UK: Managing Talent In A Turbulent Economy - Keeping Your Team Intact: Part Four

Last Updated: 14 October 2009
Article by Deloitte LLP

Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017
This article is part of a series: Click Managing Talent In A Turbulent Economy: Part Three for the previous article.

To read Managing Talent In A Turbulent Economy Part Three please click here

Key findings

A "resume tsunami" may threaten unprepared companies as key employees who held on to their jobs in tough times seek out better opportunities when economic fears recede. In anticipation, many executives and talent managers have been shifting their priorities toward keeping their teams intact. But the priorities of employers do not always match the needs of employees, which could leave companies blindsided when the talent market heats up again.

Keeping Your Team Intact: A Special Report on Talent Retention—part of an ongoing longitudinal survey by Deloitte—compares the results of an August 2009 survey of employees at large enterprises worldwide with a May 2009 survey of international corporate leaders. The May survey revealed that many top executives and talent managers are already charging ahead with new workforce plans, identifying potential retention barriers and adopting new strategies to keep their core workforces together. But do executives really understand what it will take to retain key employees? Are companies implementing the tactics they need to keep key employees on board and committed? And are corporate leaders ready for the effects of a potential resume tsunami that could hit when the economy turns?

This special report reveals a number of critical disparities between what employees reported they want and what surveyed executives think employees want. These differences suggest that many companies should reevaluate the turnover intentions of their key employees and revise the retention tactics they employ to keep top talent on the job. Among the key findings and the related conclusions we have made:

  • 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%) of employees surveyed in August are either looking for a new job or plan to do so after the recession ends.
  • A "tale of two mindsets" exists between employee desires and employer priorities. Corporate leaders and employees who participated in these surveys share little agreement when it comes to understanding which key employees are leaving, why they want to leave, and what it would take to keep them. Executives who believe they know what their employees want may need to rethink their assumptions.
  • While there is broad agreement over the effectiveness of compensation increases and other financial incentives as retention tools, surveyed corporate leaders do not appear to understand the non-financial priorities of their employees, such as the need for strong leadership, job security, effective communication, and career advancement opportunities.
  • Companies that build effective retention strategies tailor their tactics to account for generational differences. However, many corporate leaders may be misreading the priorities among different generations, leading employers to offer the wrong incentives to the wrong employees.

Comparing survey participants

Unlike the other surveys in the Managing Talent in a Turbulent Economy series that asked corporate leaders about their companies' talent strategies, this study is based on input directly from the talent themselves. Respondents to the August survey were predominantly salaried employees (40%), managers (28%), hourly employees (6%), and part-time employees (4%). The May survey, by comparison, focused on business leaders and Human Resource/ Talent executives. Throughout this Special Report, respondents to the August survey are referred to as "surveyed employees" and respondents to the May survey are referred to as "surveyed corporate leaders."

Will companies be able to keep their teams intact?

Many employers are preparing for a post-recession resume tsunami, when valued workers who may have stayed put in down times start flooding the market with CVs as the economy improves. To reduce the risk of disruption that can come from high turnover, companies are devising and implementing retention strategies to hold on to the key talent they will need to prosper when the eventual recovery comes. But do they really know what will succeed with their employees?

To determine whether companies' retention strategies and tactics match the priorities of their workforces, Deloitte and Forbes Insights conducted a global survey of 368 employees at large companies (annual revenues over $500 million) in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and Asia Pacific (APAC). In order to uncover the retention barriers and most effective retention strategies for each generation, responses to this August survey were sought from employees in four key age segments: Generation Y (under 30); Generation X (30-44); Baby Boomers (45-64); and Veterans (65 and older).

Almost half of all surveyed employees may join potential resume tsunami

Perhaps the most striking finding in the August survey is that nearly half (49%) of all surveyed employees are considering leaving their jobs and just 45% expect to stay with their current employers (Figure 1). In fact, 30% are already actively seeking new employers—a figure that could rise as more employees venture into the job market once the recession ends.

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This article is part of a series: Click Managing Talent In A Turbulent Economy: Part Three for the previous article.
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