Staff attrition is costly – at senior leader level, for each employee lost, the cost to the company could be 50%–250% of his/her annual salary. Continued border closures, talent scarcity and an active labour market are intensifying employer efforts to retain their senior leaders. So why are your people thinking about quitting and when will it happen?

Why they are thinking about resigning? 

People leave jobs for any number of reasons although the consensus is that a resignation is more likely to happen when an employee does not like their boss, does not see an opportunity for growth, or are offered something better (role, opportunity, remuneration, benefits etc). However, times are changing.

The demands of leading a business through a global pandemic and the resultant mind shift where we are rethinking our lives (a.k.a ‘The Great Resignation’) have resulted in an increase in resignation rates globally. The ongoing disruption to both work and life, coupled with stresses from increased workload are causing us to pause and re-evaluate all aspects of our lives, so it is no surprise that career is on the top of that list.

  • We are questioning what truly makes us happy or at least what motivates us to get out of bed in the morning. A career/role change or career holiday may just be part of that equation.
  • The career ladder is dead, long live the career reset. Advancing through roles/titles as we develop and progress through our career is a thing of the past.
  • Career paths are becoming more linear and senior leaders are reimaging what their professional lives could look like long-term.
    We are searching for purpose and changing the definition of what success looks like. It is likely that your senior leaders have ticked off a lot of their professional goals. These executives are now re-evaluating what they have accomplished and asking themselves what they will be remembered for.

What to do?
A lot of what we have written about above is internally driven so there is really very little as an employer that you can do to “persuade” an employee otherwise. So, here’s a crazy idea, why not help them in their journey? Offering your senior leaders or high potentials professional coaching will help them with their personal and professional self-discovery. It also shows that you genuinely care for your people.

When will it happen?

No surprises but an increase in job seekers is typically linked to the calendar – with the start of year being a top contender. Likewise, work anniversaries (start date) or personal milestones (birthdays) are a common time for reflection. Interestingly, seeing the success of your peers whether that is a new role or career change can also be a motivator as we naturally measure our success relative to others. Timing can also be strategic, for example on completion of performance reviews or delivery of annual bonuses.

What to do?
We are not recommending you monitor the amount of time an employee spends on LinkedIn or other ‘risk of leaving’ HR technology/tools currently available. In fact, the big takeaway is that most of the reasons given above are personal to the individual. Which reinforces how important it is to really know your people and what motivates them. We have written in previous blogs about stay interviews and the value to be gained by understanding what might make an employee consider another role.

There is no denying that talent is a company’s greatest asset. In today’s environment, staff attrition is a hot topic. Loosing senior leaders is tough. What to do? Make sure your talent acquisition and retention strategy are in order – what are you doing to find the best people and keep them. And think more holistically about your organisational design – what is the optimum structure to ensure your people resource (whatever that looks like) can deliver on strategy.

Need help?

Need help building the human potential in your organisation? We can help with that.

The Decipher Team

To stay on top of current recruitment trends and technologies follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.

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