Approximate reading time: 2 minutes

How restless are your employees? Do you know who is on the move or secretly planning to depart?

The true cost of attrition rates is scary.  It is estimated for example in the oil industry it costs up to £60k to replace each skilled worker.

The latest report on engagement from Blessing White is a comprehensive look at the topic across the world and is full of interesting, and often revealing data on what is going on when it comes to restless employees.

For example the report finds that “less than two thirds (61%) of many thousands of respondents around the globe say they plan to remain with their organisation in the next 12 months.

That means around four out of ten are currently looking to move on.

Does this apply to your organisation? Maybe, maybe not. But it would make a lot of sense to find out.

All this of course ties in to engagement.  Levels of engagement vary widely around the world. The top reason for sticking round is “my work, I like the work I do.”  The place where this happens least is China, where the number of employees planning their exit has more than tripled since 2008 from 5% to 16%.

In simple terms, attrition is costing Chinese companies a great deal of money and longer term the present rate of loss of skilled or other types of staff is surely unsustainable.

Putting it even more brutally, Chinese managers are going to have to grips with engagement whether they like it or not. Costs alone will see to that.

What we often lack in making sense of data on engagement and staff attrition rates is any sense of a benchmark.

This latest report though, provides some clear indications of what is possible. For example in SE Asia 73% of employees say, that given a choice they will definitely plan to stay with their organisation.

We can contrast this with only 48% in Europe. What that means is that Europe has a long way to go before we reach the level of commitment and involvement others achieve in SE Asia.

“I intend to stay” is code for commitment and willingness to apply discretionary effort—i.e. to be fully engaged.

So what will keep your employees continuing to do what they do well, and not look for greener pastures? According to the survey, two factors top the list of satisfaction drivers in nearly all regions: “career development opportunities and training” and “more opportunities to do what I do best.”

Once again, we see that retaining employees is hardly rocket science.

Talent management and talent retention is not some highly sophisticated system that only the specialists can really grasp.

It is about understanding the basics of engagement and making sure that rather than reports, surveys or theories, we do highly practical actions that apply to each employee.

In the Blessing White study the behaviours that link to engagement are specifically: involvement, recognition, feedback, delegation, talent untilisation, coaching and community building.

These fit neatly into our own model of VIDI in which engagement is a direct result of people feeling Valued, Involved, Developed and Inspired.

Andrew Leigh is joint author with Stephen Hoare of Talent Management, published this week by the Financial Times Briefing Series. 

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