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How to predict which employees might quit to prevent a critical vacancy

20 Sep 12:00 by Ieshia Thaper

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We recognise that employee turnover can be expensive and disruptive to your existing workflow and workforce. We also realise that retaining the best and most engaged employees will save your business money, while protecting your bottom line, reputation, intellectual property and competitive edge.

So while it is important to do an excellent job when hiring new employees, it also makes commercial sense to keep the ones you have where possible. Having the ability to spot demotivated or dissatisfied workers and predict if they might be close to jumping ship has great value. 

Most companies use two tools to understand why someone might quit or has indeed quit; job satisfaction assessments and exit interviews. However, by the time the latter takes place it is essentially too late to save the employee in question. In addition, if you wait until an exit interview to find out why a valuable employee has decided to move on, you have missed a golden opportunity; not just to keep a productive member of your team but to identify and fix issues within your organisation before you lose others. 

The best that you can hope in this type of scenario is that their reason for leaving, be it a toxic work environment or limited room for growth for example, can be improved upon for future recruits to thrive and prosper.

This theory is supported by the findings of a study by Harvard Business Review, which deemed the above methods largely inadequate in determining who might leave next. However, by employing AI and machine learning on a wide range of big data, including an individual's past jobs and skills, the authors of the study said that they were able to predict who was most receptive to leaving a job. They agreed that data-driven decision making is what can reduce turnover and allow for intervention before losing a star worker.

A real-time indicator was then developed to measure the two main indicators that an employee is about to quit. The first was “turnover shocks,” which are events that prompt workers to consider leaving an organisation. This could be a change in leadership or a major acquisition, for example, and was measured with events including news articles about a company, changes in stock value and legal action taken against the firm.

Researchers also measured “job embeddedness,” or how deeply connected a worker felt to their organisation, based on publicly available data like number of past jobs, employment anniversary and tenure, skills, education, gender and geography.

When put to the test, the algorithm identified that those marked as “most likely” to be receptive to a new opportunity were, in fact, 63 per cent more likely to be in a new job by the end of the three-month study period.

This algorithm could prove to be a good thing for employers and employees alike. By understanding who is at risk of leaving, companies may be able to pinpoint the main reasons why employees are seeking other opportunities. If they are willing to invest in retention, they will avoid the time and financial cost of replacing workers. The flip side, of course, is that employers have to put measures in place to improve employee satisfaction, whether that is in the form of better compensation, workplace culture or career advancement.

However, the technology you have at your disposal might not always be able to predict a critical vacancy and subsequent skills vacuum. Equally, the steps you put in place to rectify any issues might also fall short of employee expectations. This is precisely why Claremont Consulting can help your business to plan ahead and create a talent pipeline of the best candidates in the event of one.

We have expert consultants on hand globally who can engage our extensive network of technically-skilled professionals to quickly and efficiently find the ideal candidate for the role. We are market experts and focus on building long-term relationships, meaning that we truly get to know our candidates and the industries they work in, ensuring they are the perfect fit for you business and likely to last for the duration.

We are subsequently able to provide permanent and contract staff in all of our verticals, which include Consultancy, Admin, HR, Project Management, Sales & Marketing and Executive Search, to name a few, across our niche IT, HR and Engineering sectors. To discuss your options in further detail, simply contact our recruitment team: info@claremontconsulting.com

Stay tuned to the Claremont Consulting blog for all of the key recruitment industry insights you need to know about.