Employees Ready to Leave if Companies Don’t Meet Their Top 5 Needs

Perceptyx, the leading employee listening and people analytics platform, asked employees what they wanted from their employers at a time when those who may have hunkered down during a COVID-marred 2020 are now looking for greener pastures in 2021. Companies that perform well on an employee’s top five company attributes — called employee value propositions (EVPs) — are well positioned to keep their top talent. But the employers who don’t meet those needs could see half of their most talented people head for the exit.

Among the 29 attributes covered in the study, the five that employees rated as both important and favorable (i.e., their companies were doing well) were:

  • Company stability
  • Manager quality
  • Team quality
  • Social responsibility
  • Remote-friendly

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Perceptyx identified a unique Top 5 attribute list for each employee, then asked those employees whether their companies were meeting their needs. Perceptyx found a stark contrast in predicted retention between employees who rated their companies strong or weak on their top EVPs. Among employees who rated their companies weak, roughly half (53%) intend to stay at their company for at least 12 months. Employees who said their companies performed strongly fell on the opposite end of the spectrum. Nearly all of them (96%) said they would stay for at least 12 months.

“The results are clear — if you know what your employees value and take visible and decisive action to improve on those areas, you are likely to attract, engage, and retain top talent,” said Brett Wells, Ph.D., Director of People Analytics at Perceptyx. “There are some benefits employees say are important, but employers may not be able to greatly improve them instantly — for example, health benefits, compensation, and vacation. But there are other workplace qualities like a manager relationship or development opportunities that companies can take immediate action to improve, and those may be even more important to retaining talent. When employers hit the bullseye on their employees’ EVP lists, they will outperform other companies that are not listening and not taking action.”

Perceptyx surveyed more than 1,000 employees during June 2021 about their EVP list, which is informed by the Perceptyx Benchmark Database, a collection of several hundred common survey items for external HR benchmarking. The database collects data from Perceptyx clients over a rolling three-year period and includes data from hundreds of organizations with more than 15 million respondents.

The findings linking EVP responsiveness as a predictor of future churn come at a time when companies are experiencing the first tremors of “The Great Resignation,” in which some experts are predicting the highest quit rate in 20 years. Three in five survey respondents reported changing jobs, careers, or managers in 2020, and a quarter said they intended to leave their current employers in 2021.

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Many workers ready to quit to keep their remote workplace

The numbers look even more grim when remote workers are asked how they would feel about being required to return to their physical workplace. Half said they would begin looking for another job. But this is not an unshakeable position. Seven out of 10 said they would reconsider leaving if they were offered a promotion along with the return to work order. Five out of 10 said they would even accept a 3%-5% pay cut to remain working remotely.

“Employers are in a high turnover period right now,” said Wells. “To get in front of that trend and avoid losing too much talent, especially from their remote workers, companies would do well to find their employees’ dominant EVP profiles through a listening program. The data tells us that how a company addresses these EVPs could be the deciding factor in how much talent they retain this year.”

Perceptyx recommends putting relationships at the center of employee onboarding experiences. Strong early connections between employees and peers as well as their managers will set the right tone for the rest of their tenure.

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