July 24, 2013

Why you May Lose Key Staff in the New Year – and What to do About It

Quit key on keyboardRecent research by Glassdoor has revealed several interesting insights into the thoughts, aspirations and mood of U.S. workers entering the new year, which talent management professionals should be aware of, and which you may need to offer some kind of response to.

In their survey of more than 2,000 workers during early November, they found that 32 percent of respondents said that their top work-related resolutions for 2013 was to get a raise, followed by getting a new job (23%). Its interesting to note that among younger workers (18-34 years), 40 percent of them have seeking a pay rise as their top new year resolution.

This makes the new year an especially high-risk period for employers where they are particularly susceptible to losing their top talent to the competition. Equally, this also means that there may be more available talent in the marketplace, but to ensure that you come out of the new year period with a net gain of talent you should invoke talent retention initiatives in addition to hiring initiatives.

Below are a few ways  employers can potentially raise retention levels by prioritizing this issue of pay raises in 2013.

  1. One area to consider is pay benchmarking. Why not assess the salaries of your staff against the market to see if you are paying competitively? You may find that there are some outliers that need to be addressed and it can help you to develop a more targeted pay rise strategy. Even if you find that some of your staff are underpaid and you need to give them a raise to remain competitive, think about phasing the pay rises in over a period of time and linking them to performance goals to help minimize the financial shock to the business and secure a greater ROI.

2. Another area to consider is the introduction (or enrichment) of a bonus scheme, which is linked to individual and company performance objectives. Managed well, this is an effective way to raise the compensation level of your team with minimized risk to the business, as it is only paid if the employee and company reach performance targets, which means it can be afforded.

3. Next, don’t overlook the performance appraisal process. Make sure to have some level of formal performance assessment, in January, if not done recently, with team members. This means that both managers and staff will have a more realistic impression of the staff member’s performance level and, subsequently, how deserving they are of a pay raise. This will make it easier to target higher pay rises to the more deserving and may mean that staff have more realistic expectations of a pay raise.

4. Don’t forget personal development planning. This is a great way to address the employee’s desire for securing a pay increase in 2013 because you can work with the employee to set out performance and development goals, which the employee should achieve and could result in a promotion.

5. Consider introducing Total Reward Statements, which are designed to raise the awareness and, potentially, the perceived value of the employee’s current reward package, which could to some degree address their desire for greater compensation. These statements detail the value of traditional benefits, such as retirement savings, salary and share schemes, but they also highlight the value of other more-intangible perks relating to training, health and well-being and subsidized food/drink.

The new year is a high-risk period for employers, as it is a time when their teams are especially focused on securing pay raises and/or leaving your company. Of course, this also means that employers have access to a wider pool of talent in the hectic and disrupted January talent marketplace. But, to ensure a net gain in talent coming out of the January period, employers should have a talent management strategy, which has a heightened focus on both engagement/retention as well as attraction.

Read more in Retention

Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.