Does doing good stop the talent drain?

staff at Thomsons Online BenefitsCompanies are doing a poor job of keeping their best people, and within the next five years increasing staff turnover could mean one in four workers moves on each year. So how do companies keep them happy? Helping others is one solution, writes Niki Chesworth.

High performers move on for a variety of reasons and this talent drain is a drain on corporations across the world. A recent study from global management consultant company Hay Group and the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that, globally, 161.7 million workers are expected to leave companies this year. Within the next five years, the study predicts the turnover rate will rise from one in five (20.6 per cent) to nearly one in four (23.4 per cent).

So, how can companies retain their top talent? The research found that staff who are planning to stay with their current company for more than two years score their employers highly when it comes to career development, autonomy, a supportive work environment and appropriate compensation. However, another key way to get staff to buy into the business is to encourage them to work together to do good for others and not just the employer. That is why corporate social responsibility (CSR) has moved from being a ‘nice to have’ that is great PR for the company, to a fundamental part of organisational culture.

Chris Bruce, managing director of Thomsons Online Benefits says,

“People expect more than just a place to work now, motivations are changing and charitable schemes are, encouragingly, more important than ever for many. It is about doing something that is not just for themselves, while making a contribution to the local community and supporting others. At the same time it demonstrates the core values of a company and encouraging cross-team comradery.”

Thomsons, which as a global benefits and employee engagement software company helps other companies to retain talent, says there can be other benefits, and that is why its staff have been out raising over £100,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. Chris Bruce added,

“We ask a lot of our people to work hard so being fit and healthy to take part in the Thames Challenge — a number of different activities in a 48-hour period — enables them to cope with stress and makes them more energetic,”

“Our clients sense that energy from a positive upbeat group of staff, all at the same time of giving back something to the community.”

More than 100 staff members cycled, ran, rowed and kayaked in a 180km journey to raise money for a new cystic fibrosis ward, including CEO Michael Whitfield, who rode 160km, and Bruce, who along with a relay team, ran 40 miles in relays throughout the night. Michael Whitfield commented,

“At Thomsons we have created a culture that gives back to the community, enhances team work and have seen a correlation of strong staff engagement and improved wellbeing,”

“It is incredibly competitive to hire top tech talent and CSR initiatives, such as Thames Challenge, give us a differentiator in the marketplace.”

The Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards, to be held on October 1, will recognise the best in CSR showing how it has evolved from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’. This year more than 200,000 Londoners were supported through the CSR programmes submitted to the awards, with over 166,000 volunteered by those on the shortlist, equating to nearly £1.13 million of investment.

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