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May 2017

HIRING MANAGERS: Money vs Progression – How to keep your best performers

In a world driven by change and a population seemingly obsessed with a fear of standing still, we’re switching jobs more often than ever. Yet despite this there seems to be inconsistent data surrounding the things workers find the most important in their existing job compared to the reasons why they leave to join another business.


Consistently, however, people vote fair pay and benefits as being the most important factor in their existing role but according to Brian Kropp, Head of HR – CEB (a Washington-based best-practice insight and technology company) as part of a research study by Harvard Business School, the biggest reason people had for leaving their current employer was, “how they’re doing compared with other people in their peer group, or with where they thought they would be at a certain point in life.” So, it seems that progression and job satisfaction is really what we’re all about.


In addition to this, the advent of big data has given rise to businesses developing technology to predict how probable it is that you’ll leave your job. Interestingly, when Credit Suisse used the opportunity to contact those employees identified as being at ‘high risk of leaving’ to alert them to other openings inside the company they reduced attrition by 1% and moved 300 employees into new positions. Estimates claim this yielded a saving of between $75 – $100 million in rehiring and training costs demonstrating that there is clearly enormous value in taking a proactive approach to keeping hold of your staff!


So, if you don’t have the same tools as Credit Suisse at your disposal, how do you stop your best performers from leaving for pastures new?


Skill-based Progression

The single biggest reason people leave a job is for advancement. 78% of people claim colleagues being promoted before them as one of the most annoying things in the workplace. We all need to feel like we’re getting on so ensuring that a dedicated and relevant training schedule is directly aligned with a business structure is a common sense way to make sure everybody has a target and feels like they’re working towards a goal.


Set & Confirm Targets

One of the biggest complaints we hear in our line of work is that targets are ambiguous, woolly or, worse, unachievable and not adhered to when they are reached. Making promotion targets an equal combination of behavioural, qualitative and quantitative factors is the most rounded and constructive way to get results.


Review Performance

Regular reviews are imperative to identifying and dealing with any underlying issues and to monitor performance against targets. The company has a greater understanding of the needs and wants of its workers, the worker feels valued and appreciated and doesn’t want to leave. It’s a win-win situation.


Recognise Accomplishment

In keeping with the point above, people want to feel valued so build in a reward scheme and make it known when somebody performs well or achieves a specific target. 82% of workers agreed that a lack of recognition is a pet peeve in the workplace. Rewards don’t have to be ludicrously expensive, it’s actually the gesture itself that counts the most.


Work/Life balance

According to research, the second biggest reason people leave a job is because work impacts too much on personal lives.  Many companies now are using flexible working hours as a way to not only appeal to prospective employees and retain the existing workforce, but to significantly increase productivity. Flexible hours also open up a business to a workforce that may not be able to commit to a standard 9-5. Working families and single parents in particular.



The third biggest reason people leave a job is because they don’t think that their skills and input match their rate of pay. Aligning pay reviews with promotion targets ensures you’re not simply giving something away for nothing.

Be aware that;

  • 52% of people aged 18-29 are unhappy with their salary
  • 38% Of people aged 30 – 44 are unhappy with their salary
  • 34% of people aged 45 – 60 are unhappy with their salary
  • 31% of people aged 60+ are unhappy with their salary

Great Management

Almost everybody will have a mentor or manager that they recognise to have been a strong positive influence over their career so learn to be the best manager you can be. You can’t be everybody’s best friend and not everybody will work well under your style, however, taking steps to address any perceived flaws, taking criticism on the chin and working hard to be better will make people want to work harder for you. Lack of empowerment is said to negatively impact 89% of university educated personnel. Good management breeds trust, trust breeds empowerment, empowerment breeds a happy workforce, and a happy workforce means reduced attrition. Be the best to see the best.


So it seems that to keep a workforce happy you need to make sure they’re targeted and that targets are clear, but when targets are achieved that they’re recognised, that workers don’t feel like people are getting promoted ahead of them and they’re underachieving, but if they are underachieving that it’s identified quickly in a performance review and that the necessary training is implemented and that rates of pay reflect ability but that the ability is constantly being improved based on regular reviews and that each person has a good work life balance but that productivity is maintained despite flexible hours and that you learn to be a great manager by working ultra hard, addressing your flaws and using empowerment and trust to gain the best from your team.
Easy right…??

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