Hays survey highlights the need for retention plans

Updated: 01 Mar 2014
Hong Kong’s high turnover rate has been highlighted in a recent survey by recruiting experts Hays, who advise employers to implement some solid retention strategies to curb this trend.
A website survey of candidates has revealed that 63 per cent change jobs as often as every one to two years. This is even higher than the 41 per cent who changed jobs within one to two years in China – notorious for its high turnover rate. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong 21 per cent of candidates say they change jobs every two to four years and only 16 per cent stay with an employer for five years or more.
“This is a real problem for employers in Hong Kong and affects business productivity,” says Marc Burrage, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong.
There are several reasons for this trend, according to Marc.
“Salary and title are very important culturally in Hong Kong and for many people two years is the expected time frame to change jobs, which is in contrast to the western countries where candidates may stay in a role for longer,” says Marc.
“There is also a skills shortage and an abundance of good opportunities for the right candidates.”
However, according to Marc, companies in Hong Kong can help reduce the rate of turnover by employing some simple retention strategies – and they don’t all involve money.
Hays’ top 5 retention tips:
1.     Managing performance
This is the key to an employer’s retention strategy. Performance reviews are a simple but essential process which should take place regularly and managers need to be committed to the practice. Formal performance feedback is also an excellent opportunity to ensure talent is engaged, but remember to make sure the system is user friendly for everyone involved. And be sure tocommunicate clearly with employees. Setting clear objectives and deadlines will mean your employees can be comfortable knowing what is expected and when they should deliver it.
2.     Your leaders
Front line managers are the key to retention, so you should definitely evaluate the quality of yours. Remember, people join companies and leave people. Your managers are at the coal face. They should be good at motivating and inspiring their team members, managing performance - good and bad, and setting useful goals. They also need to provide useful performance feedback, including positive reinforcement or suggesting solutions when things have not gone well. So, employers may also need to look at what their organisation does to develop its managers as part of their retention strategy.
3.     Good relationships
If an employee has good relationships at work they are more likely to stay with a company and feel engaged with their work. So employers need to focus on how they understand, communicate and build good relationships with their employees. It’s a good idea to ask employees for their opinion on key engagement factors such as career progression and performance feedback through employee opinion surveys, online forums or regular reviews. And it is best not to assume anything about an employee’s career path as there can be many factors at play – just maintain open and honest communication to find out what your employees’ goals are.
4.     Career pathways
Employees can become stale and bored without the proper career development – and this is often a reason why candidates look elsewhere for work. As different organisations have different parameters within which they must work, career development does not always mean promotion, although it certainly can. Can you instead offer additional responsibility, or the opportunity to supervise other employees? Could an employee coach and train others, manage projects or chair meetings?
5.     Training & development
Courses aren’t always what training and development is about, nor do they have to take place in a formal classroom. Mentorships are a useful retention tool and can also be used to pass on corporate insight to other employees. One-on-one training and taking on additional duties can also be just as effective. Investing in your employees’ skills development allows them to be the best they can be, which has obvious rewards for both them and you.
Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

Search for jobs