· Features

Ghost turnover is about to start haunting

As the world emerges from the economic crisis and job opportunities are increasing we take a look at the impact and implications of the recession for the employees who endured these difficult economic times. During the recession many employees experienced longer working hours, pay freezes, redundancies and a stop to development activities - yet they were grateful to have a job. This did not mean that they were happy, motivated or planned to stay in their current roles - the absence of alternative opportunities meant that they were temporarily confined. We call this ghost turnover - employees who are going through the motions in their current roles, but are disengaged and looking for a way out.

In this article, Lucy Beaumont, solutions director at Talent Q, highlights her top tips for organisations wanting to retain talent and prevent ghost turnover from haunting their organisation.

1.              Make it personal

Everyone’s talking about big data. Of course there are proven business benefits of sensibly used data and we are seeing an increased use and demand for applying ‘big data’ to the world of talent management. Most obviously employee satisfaction surveys and engagement data are being used widely. However, something must be amiss when the major suppliers of engagement surveys are reporting that overall engagement levels are plummeting.

On reflection, perhaps this isn’t surprising. Employee satisfaction surveys and engagement data are providing a measure on current levels of engagement. However, they aren’t telling us how to engage the individuals. They are grouping these individuals into homogenous groups and providing headlines such as ‘more personal development is needed to increase engagement’. The real fact is that we are all different. Unfortunately big data masks the importance of understanding the individual, which is the key to increasing individual engagement.

2.              Re-assess what engages existing employees

Once we know that a focus on the individual is the key to increasing engagement, we urge organisations to do just that. Research from Hay Group in 2013 forecasted a dramatic increase in employee turnover globally.

During the recession organisations haven’t had the luxury of spending time and resources on engagement. Now is the time to start doing so and it doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming. As soon as organisations understand that the key to increasing engagement is understanding what motivates the individual, it becomes a lot simpler. Understanding that your star sales person isn’t motivated by money alone, but rather, is motivated by having a good work-life balance can make all the difference.

3.              Examine the line manager/employee relationship

Line managers are often provided with some universal tips, such as ‘recognise good work’ and so on. This can lead to reactions such as ‘well I tried recognising good work when they resolved a major customer complaint, but it just seemed to embarrass them. I can’t win!’ This comes back to not understanding that people are individuals.

By providing managers with such insight, encouraging open communication, and providing an understanding of what really motivates individuals, managers can be much more effective in their engagement efforts.By following these steps, organisations can boost engagement as well as retain and recruit the best talent throughout 2014 and beyond. The first step is acknowledging your engagement issues and taking the appropriate action now, before it’s too late.