Employers must talk to employees to avoid attrition, HR expert warns – Natural Self Esteem

Performance reviews and frequent informal motivational talks are just as important as financial rewards when it comes to retaining qualified, talented team members, says a leading HR software specialist.

Ben Kiziltug, Head of Northern Europe at Personio, a provider of holistic HR software for SMBs, says soft skills and personal commitment are crucial for employers looking to retain key workers and weather the widely anticipated major post-Covid retirement.

“Performance reviews are an important starting point, but you really shouldn’t leave everything to one big annual formal review,” Mr Kiziltug said. “You have to give regular feedback. You have to thank people for their hard work. You also need to let people know how to advance in their careers.

“People feel they have given a lot over the past few difficult years. Many feel their careers have been held back during the pandemic as many advancement opportunities and career opportunities have been put on hold.

“It is now more important than ever to communicate with team members to give them clarity about their work. The feedback must be honest. Positive feedback must be earned.

“You can’t just tell someone they’re doing a great job when they’re not. This can cheer someone up in the short term, but it can also damage employer branding if it leads to poor customer service, for example.”

Mr Kiziltug says employers need to walk a fine line between their need to retain key employees while maintaining high standards.

More frequent team communication can help with this tricky HR balancing act. Ambitious employees will appreciate the connections between the initial evaluation, praise for improved performance and a corresponding financial reward and/or career progression.

UK-based Personio, which also has offices in Dublin, recently surveyed HR decision-makers and workers in SMEs across the UK and Ireland. The survey found that 59% of younger workers (18-34 year olds) feel they missed out on promotions they felt were due.

Additionally, 66% feel the pandemic has held them back in their careers – suggesting serious concerns about their career development and progress are influencing their decision to move on.

“There is also a strong sense that younger workers have missed out on much-needed praise and recognition for their hard work, with 70% of younger workers saying they have not received enough recognition from their employers for their performance during the pandemic, at 38 % of people over 45,” said Ben.

Although more than two-thirds (64%) of HR managers say employee retention is their number one concern right now, the study reveals a worrying gap between employer perceptions of what will keep their employees and reality.

As a result of the pandemic, younger workers say they are increasingly looking for a more holistic approach to work, with 85% saying work-life balance is now more important to them, and another 88% increasingly prioritizing looking after their employer for their well-being.

“The survey showed that many workers feel they don’t get enough recognition from their employers for their efforts,” Ben said. “It was clear that people today pay much more attention to a better work-life balance.

“This has a huge impact on how people view their relationship with their work environment. When people feel they cannot achieve that balance in their current job, many say they will leave.

“I really don’t think there is a magic bullet for employers to solve this challenge. They have to make decisions about work-life balance, salaries, and career progression, but the first thing they need to do is talk to their teams.

“Find out what people are thinking and feeling right now. Many companies, certainly most companies in Ireland, have already introduced their formal performance appraisal systems.

“The informal talks are also very important. Give people honest feedback. Talk to them about their career advancements,” Ben said.

The recent Personio survey found that only 19% of companies review their employee experience, while only 29% are trying to improve work-life balance.

According to Ben Kiziltug, this underscores the urgent need for non-Gen Z and non-millennial managers to evolve rapidly to meet the needs of their younger workforce.

If companies fail to implement a holistic human resources strategy that meets the needs of their entire workforce, they face dissatisfaction – and in the worst case, a brain drain of valuable young talent.

Remote work also appears to have taken a much greater toll on younger workers, who may not have spent as much time at their jobs prior to the pandemic, compared to their older counterparts: 60% of younger workers say remote work has hampered their career development , compared to just 12% of those over 45.

Meanwhile, one in ten younger workers say their performance has never been reviewed, while 23% are only reviewed once a year.

Irish workers willing to change jobs

60% of employees in ROI are looking for a new job in the next 12 months.

Reasons employees plan to look for a new job in the next 12 months include:

  • 40% lack of advancement opportunities;
  • 38% poor work-life balance;
  • 35% stressful work environment;
  • 32% lack of appreciation for what I do;
  • 31% say they don’t value their work.

What would motivate Irish staff to stay in their role?

  • Salary increase/bonus 66%;
  • Better performance, 45%;
  • Improved work-life balance, 43%.

Things that have become more important to Irish workers since the pandemic:

  • work-life balance, 84%;
  • spending time with family, 82%;
  • Salary 82%.

The investigation found that many employees felt the pandemic was hampering their careers:

  • 29% of Irish workers said they felt they had missed out on a promotion in the past year;
  • 40% said they felt their careers had been stymied by the pandemic;
  • 22% of employees at ROI said their performance was never formally reviewed by their manager.

Data on the technology sector (responses from 117 employees in the UK and Ireland):

  • 61% of tech and IT workers in the UK and I plan to quit their job in the next 12 months – higher than the industry average;
  • 55% of tech and IT workers believe they missed promotions they felt were due in the last year, and a staggering 74% also say they don’t get enough recognition from their employer;
  • Only 38% of hiring managers in IT companies expect more employees to leave than the usual average of 45%.

(Responses to Personio survey of UK and Irish SMEs and workers; Republic of Ireland specific data, sample size 250 workers)

Leave a Comment