Happy But Leaving

Canadian employers are faced with a new challenge – employees who are “happy but leaving.”  According to a recent study from Mercer Canada, more than one-third of Canadian employees are seriously considering leaving their current company, and senior managers are more than twice as likely as non-management employees to consider leaving. Overall, 56% of employees in Canada who are satisfied or very satisfied with their company are considering leaving at the present time.

To mitigate the risk of losing critical talent, organizations must let go of the traditional belief that happy and engaged employees means retention, and instead adopt new employee value proposition.

Why Employees Leave

When someone leaves, it can shake up the organization and alter the team dynamic, especially if they were in a senior position. The top cited reasons why employees choose to leave their current job include:

  • Noted time and time again, compensation remains the most important component in the employee value proposition.
  • Benefits are an important part of the employment equation with 82% of Canadian employees claiming health benefits are just as important as receiving a salary.
  • Lack of career advancement opportunities and/or training and mentorship. 75% of North American employees would stay longer with their current company if they had a career path.
  • Poor work-life balance.
  • The job wasn’t what they expected.
  • Issues with their boss, management or colleagues.
  • Lack of appreciation for their effort

How To Retain Critical Talent

Organizations face significant risks if they don’t address the “happy but leaving” trend. The loss of key talent has an impact on morale, productivity and can result in the loss of a competitive advantage. But given the current economic climate and employee mind-set, how do you retain your best employees?

Clearly, employers can no longer offer a one-size-fits-all compensation package and expect to meet all of the needs of their employees, nor can they rely on gauging an employee’s intention by how engaged or satisfied they are at work. But there are steps they can take to mitigate their risk:

It starts by addressing the reasons why employees leave YOUR organization. Every company is different, and it’s imperative that you understand the factors influencing your ability to retain top employees.

  • Measure your total compensation packages against industry benchmarks. Are your reward programs competitive, flexible and do they align with current market trends?
  • Commit to actively managing and evolving your employee value proposition as your workforce transitions from baby boomers retiring and younger generations taking on a dominant share of the workforce.
  • Provide a clear and transparent career path or opportunities for advancement.
  • Evaluate your performance management strategy and consider moving away from the annual review to a more frequent cycle. The workforce is becoming more transitional, some employees require more frequent feedback and therefore the twelve-month review is no longer relevant.
  • Offer work-from-home arrangements and flexibility as a way to support work-life balance.