Do we invest in keeping talent, or prepare for them to leave?

Posted on the 27/9/17 by Drew Corby
Business, Latest News, Purposeful Blog, Smart Company

It’s a hard question, something that will likely raise the eyebrows of of many HR professionals, and sits out there with the ‘positive attrition’ discussion as against the grain of making a great company.

However, with the average working life in an organisation falling faster than newspaper readership, it’s a question I think we should start asking.

There are two ways to look at this problem:

  1. Are people leaving because we are not creating the right work environment?
  2. Are people going to leave no matter what we do?

If we follow best practice, we are told that Option 1 is the only option, and if people are leaving there is something broken about our organisation.

New financial year and 4 weeks after a company wide engagement survey is when this is conversation is at fever pitch.

As leaders, we twist ourselves inside out trying to work out how to ‘make’ our people enjoy their work and stay in the organisation.

Option 2 is something that may not be a formal strategy, but many organisations are reducing their training budgets as they see less return on attrition due to this kind of investment.

Instead, they prefer to offer more on the job, or experienced based learning opportunities to bridge the gap of skill and will.

So what’s the right answer?

I think we need to look past the problem and more at the question, rather than ‘how can we create a place where people want to work, and stay long-term?’ should it be – ‘What do people look for when choosing an employer for the long-term?’

Answering this question will enable you to understand whether to invest in long-term workforces, or change your service strategy to suit a workforce that will move on irrespective of what you do.

We’ll be investigating this topic in more detail at our upcoming workshop, make sure you check it out!


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