Last week HR magazine run a report under the headline, "Talent mobility a top concern for UK HR decision-makers." Apparently exclusive research has revealed that "22% of HR decision-makers expect to see an increase in voluntary churn in 2011" and see this as a major threat to business growth.
Perhaps more enlightening though is the fact that "the majority attributed retention problems to external factors such as better salaries or opportunities elsewhere, as opposed to internal factors." I don't know what your reaction to that statement is, but to me it seems to perpetuate the perception of HR as the victims of circumstance rather than the shapers of destiny. After all why would people want to move if the internal factors were all they should be?
Let's face it, changing jobs is stressful. Apparently there are 3 major causes of stress:-
- Loss of a special relationship;
- Uncertainty; and
- Lasting consequences.
Changing jobs more often than not triggers all these. Thus it takes a lot to get us to reach that point. Especially when you consider that human resistance to change is cited as a major reason that change initiatives don't succeed!
In the light of this, therefore, it would definitely seem that we need to look inwards rather than outwards for the causes of employee turnover. The willingness of people to subject themselves to such stress is likely to nearly always indicate that all is not well with the way you are managing your people.
(And there may possibly be a clue in the fact that you are falling into the habit of talking about "talent management" instead of recognising you are dealing with people. You employ the whole person, not just their talent!)
People's willingness to move then is surely a sign that they are not engaged. And lack of employee engagement is about lack of fulfilment; it is about not being appreciated and not making a difference. Remuneration is certainly a factor in the appreciation stakes, but it is by no means the major determinant that the 48% of respondents cited in the report seem to think it is.
So, rather than looking to employee retention, HR professionals should be looking more deeply at people management. They should be looking at employee engagement and employee ownership and the way they are treating their people, rather than the bureaucratic measures that are their current focus. Only then will they avert the iceberg they themselves are predicting and for which they are still currently heading.