Robert Half Survey Reveals Retention Is Executives' Main Staffing Concern

As difficult as it has become to locate top performers, keeping them on board is proving to be an even greater worry for employers, a recent Robert Half survey shows. Nearly four in ten (38 percent) chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said retaining valuable employees is their biggest staffing concern for the next twelve months. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said their top focus will be maintaining employee productivity.

CFOs were asked, "Which one of the following is your greatest staffing concern in the next twelve months?" Their responses:
  • Retaining valuable staff members – 38 percent
  • Maintaining staff productivity – 27 percent
  • Recruiting new top performers – 13 percent
  • Improving staff morale and engagement – 13 percent
  • Don't know/no answer – 9 percent
"Though general unemployment levels remain high, professionals with specialized skills have more opportunities available to them, which has led to talent shortages in some areas and made replacing valuable employees even more difficult," said Paul McDonald, Robert Half senior executive director. "Employers will need to pull out all the stops to retain their best and brightest, including ensuring compensation is competitive and top performers know there's a career path available to them with the company."
 
Following are five tips for retaining key employees:
 
1. Maintain an open-door policy. Employees should feel comfortable voicing ideas and concerns. Unhappiness with their managers is one reason many people leave their jobs. Building strong working relationships with your team should be a priority.
 
2. Promote from within. Your staff will grow discouraged if they feel advancement opportunities aren't available. Meet with employees to review their career paths and discuss how they can move up in the organization.
 
3. Provide competitive compensation. While money isn't everything, it's important. Make sure employees' salaries and benefits are at or slightly above the market rates.
 
4. Recognize outstanding work. Whether it's a story in the company newsletter or a spot bonus, actions and achievements that warrant special acknowledgment should be rewarded promptly. The recognition doesn't need to be expensive. Saying "thank you" and praising individuals in front of their peers are powerful motivators.
 
5. Offer professional development opportunities. Training programs help people expand their skills and boost productivity. You'll also gain versatility in your team.
 
McDonald notes companies are often inclined to rely on counteroffers to avoid losing key players. He advises hiring managers to instead focus on improving aspects of the work environment contributing to turnover.
 
"Counteroffers rarely fix the underlying reasons a professional decides to leave the company, such as a lack of challenge or a desire for advancement," McDonald said. "An employee's resignation can be used by the organization as an opportunity to make improvements benefiting its remaining staff."
 
About the survey:
The national study was developed by Robert Half. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 2,100 telephone interviews with CFOs from a random sample of US companies with twenty or more employees in more than twenty of the largest US markets. For the study to be statistically representative and ensure companies from all segments are included, the sample was stratified by number of employees. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportion of employees within each market.
 
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