News Review: Engagement and Retention challenges

It has been a while since I posted here. I have been extremely busy with lots of interesting things happening with me, and I am enjoying my unemployment thoroughly. I have met lots of interesting people over last few months, including a large number of working professionals who are trying to make changes to their career to zoom ahead. I will post some of my insights from them in a later post, but today I wanted to comment on various news articles I read in Indian business newspapers within few days of each other (Jul 11-13, 2012).

Engagement and retention are issues that organizations are increasingly grappling with. Half of the employees leaving within 5 years may not sound very scary, but organizations which rely on their stars to save the day and carry the mediocres along can’t afford to lose 50% of those stars even in a period as long as 5 years. The churn of workforce in India is at all levels (35% have less than 2 years tenure and a 3rd executives planning to change office within 2 years) and one-third think they are not allowed to perform to their potential because of organizational issues. Overall, this doesn’t paint a good picture about Indian Industries and their future. As I have maintained all along, one of the key drivers for engagement is the perception about organization’s willingness and efforts to address career development needs for the employees. Indian companies tend to pay only lip service to this (canned training, manager’s trainings) rather than offer customized and targeted career solutions, at least to their star employees.

Here are the news articles I talked about.

Depressed Employee Engagement Stunts Global Business Performance – original hay group press release that triggered many of the news below.

  • Just two-thirds of worldwide employees are engaged
  • Employee engagement levels in India stand marginally higher than the Asia average, at 68 per cent
  • 58 per cent of employees in India set to exit their present organizations before 2017
  • Global firms lose ground to the highest performing organizations, where engagement levels found to be 75 per cent
  • Company loyalty hits five-year low

Employees unwilling to go the extra mile for organisations

“..on an average, only two thirds (66%) of workers felt engaged at their respective workplaces.”

“..more than two fifths (44%) of the global workforce intends to leave their company within five years, and more than one in five employees (21%) intend to leave their current employer in less than two years.”

“Employee engagement levels in India stand marginally higher than the Asian average, at around 68%. But around 58% of Indian employees intend to exit their present organizations within the next five years”

“More than a third of employees reported that they cannot work to their full capacity, with an average of 33 per cent of workers claimed that barriers put in place by the organization are preventing them from excelling at work.”

Salary package drive job decisions of Indian workforce

“Approximately 77% of the Indian workforce is willing to compromise on the job location if offered an attractive salary package”

“..approximately 75% of the Indian workforce stated they have better opportunities with respect to salary, outside their current organisation and is not satisfied with their current compensation.”

“In the battle between job profile and salary package, employees have rated both the attributes somewhat equally”

“..monetary benefits score high on preferences of the workforce; work profile is what holds them to a job”

India Inc struggles with talent retention

“35 per cent of the workforce in India has tenure of less than two years while for the APAC region it was 30 per cent, followed by 15 per cent for the Western region.”

 Indian executives lead in job hopping

“About 60 per cent them in the country are planning to leave their present jobs within the next five years, when the global average is 44 per cent. This is without considering another interesting finding: a third of Indian executive’s plan to change office within two years…”

3 thoughts on “News Review: Engagement and Retention challenges

  1. Good post Mrityunjay. One thought I have is what we call the ‘organization’ is ultimately an ‘individual’, at least in how the decisions are enacted. So, even when a firm at a system-level tries to institute constructive employee-development policies, indifferent individuals who are trusted with actual implementation can easily scuttle such programs. So, there can be a cascading effect across levels of the hierarchy (depressed managers adopting incrementally more cavalier attitude towards subordinates’ development etc, which de-engages the subordinates also etc). So, one question is how we can foster individual initiative in this regard—for instance, are managers rewarded on how well their subordinates “develop”? Is that a usual part of, say, a sales manager’s assessment?

    1. You are right. If the individuals don’t do their bit towards engaging and retaining employees who report to them, even great policies can be rendered useless. Developing employees in their team is indeed a critical measurement point for a manager. However development of an employee is such a hard thing to measure that most companies end up measuring results instead, which is not such a good indicator of employee development. I remember in my previous company, very smart employees were so busy delivering results (very complex releases with very short deadlines) that they didn’t have time to develop themselves (a large number probably didn’t even understand why what they write in code is so critical to the company’s business). Since managers get rewarded on visible and tangible results (releases and project deliveries), they tend to prioritize these – very typical human response to incentives, with grave consequence to companies.

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