Knowledge is power when it comes to employee retention

By Lord Mark Price, below, founder of Workl

How does an organisation know if an employee will leave? This is a universal, age-old question asked by managers as they navigate retaining employees, especially during moments of change, such as when businesses found a new normal post- Covid and we saw the famous Great Resignation.

At WorkL, the employee experience platform I founded in 2017, which measures, tracks and improves employee engagement and employee happiness at work, we call this the Flight Risk; the percentage of people who have a high potential to leave their organisation within the next nine months. We calculate this by pulling data from four of our survey questions, where the average of the respondent scores is less than six out of 10. The Flight Risk indicator questions include;

  • I am fairly paid
  • I have a good relationship with my Manager
  • I enjoy my job
  • I am being developed

Calculating the Flight Risk for each employee means that managers are able to use this knowledge to effectively manage and retain workers, putting in place personalised employee plans.

Our database currently has over 35,000 organisations across 26 sectors, in 105 countries with over 300,000 survey data submissions on employee sentiment. The data reveals that the highest year for Flight Risk was in 2019, a surprise for many who thought that the Great Resignation post-Covid was record-breaking. The lowest year for Flight Risk was actually 2021- this was when the world was still in the grip of Covid but finding a ‘new normal’ and employees were still worried about redundancies.

Most recently, the overall Flight Risk indicator score for 2022 was 28% and Q1 of 2023 is currently at 31%, showing a slight increase. The lowest scoring questions are around being developed, scoring just 65% and being fairly paid, scoring 66%. This information highlights the need for managers to continue to reward workers with fair pay and to continue to develop them- if they are to reduce the Flight Risk.

Sectors with the highest Flight Risk include Manufacturing of Consumer Goods and Real Estate, Rental and Leasing organisations which have the highest flight risk of 43%. Agriculture, animals, forestry and fishing and Non-Profit Organisations have the lowest flight risk of just 17%. We find that organisations within the charity sector, which serve a greater purpose other than profit, have higher overall engagement levels and low Flight Risk scores.

Our data also shows that hybrid workers (27%) have the lowest Flight Risk and site-based employees have the highest (34%). 30% of school leavers leave their first job within the first three months and 49% of graduates leave their first job within 18 months. So, managers should be introducing regular employee engagement surveys for all new starters, especially those joining the workforce for the first time to help manage this problem.

Managers also need to focus their efforts on non-management employees since their Flight Risk is 8% higher than managers, at 31%. Employers who are considered disabled are also at a higher risk of leaving their job, with a high score of 35% compared to 28% for non-disabled employees.

All of this information is integral in reducing Flight Risk and improving the overall employee experience – knowledge really is power and I urge managers to regularly connect with employees to understand their work-life experience.

Lord Price launched WorkL, in 2017, along with WorkL For Business which now helps over 300 businesses globally improve the happiness and engagement of their teams and has seen over 300,000 individuals globally take the free Workl happy at work survey which helps people determine how happy they are in their current job.