Whenever we experience change in our lives, it can cause us
to take stock of our life choices. Whether you’ve had some changes in family
circumstances, been through a reorganisation at work or moved to a new house,
it can result in you reassessing your employment situation.

As an HR professional, you know that it’s inevitable that
some employees will consider moving on to pastures new. Sometimes you need to
accept this as part of the employee life cycle. But in other situations, you can
be more proactive. You can recognise that employees will consider other
opportunities and take steps to limit the ones within our control – and avoid the
pains associated with replacing them.

My preference is certainly to be more proactive where
possible, and research released by Qualtrics at the end of 2017 helps to
explain why. The study found that almost one fifth of UK employees
are planning a move
in the next two years, whereas these figures stand at just
over one in ten in the US. This suggests that, comparatively, the UK has a
serious problem when it comes to employee retention which needs to be addressed.

Helpfully, the study also outlined some major indicators which
can highlight whether employees may become a flight risk. These included:

Short tenure

Employees that have been in their position for less time are
more likely to move on according to the report. Are your recruitment processes
bringing in people who fit in with the existing company culture? And don’t
forget to look at how you engage with new starters. We’ve carried out research
before which shows that employees are far more likely to remain within a
company if they have a structured
onboarding programme
. By making sure employees have everything they need to
succeed when joining an organisation, you can help build up the loyalty and trust
that will keep attrition rates low.

Low pay or seniority

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that people are happier in
their job when they’re earning more money. It also shouldn’t be a shock that
people will look outside their organisation if they think they can advance
their career faster elsewhere. So, having clear career progression plans in
place for employees is essential if you want staff to stick around.


The Qualtrics study showed that the majority of potential
leavers feel stressed most of the time. It may well fall on managers to support
their staff to overcome these work-related issues, but the HR department can
also help here by highlighting the tell-tale signs that someone is experiencing
problems. These can often be displayed in certain behaviours, such as
persistent lateness or high instances of absence.

Work-life balance

If your organisation is perceived to be an employer who is
supportive of the work-life balance, you’re more likely to have happier workers.
Interestingly, the Qualtrics study showed that employees emailing outside of
contracted hours could provide an indication of flight risk. It found that two-thirds
of potential leavers email at weekends, and 25% all the time. Interestingly, 50% of loyal workers never check emails at the weekend.

A recent study from the University of Surrey found that
employers should do more to ensure employees don’t feel pressured
by technology
to work outside of their contracted hours. This is especially
important in the ‘always on’ society we live in. But the flexibility granted by
the digital world can lead to more productive employees and provide them with greater
job satisfaction.

Taking steps to
reduce flight risk

The key for employers is to have systems in place to help
create a balance – to allow employees to work on their own terms but also to
engage and monitor behaviour. These systems should span across onboarding new
starters, progression planning and employee wellbeing, as well as identifying potential
problems in workers’ personal lives.

But organisations don’t have to stop  there.

With the right kind of HR reporting and data, you can help
your business to predict where the flight risks might be within your organisation and address the issues in advance. This kind of predictive
analytics can help businesses retain key talent and keep things running
smoothly within the organisation.