The differential value created by talented employees in a hyper-competitive and complex global economy has made talent management a strategic priority for organisations. Staff retention has long been a concern for businesses, and now with Brexit throwing up so many uncertainties, this concern has only heightened. Organisations of all sizes across public, private and not-for-profit sectors look at employee engagement, perks/benefits and now, the full employee experience to attract, motivate and retain talented people. Talent management has been advocated as an important strategy to retain talented employees.
To get to the bottom of what compels employees to stay at their organisations is presented in form of five indicators based upon the analysis conducted by people insight on extensive database:
Purpose - the reason the organisation exists
Enablement — Conditions that enable us to do our job well
Autonomy — How much we can influence our work and health circumstances
Reward — How fulfilled, valued and rewarded we feel
Leadership — How much leaders listen, support and enable positive change
The resulting model was statistically significant and found several positive correlations, meaning the more people answered “agree” to these questions, the more they would still like to be working for their organisation in two years’ time.
The number one reason employees stay is company purpose. It’s become clear employees are seeking fulfilment and meaning from their work. They want their work to provide value and their organisation to stand for something important. This theory is backed up by a number of studies and sources. Harvard Business Review revealed 90% of employees are willing to earn less money to do more meaningful work and a 2016 Cone Communications study showed 75% of millennials are willing to take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company. In 2018, Forbes went on to discuss how company purpose defines an organisation's value in society, with Inc pointing out how company purpose can increase returns by 400%.
Furthermore, Mercer's Global Talent Trends Study of over 7,600 business executives, HR leaders and employees found employees crave a sense of purpose. The study showed employees feel more professionally and personally fulfilled when their company can clearly define its’ purpose. Employees need a clear idea of what the company culture and values are so that they can align with it.
Complex Factors Influence Retention
There are further complications when it comes to the war for talent, including Brexit, an ageing workforce, a multi-generational workforce and the impending industry 4.0. What’s clear is hiring managers have a lot to consider when it comes to recruitment and staff retention. They aren’t just thinking about salary but also opportunities for advancement, training and development, flexibility, company brand and, importantly, a purpose-driven career.
Carrie Wootten, Managing Director at Rise, works with broadcast companies to encourage diversity in the industry. She has found the best way to retain women in the broadcast technology sector is to support their professional aspirations with an award-winning mentoring programme. Development is a staff retention method used by Spector, a tech company that delivers IT support and reliable cybersecurity. Spector’s Technical Director, Ger Whitehead, says “We differentiate ourselves by offering a structured learning path catered to the individual and a clear path to help them achieve success for their career.”
Autonomy, or having an element of control over one’s work, is a key factor that drives employee engagement. It’s not surprising people want a say in decisions that affect them or channels to express their opinions and ideas. Developing a comprehensive listening strategy means considering all the ways that you can involve, listen and respond to your people.
An Improved Benefits Package
Work these days isn’t only about compensation — but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking pay isn’t important. We need to pay our employees fairly and competitively and consider the attractive perks, such as performance bonuses or health insurance that are becoming more and more common practice.
Talent retention in theEnergy Industry
The modern energy workforce is increasingly restless, with a recent report finding that four-fifths of current oil and gas workers are considering leaving the industry. Job security is certainly a factor, with the recent 2021 GETI Report finding that, 69% of power workers and 78% of oil and gas workers feel less secure about their jobs, with the majority attributing this to the pandemic.
The pandemic has transformed the values of employees in ways that could exacerbate the exodus of energy workers. Rising awareness of collective health and even climate change during the pandemic has accelerated the emergence of a more socially conscious ‘belief-driven’ employee. Increasingly, these employee values are seen as clashing with the perceived nature of many energy companies. Airswift’s 2021 Talent Retention report found the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on minority groups has driven diversity higher up the modern employee agenda. Since the pandemic began, 2 million women have considered leaving or downshifting their careers, while ethnic minorities have been hit hardest by the virus. 62% percent of workers now say they would leave or have already left their employer for a more inclusive one, posing a challenge for an energy industry with just 7% ethnic minority and 22% female representation. The GETI Report found that staying close to family and friends now outweighs desire for remuneration among some oil and gas workers and 47% of those who do not want to relocate jobs cited proximity to family. Similarly, stay-at-home policies reinforced a long-running trend in employees valuing home, autonomy and freedom over fixed hours and faraway deployments.
COVID-19 even pushed climate change higher up the employee agenda. Analysts noted that escalating extreme weather events throughout 2020 literally and figuratively brought home the effects of climate change to a population confined to their houses by lockdown. This spurred a rise in environmental consciousness among workers and consumers, posing a risk to employer brands in carbon-intensive energy industries. It is little surprise therefore the previously mentioned GETI report found that 79% of energy workers would consider switching to a new sector within the next three years and renewables emerged as the sector of choice. Stay-at-home orders also rendered workers dependent on digitalisation, transforming technological progress into a necessity and a social good. However, this could drive prospective employees away from an energy industry still perceived as technologically regressive. Some pioneering energy and tech companies such as BP and HP now include everything from private mental health coverage to remote nature retreats in their workplace benefits.
The energy industry stands at a crossroads. Its recent digital transformation pits the sector in a race against other digital-native industries to recruit and retain talent. This means companies are now competing for a more diverse, family-oriented, socially, and environmentally conscious worker who is increasingly values-led in their choice of employer. As the energy industry transitions from fossil fuels to a sustainable energy mix, the demographics of its workforce will further change to reflect this. The companies that attract and retain this workforce will be those that can design their offering to reflect the permanent shift in the profile and values of its employees that is now underway.