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Finding out what makes employees tick may help companies secure them for longer

File Image: IOL

File Image: IOL

Published Dec 21, 2021


FOR companies struggling to retain talented employees amidst scarce skills, HR departments and organisational leaders need to understand what makes their employees tick to keep them engaged in their jobs, according to Sage Africa and Middle East.

The multinational enterprise software company’s vice President for Medium Business, Gerhard Hartman said that given that Stats SA recently announced record-breaking unemployment numbers, the Great Resignation trend sweeping the developed world may appear to be of limited relevance to South Africa.

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“However, the reality is that local companies are struggling to hold onto their best talent in fields where scarce skills such as finance, technology, management and engineering are sought after,” Hartman said.

The company said that the PwC’s Workforce Preference Study offered some pointers about the post-pandemic landscape, and ‘flexible work schedules and work time’, topped the list for the South African respondents to the PwC survey; while ‘work that was interesting and challenging’ was third.

It said that while ‘base pay’ came in second in terms of importance, market-related remuneration was an expectation.

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“What will persuade someone to stay when offered another job with similar career development opportunities at the same pay level? The magic ingredients relate to human connection in the business, workplace flexibility, and the employee’s alignment with the company’s purpose and culture,” he said.

Seven practical tips to help companies meet these needs and improve employee engagement and retention included: offering genuinely flexible working arrangements, fostering true human connections, creating a sense of purpose and belonging, focus on mental and physical wellness, listening to employees, offering appreciation, personalising the proposition and using the technology to streamline the experience.

Employee retention was said to be a competitive advantage as the costs of high employee turnover to a business can be significant.

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Gallup indicated that the cost of replacing an employee could range from half to twice their annual salary. In addition to the costs of recruiting and training new employees, high turnover could harm workforce morale and the customer experience.

Some employees may wonder if they should also be looking for new jobs or become resentful if asked to fill in for colleagues who have left.

Those that cannot secure other jobs in the current economic climate might stay, but become increasingly disengaged and dissatisfied in their careers. This, in turn, impacted the quality of their work, productivity, and engagements with customers.

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On the flip side, an engaged and satisfied workforce was a serious competitive advantage. Research showed that committed and engaged employees at work perform 20 percent better and were 87 percent less likely to leave their current company. Achieving this level of engagement was not easy, but the rewards would more than justify the effort, Hartman said


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