Companies - why aren't you retaining your employees during a jobs crisis?

The narrative that's become a feature of our daily lives when it comes to the global jobs market is frequently around the need for jobs.

In South Africa, parts of Europe and the United States, jobs are said to be a rare commodity for the majority of the population - an issue that a robust entrepreneurial culture is said would be the solution to this global problem.

A far less explored narrative, however, is on the conditions that the employed work under, that force them to leave this rare commodity - the job.

There's been an increased trend in companies seeing talent leave, with few details behind what causes talent to leave during a jobs crisis.

Read more on Creating Talent Agility and 6 Preventable Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You

Clinical psychologist and talent management specialist, Thandi Mvakali unpacked some notable reasons for this trend on 702's John Robbie Show:

This is quite a big issue. There are several factors that determine whether employees leave or stay at an organisation. We no longer operate in just the contract-driven environment - there are other psycho-social factors that have an impact. We currently have different generations within organisations and that means different value systems. Previously, your 'Baby Boomers' were driven more by long-term employment and salaries. That isn't what you find currently with the later generations - the 'Y's' and the 'X's'; you find they value their freedom and independence and of course, labour is much more market-driven now.

Meanwhile, Caller Charlene, a managing director of a Johannesburg executive search firm, lists these reasons:

Employees leave for two reasons: (1) remuneration and (2) their line manager, the person that they report to. That person is initially driving the culture of the organisation, which is what makes somebody stick. 80% of people that chose an organisation do so due to a cultural fit. The term 'employee engagement' has been coined a lot - if companies are not getting the culture correct, people leave. For example, I had an executive who when it came to an award ceremony and everyone was acknowledging the top performers, the line manager said 'yes she has the most amazing numbers' and they gave her this massive hamper of chocolates and Toblerone's and the woman was a diabetic. Immediately what that says is, yes, the intention is correct, but they're not caring about the individual. It's an example of the care in an organisation. I think each company does have top performers, middle performers and low performers and the line manager should take the time to know people individually on a personal level.

Caller Neo, has been running a personnel services business in Rivonia for 7 years:

Companies yes, understand employee engagement and they've got all these workshops - however, the implementation is something altogether different. The mindset of corporates today - they need to try and understand employees over and above taking them to be assets for the business just like your PC's and tools. Maybe it's easier for smaller businesses to manage, but if you understand the person outside of the business - what makes them tick, what are their personal ambitions, in conjunction with the business? I've been able to keep employees for over 5 years - I'm a small business and I don't even compete on a salary level with some of my competitors - but because I understand that everything we are trying to do within the business, also compliments what they are trying to do in their personal lives, it's been so rewarding and there's a remuneration benefit from it as well.

Caller Bruno cites a personality clash:

I'm one of those employees who was top-rated in my performance but suddenly had a clash with my manager and instead of dealing with the personality clash, they decided that they were going to use my quality of work as a way to get rid of me. They put me on all sorts of assessments and they proved contrary, that my work was fine and I was meant to move to a higher position and despite all of that, they still chose to get rid of me - a young, qualified CA, I couldn't believe it - and they lost an asset. I even got an email straight from that assessor who sent it to the CEO, saying 'he's a good asset, don't lose him' - despite all of that, they were just happy to get rid of me because they'd rather put their head in the sand and dealing with the other issues within the team and by thinking that throwing money at the problem, it would solve the problem.

Listen to the full conversation below:

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