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Wellbeing & Benefits

Steven Slater, a former JetBlue flight attendant, gained cult status after he proudly announced his resignation over an aeroplane’s in-flight speaker in 2010.

He grabbed two beers from the refreshment trolley and made his exit with style — by deploying the evacuation slide and sliding down to the tarmac. Most resignations aren’t quite as legendary as Steven’s, but with almost half of Brit’s planning to leave their jobs this year, why not introduce a little creativity?

Here, Michelle Mills-Porter, CEO of behaviour profiling specialist, Ensize UK, gives her take on why employees leave their jobs and, perhaps more importantly, what companies can do to keep them.

Exotic employee retreats, beanbag filled offices and cash towards egg freezing for fertility preservation are just a few of the wonderful — and slightly bizarre — employee benefits on today’s jobs market. Introducing workplace perks is an increasingly common practice, but despite this, one third of new hires are handing in their notice within the first six months of employment.

It’s hardly surprising that the most successful businesses are the ones that work hardest to please their employees. However, employers should not assume that hefty salaries, authoritative job titles or even the novelty of an office pool table is enough to retain valuable members of staff.

According to research produced by Marcus Buckingham, founder and CEO of talent development company TMBC, the key to employee engagement can differ dramatically from country to country. British employees, alongside workers in India, put a high significance on the values and ethics of the company they work for and want to ensure that these values align with their own.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines values as the ‘principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life’. Or in layman’s terms, what gets someone out of bed in the morning. Personal values, whether they be financial, relationship-driven or based on creativity or individual wellbeing, are developed in our formative years and once we enter the workplace, our values are almost impossible to adjust. In fact, when you look at conflict in general, you’ll often find mismatched values at the heart of the matter.

From an employer’s perspective, the key to retaining an engaged workforce means understanding the personal values of each employee. However, there is more to an employee’s behaviour than their basic morals. In addition to the values we develop in early life, each employee will hold different motivations according to the current situation in their personal lives. At Ensize, we call this their ‘driving forces’.

Take a recent graduate as an example. They may have recently relocated for a job and taken on new financial responsibilities such as student loan repayments and household bills. In this case, it is likely that the individual will have an economic driving force, affecting their workplace behaviour and what is motivating them. Later in life, the same employee could have gained more financial stability and instead, may be driven by the potential of power and influence, or a promotion in the workplace.

Naturally, not all employers will be able to gauge the underlying values and driving forces of each one of their staff, particularly in larger organisations with a high number of employees. However, by embarking on a behavioural profiling assessment for existing or potential employees, this can be more straightforward than you think.

Investing in identifying the driving forces and values of staff is key to creating the right environment for an empowered, engaged and happy, workforce. Without the effort to ensure employee values are truly being met and realised, these valuable individuals will become almost impossible to retain.

Disregarding the values and personal driving forces of your employees will only create a feeling of dissatisfaction in the workplace, send them straight out of the door — or inflatable slide, if that’s their style.

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