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Retention news: 24% are looking for a new job

23 Jun 2016 - Blog

Retention: 1/4 of employees looking for a new job

Restlessness is at a two-and-a-half year high; as of May 2016, almost a quarter of UK employees are looking for a new job.[1]

What’s worse is Deloitte’s figure of 44% of millennials looking to leave their job within the next two years, while as many as 66% expect to be gone within five.

Why do people want out?

According to the CIPD, lack of progression and development opportunities on the job are key factors driving job dissatisfaction. People are looking for something more satisfying to do. (Although not here – as this case study shows.)

Intention to stay at Crest Nicholson is 17 points above average

Intention to stay at Crest Nicholson is 17 points above average


At the same time, the gig economy might be small, but it’s a trend that’s gathering pace, with small scale entrepreneurship on, say Etsy, Airbnb, Uber and Toptal, Liquidtalent and Authenticjobs, that ‘gigers’ can fit around their lives. If this trend continues how are big business going to retain their best employees?

What’s so attractive about self-employment?

Self-employed workers in the UK rose by 209,000 to 4.7 million in the three months to April 2016[2].   Lorence Nye, from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) said,

“These people are happiest being their own boss and fitting work around their life – and these are the factors that have driven the massive growth in self-employment over the last year.”


So how should organisations win back employees?

The benefits to self-employment are not exclusive, organisations too can nurture a culture that behaves in a similar way:

Decision making control

Being your own boss means you decide what, when, how. Amongst our clients with the highest intention to stay employee survey scores, trust and autonomous decision making is a key principle.

‘’I was allowed and trusted to manage the project. It was a learning curve…. now I feel more confident … and feel like I have added value to the team and organisation. I also feel like I was also able to stretch my skill set.’’ (CRUK)


Lack of politics

When you work for yourself, you are free from backstabbing, bullying and point scoring. Organisations with a culture of genuine collaborative, respectful meritocracy (that is lead from the top) won’t find their people leave because of politics.

“You always feel comfortable asking your neighbour for help. We all stand or fall together.”(Henderson Global Investors)


Flexible working

Most organisations say they have a flexible working policy, but the norms just aren’t there. If senior managers lead by example, provide the tools staff need to working flexibly, and importantly, demonstrate trust by not asking questions, employees will respond positively.

“The flexibility in working hours/working from home for those who need it or are of disability is absolutely great.  Overall it really is one of the best companies I have worked for and I am really proud to work here.” (PPL)


Additionally, there are advantages the organisation can emphasise, besides the steady salary, where self-employment can’t compete:


If you are extrinsically motivated, it’s tough being self-employed, with no, or few colleagues to notice your efforts and achievements. A culture of recognition, thanks and appreciation goes a long way.


Large organisations have the purchasing power to offer benefits that individuals can’t get themselves; vouchers, discounts and offers, or pensions and insurances.

Make sure staff know what is available, offer choice relevant to your staff demographics and keep them up to date. Fitbits and Nutribullets on every floor might be delightful for some, whilst policies & benefits around care for elderly relatives show thoughtfulness for others.

“The additional holiday is great!! It definitely boosts morale…the vouchers for the music services are really good and make us all feel that little bit closer to the industry.” (PPL)

Development focus

As we’ve said above, one of the most frequent reasons staff leave, or want to leave is lack of stretch. Setting up on your own often requires learning and development at a rate of knots; but also painstaking trial and error.

However, the organisation that puts real effort into training and careers, with supportive managers, is the one that inspires loyalty:

“Crest have provided me with the training and knowledge I need to have a successful career here and I am forever thankful” (Crest Nicholson)

“Here you are the master of your own destiny, there are opportunities to do different things and stretch yourself. You can make the role your own and there is lots of opportunity to develop upward and laterally.” (CRUK)


In conclusion

Organisations can learn from the entrepreneurs and apply some of the benefits (or at least, not give employees an easy decision to leave). In addition, offering benefits that only sizable organisations can is the best bet to holding onto superstars.



[1] CIPD Employee Outlook; 2,000 people surveyed. A quarter of employees are currently looking for a new job, up from 20% in autumn 2015. This is the highest level since autumn 2013.

[2] ONS


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