tempted by packages and programmes that your business could easily implement itself. With the risk of multiple staff leaving in quick succession, it is essential that employers reconsider their retention process as often as they can, allowing them to understand the needs of staff. As long as businesses keep this on the top of their agenda, staff morale is likely to be higher and the threat of staff churn can be diminished.

About Erika Bannerman