Disparities found in a Deloitte research report suggest many companies should assess the turnover intentions of their key employees and revise the retention tactics they employ to keep top talent. The report, Keeping Your Team Intact: A Special Report on Talent Retention, reveals a number of critical differences between what employees reported they want and what surveyed executives think employees want. This special report compares the results of an August 2009 survey of employees at large enterprises around the world with a May 2009 survey of international corporate leaders.
The May 2009 survey revealed that top executives and talent managers surveyed are already charging ahead with new workforce plans, identifying potential retention barriers and adopting new strategies to keep their core workforces together. The latest report's key findings, however, suggest a "resume tsunami" may threaten unprepared companies as key employees who held on to their jobs in tough times may be seeking out better opportunities when economic fears recede.
Based on a global survey of 368 employees at large organizations (annual revenues of more than $500 million), key findings and the related conclusions from the latest research include:
Companies may struggle to keep their teams intact as they risk losing many of their most valued employees when the global economy recovers. Nearly half (49 percent) of employees surveyed in August are either looking for a new job or plan to do so after the recession ends, and 30 percent are already actively seeking new employers. Generation X is least likely to stay with their current employer (37 percent) as compared to Generation Y (44 percent) and Baby Boomers (50 percent).
A "tale of two mindsets" exists between employee desires and employer priorities. While the August survey reports Generation X participants have the highest turnover intentions, just 9 percent of corporate leaders surveyed in May said they expected voluntary turnover intentions to increase significantly among Generation X in the 12 months following the recession. And, while corporate leaders surveyed in May ranked "excessive workload" second among barriers to retaining employees, surveyed employees in August ranked it tenth overall; in fact, no demographic group ranked it higher than ninth. "Lack of job security" far outranked other factors that might cause surveyed employees to shift jobs. While surveyed employees ranked "lack of trust in leadership" sixth at 20 percent when asked what factors could induce them to leave their jobs after the recession ends, surveyed corporate leaders rated "lack of trust in leadership" 10th at only 12 percent.
Surveyed corporate leaders do not appear to understand the non-financial priorities of their employees. When asked to rank their top three retention tactics, in every instance, surveyed employees of all four generational groups chose different non-financial incentives than surveyed corporate leaders.
Corporate leaders may be misreading the priorities among different generations, leading organizations to offer the wrong incentives to employees. Surveyed corporate leaders and surveyed Generation X employees ranked "additional bonuses or financial incentives" as the most effective retention tactic. However, by a range of 48 percent to 37 percent, surveyed Generation X employees gave this tactic higher priority than surveyed corporate leaders. Forty percent of surveyed Baby Boomers chose "additional bonuses or financial incentives," whereas only 30 percent of surveyed corporate leaders made the same choice.
"Our research confirms to us the tale of two mindsets when it comes to employer perceptions and employee turnover intentions in today's economy," said Jeff Schwartz, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP. "We believe leaders can minimize the disparity by first understanding what their employees really want and then realigning their retention strategies and tactics to match employee priorities. Those that succeed will be more likely to retain their high-potential employees and hit the ground running as the economy recovers."
Source: Deloitte Consulting, LLP; www.deloitte.com.