Magazine article New Zealand Management

Staff Who Stick: Top Tips for Talent Retention What Makes Valued Employees Stay with an Organisation When Other Opportunities Beckon? and What Triggers Good People to Jump Ship?

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Staff Who Stick: Top Tips for Talent Retention What Makes Valued Employees Stay with an Organisation When Other Opportunities Beckon? and What Triggers Good People to Jump Ship?

Article excerpt

Employees begin to disengage and think about leaving an organisation when one or more of four fundamental human needs are not being met. These are the need for:

* trust;

* hope;

* a sense of worth; and

* feelings of competence.

So says Ian Taylor, director and partner of executive search and selection firm Sheffield New Zealand, whose local anecdotal observations come backed by worldwide research by global talent strategists Development Dimensions International (DDI) and for whom Sheffield holds the New Zealand licence.

In many cases, Taylor believes, these four triggers for disengagement are part and parcel of a wider generational issue.

"Gens X and Y need to feel strong alignment between what drives them as individuals and what they value, and what drives the company that they work for."

Employers, though, need to clump the notion that it's only the young thrusters who crave more meaningful work experiences.

New Zealanders in general are becoming more aware of wanting to work for organisations of which they can be proud. This slowly firming shift in thinking and behaviour centres around values. "Whether it's sustainability and environmental issues or whether it's to do with community responsibility, there's a greater understanding of an organisation's worth and of the extent to which people will want to align themselves to it," notes Taylor.

One perceivable outcome is that the due diligence that people do around work now is far more in-depth than it was 10 to 15 years ago. Before signing on the dotted line, candidates are looking carefully at an employment brand, scouring websites, probing for details on what companies are doing in the community, and demanding to know their stances around sustainability and environmental issues.

Workers are, says Taylor, making their decisions on a much more holistic basis as opposed to focusing narrowly on job specifications, salary and benefits packages.

While dollars due will always play a role in attracting and retaining staff, they are no longer the prime driver. "People need to feel they are fairly rewarded for their work," notes Taylor, "but reward needs to be carefully balanced around a bunch of wider considerations. It is very much a package."

Likewise changing attitudes towards prospects for moving forward once ensconced in a role. "People now make decisions much more quickly around trust being broken," warns Taylor. "All sorts of promises can be made at the time of employment around the development that people can look forward to, their career prospects and training initiatives that will be poured into them. if those aren't delivered on, people become disillusioned far more quickly and are far less compromising than they were 10-15 years ago."

As employees vote with their feet, smart companies are cottoning on to the need to follow through on promises made during the recruitment process.

"The asset valuation of their house isn't the only wealth that people look to accumulate nowadays," says Taylor. "They look to accumulate intellectual capital and they realise that in a talent-short market their intellectual capital is a commodity that can be traded quite easily."

This global talent shortage is compounded locally by the intimate and personal nature of communications here. It's a business environment in which employees manipulate word of mouth to their own advantage, ferreting out information on prospective employers through a combination of personal networks, an increasingly powerful internet, and even the Official Information Act. …

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