HR & Management

Engaging a workforce with a wandering eye

5 min read

02 November 2017

Without talented and motivated people, a company has no hope of flourishing and staying competitive. But what exactly motivates an employee? And how can you go about attracting and engaging a workforce that has no qualms with leaving when unsatisfied?

There are a number of reasons why an employee might choose to leave their current role: boredom, feelings of stagnation, a lack of perks and too much stress can all contribute to employees taking their CVs out of hibernation. But how do you retain and engage a workforce that’s become known for easily switching jobs

A certain level of employee turnover cannot be helped. You should, however, still do your best to keep employees feeling happy, motivated and valued. After all, when an employee leaves they will need to be replaced – and new hires are expensive. Recruiting, training and interviewing new prospects are all time and money drainers.

Research from BE Offices suggests the whole process of hiring someone costs an organisation around £30,000. It also takes the average employee eight month to reach full productivity, according to Talent Board. That alone argues the merit of engaging a workforce already in your employ.

These four steps can you go about engage a workforce, while ensuring talent remains within the company.

(1) Challenge your employees

Valuable employees are going to be valuable no matter where they choose to work. It is important to ensure employees are constantly learning, that they are increasing their value to the company, in addition to building their career skills. This is valuable for the employee and the company. Ambitious staff will want to remain innovative and grow their skillset. If they can develop new skills at your company, an offer to work elsewhere will be less appealing.

(2) Encourage flexible working

A study by Owl Labs found that companies which allow remote working experience a 25 per cent lower employee turnover than companies that don’t support these initiatives. Many employees are trying to find ways to balance their personal time and relationships. By allowing them to work from home or to work different hours, you help foster a friendly working environment and drive a more positive attitude from staff.

To make any flexible working policy succeed, communication is key. Regular phone meetings can be used to maintain visibility of employee actions on a daily basis, while eLearning and electronic resources can provide a useful method to ensure staff have easy access to the latest training and resources, regardless of their location.

(3) Make career progression front and centre

When employees – especially Millennials – do not feel a company is supporting their progression, their eyes will wander towards the job market. That is why companies are offering more career mobility opportunities, which support staff who want to move across different departments or even change their occupation.

A study by Future Workplace found that lateral mobility helps increase engagement, productivity, and teamwork. Employees, ultimately, want new challenges and opportunities to stay engaged in their work, grow their skills, and advance in their careers. Meaningful career growth needs to be enabled for each individual. The best performing businesses place learning at the centre of the employee experience, closing the gap between what employees are offered and what they actually need.

They craft frameworks that align with the precise skills and capabilities employees need. Offering the right tools and technology makes it easy for employees to continuously develop in the direction of their goals, without sacrificing performance in their current roles.

(4) Invest in your employees (and they will invest in you)

A growth-based culture rewards learning and creates talent agility. High-performing organisations treat employee satisfaction as a business objective and as a consequence link employees’ development and career progression to business results. Such a culture means focusing on continuous growth, supporting employees in developing new skills, and encouraging employees to move laterally and vertically across silos and functions.

Where personal development is a regular part of conversation and careers are designed around experiences, employees are more motivated, equipped and engaged to take on new challenges and roles within the business.

These are just a few of the ways you can increase staff satisfaction. Make it clear to your employees that you understand their need to grow professionally. There are a variety of ways to do this, such as creating career tracks, providing flexible working opportunities, and giving employees access to job training and skill building assets. These measures can help redirect wandering eyes and help foster a growth-focused environment within your organisation.

Tony Glass is VP and GM EMEA at Skillsoft