35% of your staff could leave

35% of your staff could leave

So how to engage your employees

I was reading an article just the other day which suggested that as many as 20-25% of your current employees are actively looking for new positions outside your business

However, there are around 12 – 15% of individuals who are hitting or exceeding their targets, happily progressing and are being well rewarded.

These individuals may not have the inclination, or perhaps the time, to scroll through industry magazines or job boards as they are ‘not actively looking’. These however are arguably the ‘high achievers’ within their teams who may be actively sort out and targeted by your competition or other industries.

You could lose up to 35%

35% seems like a very high potential attrition rate, admittedly they won’t all leave at once, but just the fact that they are actively looking or being targeted means that something is wrong and we are not managing to engage them in their current roles.

If you couple this with Simon Sineck comments about Millennials, who are allegedly difficult to manage, feel entitled and want to make an impact in their careers and the environment as well as being very impatient because they have always been told they are important [Note 1]  and couple this with Dr. Travis Bradberry and his comments around mistakes bosses make that cause good people to quit [Note2] or the 2016 survey from PAYCHEX survey which asked people who left what kinds of benefits might have influenced them stay. [Note 3]

Why employees leave

The answers remain very similar

  • Relationship with their Boss
  • Bored and unchallenged by the work itself
  • Opportunities to use skills and abilities
  • Management’s recognition of employee job performance
  • Overworked
  • Employers didn’t care about employees
  • Boss didn’t honour commitments
  • Wrong people were promoted or managed out

There are however some simple and inexpensive remedies to this situation [Note 4]

The first entails Creating a System that Acknowledges Small Wins, the second revolves around best practice insight

Creating a System that Acknowledges Small Wins

The findings of the survey by PAYCHEX suggest that

  1. Employees still value culture, but compensation is increasing in importance

So, make sure that the employee feels informed and consulted where possible and don’t be afraid to talk about the benefits of working here.





  1. Workers’ priorities are often similar across generations, but strategies should not reflect a one-size-fits-all approach.

Millennials placed more importance on job-specifi­c training, career development opportunities and career advancement opportunities contributing to their job satisfaction compared with older generations. Therefore, understand the motivation of your individuals and consider developing a learning strategy around a sequence of courses. As each course is completed, recognize the employee’s achievement [could be as simple as a badge or other small award]. By recognising small wins, you make it easier for employees to stay engaged and motivated as they feel recognised, learn new skills and develop new areas of expertise.

Consider for how to help employees expand their skill sets. Examples could include:

  • Team or company-wide classes taught in-house
  • Bringing in outside speakers
  • Using coaching or ‘skill-shots’ [Note5] for personalised training plans
  • Supporting seminar or event attendance
  • Providing a budget for courses, subscriptions, and reading materials
  • Using ongoing learning support groups to let individuals explore topics of interest
  • Developing internal mentorship programs
  1. Employees want to feel valued and included.

Nearly half of employees reported that management’s recognition of their job performance was very important to their job satisfaction. So, regular feedback and a way of recognising those who go the extra mile is essential for your team.

It is important to remember that employees have varied interests and needs at different points in their career. Some areas to consider include:


Deepening your team’s understanding of your industry and your customers’ needs

Investing in subject matter skills, these could be external accredited or day release courses. Some companies allocate a budget to attend conferences each year, or provide financial support to employees who are pursuing classes or certificates in their field. For motivated self-learners, providing access to these benefits can be an easy way to help expand your company’s capabilities and help keep employees happy.

Exploring high-level processes and methodologies, such as improving general finance skills, cultivating soft skills, from conflict resolution to developing better skill sets for managing employees

Providing opportunities to explore whole new areas within the business and how developing complementary skills can improve collaboration and other approaches

Best practice insight:

This is a relatively new area of research carried out by CEB, a Washington-based HR Best practice company. The research generated some outstanding insights about what impels employees to quit.

We have known for a long time that in general, people leave their jobs because they don’t like their boss, don’t see opportunities for promotion or growth, or are offered a better job or higher pay.

But the research by CEB, looks not just at why workers quit but also at when.

The research showed that what appears to really spur employees on to leave can be as simple as a straight comparison with their peer group. – their sense of how they’re doing compared with other people in their peer group, or where they thought they would be at a certain point in life!

It turns out that if you focus on circumstances that allow people to make these comparisons, you can predict some of the ‘moments of truth’.

Nothing to do with work

Some of the discoveries are unsurprising. But other data reveals factors that have nothing directly to do with work.

  • Work anniversaries which is a natural time for reflection, and job-hunting activity jumps by 9%,
  • Birthdays—particularly midlife milestones such as turning 40 or 50 (Job hunting jumps 12% just before birthdays.)
  • Large social gatherings of peers, such as class reunions, can also be catalysts natural occasions for people to measure their progress relative to others’. (Job hunting jumps 16% after reunions.)

The big realisation is that it’s not just what happens at work—it’s also what happens in someone’s personal life that determines when he or she decides to look for a new job may be the clue to keeping employees engaged. It is when one or more of the components work together that a larger than average ‘likely to leave’ score is generated.

Some companies are beginning to use this type of intelligence to zero in on departments or locations with high “likely to leave” scores so that they can work on team building and overall engagement.

Helps find the issues

Predictive intelligence can help reduce employee attrition—and spot things that may be driving it. Be that:

  • A bad manager
  • A lack of a specific Training component
  • A lack of a general training and development plan
  • Over working some teams or individuals
  • Undervaluing certain positions or achievements

It gives you a nice opportunity to think about what the trigger might be or have been—and to ask questions before you lose talent.”

Learning how to keep your employees happy requires a multi-layered approach that focuses on different ways to engage, challenge, and support them as they grow. From embracing small wins to investing in their long-term education, these steps will help keep your employees growing and improve engagement along the way.

What are you going to do?

So, the next obvious question is what are you going to do about it?

You could bury your head in the sand and accept the loss of talent and the drop in the results you could have achieved.

Or look at ways to understand your team, their engagement levels, invest in their potential and achieve outstanding results with a full complement of engaged and ‘on task’ team members

Let me know what you think and give me a call to discuss how to plan this for your business.

and remember…




  1. Simon Sinek – Millennials [born 1984 + so now up to about 33 years old]
  1. Travis Bradberry [Link]
  1. PAYCHEX survey asked 2,000 employees across a variety of industries, age groups, and regions to explain why they left their previous jobs and what kinds of benefits might have influenced them stay.
  1. How to keep employees engaged [Link]
  1. Skill shots – half day facilitated workshops – in normal place of work or during a scheduled team meeting – around specific identified subject matter. Skill Shots raises confidence, competence and skill sets with minimum disruption