Over one third (37%) of UK workers plan to move jobs during 2015 according to a new survey by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM). The research indicates that many employees do not feel engaged by their current employers, with two thirds (59%) hoping to move for better career opportunities and 25% feeling under-appreciated where they are.

A similar survey at the start of last year indicated only 19% of people were planning to move jobs, while in 2013 it was just 13%.  So the significant increase in 2015 should act as a wake-up call for UK businesses.  Much more needs to be done to retain existing staff or companies will face the disruption and cost of recruiting and training replacements. Now is the time to review employee feedback and engagement programmes in order to better understand, engage and motivate the workforce.  Here are three important areas to consider: 

1. Is your organisation collecting feedback frequently enough?

You need an indicator of how engaged your employees are and in most organisations annual engagement surveys are the common practice. They tend to consist of a framework or model with a standard series of questions and benchmarks which help to assess whether the workforce is engaged or not.

However, this approach is increasingly seen as being too rigid, too infrequent and too inflexible. Today, a solitary annual employee survey is not capable of providing a true, up to the minute, picture of employee engagement and satisfaction levels.

With new online and mobile technology it is possible to automatically collect feedback in real-time, much more frequently, through digital channels that are quick and easy for employees to use.

So as well as conducting regular staff engagement surveys, you can look to collect feedback after important events such as promotions, training, office moves and pay changes.  This approach can deliver a much more granular view of how happy and engaged people are, as well as pointing to any pain-points and areas of dissatisfaction that need to be addressed.

2. Do you demonstrate that employee feedback is being acted upon? 

With so many pressing priorities it is easy for employee surveys to become a box-ticking exercise: once the data is collected, it feels like the job is done, with little action or change being driven by the findings. This is the very thing that creates scepticism and apathy amongst staff.

Collecting the data is obviously just the start of cycle. You need to ensure the key findings are easily accessible to support management decision making. Make it obvious to employees that feedback is being acted on, and check that managers are provided with the tools and information to take relevant action.

Survey findings should act as an incubator for follow-up conversations that aim to engage staff, with the overall goal of fostering a more open culture that helps people feel valued and committed to the organisation. In the long run, as well as creating more enthused and engaged employees, you will be facilitating improved business performance.

3. Do staff feel appreciated?

The ILM survey suggests that more than one in four employees feels unappreciated in their current job.  This is not only demotivating for the individuals concerned but could have a wider negative impact on their colleagues and overall company morale. 

You need to make it obvious that you value your staff and their efforts through a range of methods – from congratulatory emails to public praise and formal award schemes, not forgetting monetary rewards and opportunities for training, greater responsibility and career progression.

As well as rewarding teams and departments for their contribution to the organisation, it is important to ensure that individual employees feel they are recognised and appreciated when they excel.  This includes ensuring they feel there is a structure in place for them to advance in their careers if they meet or exceed their targets and goals.

As the economic climate improves and the job market becomes more buoyant people will feel more confident about moving on from roles where they are not completely happy. Employers must recognise that they will have to work harder to keep their talented staff along with the knowledge, skills and business relationships they are likely to have accumulated. Otherwise, they’ll be part of the third of companies looking to replace underappreciated employees that decide to move elsewhere.