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Retention not getting enough attention in China, Hays survey

Almost half of employers recognise their current talent pool contains the skills their business needs for the future, yet more than a third do not have a retention strategy in place, according to Hays survey.

Updated: 20 Jan 2016
Almost half of employers recognise their current talent pool contains the skills their business needs for the future, yet more than a third do not have a retention strategy in place, according to Hays survey.
Recruiting experts Hays surveyed more than 900 candidates and clients in order to share their insights and thoughts on the important issue of retention in China.
“China clearly has an issue with high staff turnover as we saw from the results of this survey, but some employers still do not take the matter seriously enough to put a strong retention plan in place,” says Simon Lance, Regional Director of Hays in China.
The Hays survey found that more than a third of candidates, or 35 per cent, left their employer after two to four years, while 14.5 per cent decided to change jobs up to two years into their new role.
Meanwhile, 37.8 per cent of employers do not have a retention plan in place but the majority (88.6 per cent) acknowledge that staff turnover impacts negatively on their business. Meanwhile, 54.9 per cent of employers also admit they do not have a succession plan in place.
The saying goes people join a company and leave a boss. And the Hays survey shows lack of career progression topped the reasons why candidates are prompted to find a new job – 34.9 per cent of respondents indicated this was their main impetus to look elsewhere for work,” says Simon.
The next most important factor in a candidate’s decision to leave a position is the need to seek new challenges (22.3 per cent). This is an indicator perhaps these candidates feel they are in a dead-end job with nowhere to progress, or they felt stale or bored.
Salary was the third most popular response when candidates where asked why they looked to change jobs was, with 13 per cent citing money as their motivation to leave an employer. Other factors that come into play when candidates are weighing up their options whether to stay or go include poor management, lack of training and development, as well as office politics.
Of the 62.2 per cent of employers that said they do have a retention strategy in place, 90.1 per cent say training and development forms a part of their plan. 78.7 per cent also recognise employees for a job well done, while 72.8 per cent give formal performance feedback and appraisals. 67.3 per cent include regular salary reviews in their retention strategy and 65.3 per cent of employers also provided the provision of new challenges.
“These are all good measures but we believe retention should start from not only when a new employee walks in the door, such as a good induction process, but employers should start thinking about retention while attracting candidates, and this comes down to having a strong employee value proposition and employer branding,” says Simon.
“There are also some simple measures that can be put in place when it comes to existing employees and they don’t all have to centre on salary.”
Hays suggests these steps to help candidates with career progression:
Open communication with staff
Honest communication with staff is the first step in creating a successful development pathway. As part of your workforce plan, we recommend sitting down with employees individually to ensure you discuss and agree their career development. Discuss their career goals. Communicate your strategic action plans and their place in those plans. By working together with employees you will boost confidence and morale and foster a feeling of involvement. 
Performance management
Performance management is central to development and it’s no surprise that employers of choice have solid performance management methodology. This can be as simple - but essential - as a robust, regular appraisal system that is user friendly and which managers are committed to.  Formal performance feedback is critical and an excellent opportunity to ensure talent is engaged and on-track.
Career Development
Does everyone in the business know what opportunities they have available to them for development? Not everyone is interested in career development but top talent always is!  It can be difficult for small organisations to offer opportunities but career development is not restricted to promotion.  Can you offer additional responsibility?  Supervising other employees?  Coaching and training others?  Managing projects?  Chairing meetings?
Train existing staff
Many organisations also offer training as part of their development program. This also makes sense as a strategy to help overcome skills shortages, since by up-skilling your existing employees, you build a more talented workforce capable of handling the required workflow. You can advance individual employees’ skills in the direction of existing skills and knowledge gaps. In addition, training improves overall retention levels and staff motivation since career development is a growing concern amongst China’s candidate pool.
Training doesn’t always have to be in the classroom. Coaching has a number of advantages as a method of development. It is actually a more versatile approach than formal training for that reason as it can be directed to many different scenarios; to correct poor performance (it is one-to-one which is usually more effective), improve morale and motivation and encourage employees to find their own answers. It also has the spin-off effect that the "coachee" becomes a coach themselves as they have seen it in action.
Another strategy worth consideration is the use of mentorships. Provided you have appropriate mentors within your organisation, this method of up-skilling your existing staff can be easily tailored to meet your organisation’s own unique needs. 
Mentorships are not only a useful development tool; they can also be used to retain corporate insight and pass this insight on to other employees. This is particularly useful when considering how to share the knowledge of staff with unique expertise or how to retain the knowledge of your mature age employees.
Through mentorships, less experienced employees gain the knowledge of their more experienced colleagues on a one-on-one basis. Given the informal nature of information exchange and the relationship-basis of mentoring, mentorships allow a business to retain such knowledge as lessons that have been previously learnt, right through to implicit awareness such as why reports are written in a particular way or who to contact in the organisation for particular information.
As well as helping to ensure your business retains technical knowledge, mentorships are also a method of assisting in the personal career development of mentees, a very important component of staff retention.
The full survey findings and report can be found at Hays Talent Report.
Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.
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About Hays
Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide.
Hays Specialist Recruitment  (Shanghai) Co., Limited ("Hays China") operates across the public and private sector, dealing in permanent positions. Hays China’s eighteen specialisms span Accountancy & Finance, Banking, Architecture, Construction, Education, Engineering, Executive, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Hays Resource Management, Information Technology, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Oil & Gas, Property and Sales & Marketing.
Hays China operates four local offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou. It is the local representative office for Hays plc, which is a global company with more than 7,800 staff operating from 245 offices across 33 countries.
Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA.

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