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Revealed: The Steps Employers Should Focus On To Retain C-Suite Level Talent

The UK’s most senior employees could be set to move on.  New research, conducted by executive search firm Novo, reveals that while 14% of employees are looking to switch jobs, this figure skyrockets five-fold for employees working at executive level, with 70% currently seeking a new executive role.

Why are top people looking to move?

Brexit could be playing a part in these high figures, with 84% of execs admitting they have considered taking a role in another country, although 62% on senior executives admitted they believed it is currently harder to get a new role anywat.

When asked whether the current economic and political turmoil in the UK has made executives feel less safe in their role, 71% replied yes, perhaps fearing the possibility of downsizing and streamlining if the economy takes a hit.

Executive talent is particularly important for businesses to retain, because senior employees have a direct impact on the direction of the business, so these high figures clearly place the focus on retention, although the steps that will retain senior staff members are likely to also improve retention at lower levels.

What do businesses need to do to keep them?

As part of Novo’s research, 100 executives were asked to rank certain factors in order of importance when moving roles, from 1 being the most important to 6 being the least.

Increased salary was found to be the biggest draw, however this is followed very closely by flexibility and company culture. Other factors, including career progression, perks, and health cover level, trailed behind these top 3 aspects.

Think: Salary, Flexibility and Company Culture

It’s not surprising that people are motivated by salary, but these days flexibility and company culture score highly too.

While it’s clear how to improve on salary and flexibility, company culture is often a bigger factor than employers realise, as happy staff rarely look to jump ship at the first sign of trouble, and the right culture can improve motivation across the business.

How employers can improve their workplace culture

Improving employee engagement is absolutely vital to make this work – and these five steps offer business leaders a straightforward way to achieve this:

1) – Allowing employees a degree of freedom and flexibility – this means NO micro-management, executives need to be trusted to do their role, and supported rather than controlled.

2) – Make Health and Wellbeing a priority – wellbeing at work is increasingly important, so look at what your Employee Assistance Programmes cover and make sure you are getting the best from what you pay for.  Often an EAP will include health and wellbeing benefits hidden away in the back of the documentation such as free 24 hour mental health support, nurse advice helplines, cancer support etc. which can be invaluable, but only if communicated to staff.  Think about improving employee health with things like gym membership, mental wellness support, etc.

3) – Collaborative working – workplaces that embrace collaboration have been shown to be more successful and engaged than those that don’t.

4) – Transparency – honesty and openness build trust which is paramount for success. Ensure a free flow of information from the top director level, through to the C-suite, to the workforce and vice versa, and make sure employees feel included rather than dictated to.

5) – Empowerment – empowering employees is a direct result of trusting them to do their job properly. Encourage accountability and avoid creating a blame culture.   It goes without saying that businesses should ensure that diversity, equality and support extend from the top down, so every employee feels important.

Most of these steps are free to implement and will help create an inclusive culture – happy employees, even senior ones, are far more likely to remain.