It's very likely, according to a new survey, that your most talented employees are not happy. What’s worse, they’re eying other jobs. While it may not be a direct result of what HR is doing, it’s a sign that employers should be reevaluating their human capital management.
Aflac's new survey released last week found half of employees are considering a job change. Stress, poor company reputation and no motivation to stay are among the reasons why workers feel compelled to walk. Benefits packages are also a great indicator of satisfaction, as workers who like their benefits are nine times more likely to stay with their employer.
This is a critical topic for human resources. Like most HR directives, talent management and human capital correlates directly to business strategy and budget. It’s estimated that losing a middle-level employee could cost an employer 150 percent of salary, and as much as 400 percent of an executive's salary. And a recent survey on turnover found the average cost to fill one position comes in at more than $10,000. (By the way, if you’re looking for a great bedtime read, check out SHRM’s new cost-per-hire standard.)
Benefits and HR managers are under pressure to make their companies stronger. Another recent survey reveals barely 30 percent of HR professionals consider themselves "strategic partners" with their organization, and that they're lagging behind c-level expectations. New demands include a bigger focus on employer performance and growth, not just cost-cutting and efficiency as it was during the worst of the financial crisis.
Besides offering a more robust benefits package, how can human resource leaders ensure their most dedicated and talented employees want to stay? While many tips are time-tested and true, several interesting points have been made recently. Eric Jackson, a strategic management specialist and contributing writer for Forbes, says one thing employers rarely consider is to ask top talent whether they actually like what they're doing. As fewer people are doing more work for lower wages, management often overlooks the opportunity to steer the higher-skilled worker into a role they can be passionate about. And once they're settled into a more innovative role, employers need to give them time to deliver on what they promised.
PricewaterhouseCoopers also makes another good point in the effort to keep top talent: learn their demographics. This is especially true now during one of biggest generational transitions the American work force has ever seen. "Technology, entertainment and media companies, for example, typically have a high percentage of pivotal talent from the millennial generation, who tend to look for flexible work arrangements, challenging assignments and a sense of belonging. At aerospace, energy and healthcare companies, pivotal employees are often Baby Boomers, who are also interested in flexibility but are more concerned about healthcare and retirement benefits."
Even with a floundering job market, employers are going to have to do better than the old, "they should consider themselves lucky to have a job" excuse. Those who stay behind - the "recession work-horses," as one expert calls them - are likely to turn the occasional resignation into a tidal wave of turnover.