Accepting the Challenge of Retaining Employees
13th January 2020
January is a month where people tend to think about changing their lives and circumstances. The New Year’s resolution list still looks doable and expectations for the coming year are at their highest. It’s no coincidence, then, that the start of the year is when employees are most likely to be looking at opportunities elsewhere.
According to a survey from job-finder website Glassdoor, almost 1 in 5 people reported January as their most likely time to jump ship. It makes sense, given the opportunity to unplug and reflect that a holiday offers and the general rush of enthusiasm a fresh start in a new year brings. It’s a mistake to think that it’s all about optimism and looking to the future, though. When you’re considering a major step like changing jobs, what you’re moving away from is often more important than where you’re going.
Predictably enough, the most common reason people gave for wanting to quit their current positions was simply the money on offer. In fact, 35% of them listed it as their main motivation for ditching their old employers. By comparison, only about 1 in 10 said their primary problem with their work was poor relationships with colleagues.
Here’s where it gets interesting, though. While wanting more money is clearly a big factor for a lot of people, it’s got some competition in the list of reasons people gave for quitting. 22%, for instance, complained that their current job was simply too boring. Another 23% gave the virtually identical response that they needed a “new challenge” to keep them engaged and interested. Those 2 factors alone outweigh all other complaints and reasons for leaving a job combined.
So, what can employers do to keep their staff’s interest up? It’s a critical question, given that doing nothing potentially means losing almost 20% of them at the start of any given year. Obviously, more money would go a fair distance toward keeping employees happy – but research tells us that this is only a half-measure solution. In fact, according to an analysis based on 120 years of studies, the link between salary and job satisfaction is actually pretty flimsy. As it turns out, it’s looking like money really can’t buy you happiness. Even if it could, it’s not always going to be practical for a business to pump up wages to keep staff engaged in their work. Instead, the name of the game is keeping things challenging – which brings us to the MOD.
Armed Forces work, in whatever form it takes, ranks among the most challenging fields on Earth. If employees are bored at work and in need of more variety and stimulation, then there are options available to accommodate them. In turn, the benefits on offer include a genuine boost to staff retention, job satisfaction and general productivity.
There are actually a number of ways employers can work with the Armed Forces to offer their staff the challenges they’re crying out for. Encouraging employees to sign up as Adult Volunteers for Cadet Forces, for instance, gives them the opportunity to learn new and transferrable skills, build their confidence, make valuable personal and professional contacts and get involved with something that really matters. Meanwhile, supporting employees in becoming Army Reservists could mean as small a commitment as 19 days per year. In return, Reservists get the opportunity to travel, earn qualifications, increase their personal fitness and receive financial incentives and tax-free bonuses.
Building ties with the MOD offers a real, practical way to tackle the obstacle of job dissatisfaction. By addressing head-on some of the biggest reasons why businesses lose staff year on year, it lowers recruitment costs, builds teamworking and promotes the development essential skills. Money can’t solve the problem. At best, it can only kick it a year or so down the road. The real way to keep staff is to make sure they’re continually broadening their horizons and experience. Reaching out to the Armed Forces community is a strong, effective move in addressing employees’ need for personal and professional growth.
If you’re leaving the Forces to start a new life in civvy street, look for employers signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant who will be able to support you and welcome your skills and experience to their teams.