Talent management, recruiting, hiring and training new employees all put a remarkably hefty dent in businesses’ bottom line. So it’s in every business owner’s interest to hold onto every employee they hire for as long as possible. The key to minimising employee turnover is spotting high flight risk workers and taking appropriate action to retain them. Even in a standard office environment, this presents an enormous challenge for hr professionals. How to spot flight risk employees in remote workers is a different matter entirely.
Since the start of the pandemic, many workers in safe jobs are continuing to stay put. In fact, according to APSco, job applications are at their lowest level since 2016. This could be because so many of us are working from home that the nightmare commute, so many of us suffer is no longer an issue. Or it could be due to a lack of faith in the stability of the jobs market right now.
Either way, once working life returns to normal, and applicants feel more confident in the economy, there is likely to be a surge in job search activity. With this in mind, flight risk may be of little concern to employers in the short term. However, it would be prudent to identify flight risk employees now to keep employee turnover to a minimum once normality resumes.
How to Spot Potential Flight Risk Employees Within a Normal Working Environment
When employees feel down, regardless of whether or not the fault lies at work, they are more likely to leave their jobs. So being able to spot the telltale signs that people are unhappy at work is key to keeping turnover to a minimum. Here are just a few traits that might indicate that a disgruntled employee is a flight risk:
- Change in work habits
- Unusually negative attitude
- Less productive
- Withdrawn from the team
- Unwilling to commit to long term projects
- Lack of motivation
- Punctuality becomes an issue
Spotting these changes in behaviour in remote employees is much more difficult for managers. In a typical office environment, things like lateness or a shift in attitude are more apparent. Management also tends to get wind of hot watercooler chat topics so can usually foresee issues before they become problems.
However, when working from home, spotting issues becomes much more complicated. Punctuality, for example, is much easier for remote employees to hide. Negativity or lack of motivation, may not be as noticeable in remote workers. That is unless managers are spending lots of time in zoom meetings.
There are also far fewer opportunities for general chit chat between managers and staff. So long periods may pass without a supervisor being aware of a major life change in a team member’s life. While not work-related, significant life events are often the reason why employees leave their jobs.
Monitoring Remote Employees
Many companies routinely check what their employees post on social media. While this seems creepy, it is usually the best way to find out about important life events.
It is also possible to monitor the activity of any employees doing remote work. Many software applications are available now, which enable managers to track the actions of home workers. In fact, there has been a significant increase in demand for employee surveillance apps since the start of the pandemic.
For example, managers might want to know what time staff log in and log out of systems and monitor their email activity. However, it’s worth noting that nobody likes the feeling that ‘big brother’ is watching them. There is a debate around whether employee surveillance is ethical or if it should even be legal. Regardless, the introduction of surveillance software could be a key driver in employees wanting to leave their jobs.
A less invasive alternative is to set clear KPIs and to trust employees to hit their targets. This approach empowers employees by giving them more autonomy over their workload and sends the message that managers trust them.
Interview Questions to Identify Future Flight Risks in Potential Hires
Unfortunately, the pandemic has left many people at risk of redundancy. Rather than be out of work, many of those individuals opt for lower-paid jobs that they would not otherwise consider. There is a concern that while bosses view their employment as permanent, candidates only see their position as a temporary fix. Once the employment market stabilises, these individuals may pose a flight risk.
Below are a few key questions managers can ask at interview to assess future flight risk in potential hires and what to look for in a response:
Question: Why do you want to work for this company?
The emphasis in the response should focus on your company in particular. A generic response may indicate that the candidate would be happy to work anywhere rather than specifically for you.
Question: What are your salary expectations?
Candidates who believe they are well paid in relation to market value are more likely to remain in employment. The job search process always gives candidates a good idea of what their skills are worth in the current marketplace. So if your job is paying less than a candidate’s skills are worth, it’s worth exploring why. It could be that they have a perfectly reasonable explanation for taking a salary reduction.
Question: What are your future career aspirations?
Hiking managers should consider whether there is scope within the company for the interviewee to achieve their career goals. If they have bigger ambitions than your business can accommodate, you may see them job-hopping soon.
Hiring managers could find that they rule out the majority of candidates by asking the above questions. It may be that the attempt to reduce employee turnover results in eliminating all potential hires. If this is the case, it’s worth weighing up the value of the skills a candidate may bring to your workplace in the short term vs the cost of hiring and training a new employee. Or better still, what your company can do to meet the needs of top talent.
How to Minimise Flight Risks Among Remote Workers
Employee engagement is always lower in remote employees than office-based staff. This sense of detachment makes them more of a flight risk. However, managers can do things to make sure these employees experience the same positive company culture and make them feel part of the team, such as:
Make New Starters Feel Welcome
When onboarding remote employees, it’s hard to give them a sense of your office vibe. Without this, they may as well be working for any employer. Therefore, it is paramount that onboarding is as efficient as it can be. Onboarding should also be about making new employees feel welcome, rather than a box-ticking exercise for HR. Including some goodies in their new starter pack and holding an online team event can welcome them aboard.
Where employees feel they are being paid less than the market average or see a lack of progression within their current employment, they are more likely to be a flight risk. Regular performance reviews allow managers to check in with individuals and monitor how they feel on these subjects.
Performance reviews are often viewed as a chore to keep HR Management happy. However, when done correctly, they can help both staff and businesses achieve their goals. As a result, regular reviews improve employee engagement and reduce staff turnover.
If your company culture usually involves regular social events, it’s important not to let that slide. Holding regular online events involving quizzes and games can be a welcome distraction from lockdown and make employees feel a sense of belonging. If, under normal circumstances, you would typically go for Friday beers after work, try and continue the tradition remotely.
A Few Final Thoughts on Spotting Flight Risks in Remote Workers
There isn’t a single one of us who hasn’t felt down during lockdown. So it’s more important now than ever for companies to take care of their home-working employees. While companies can never eliminate all flight risk, they can reduce it by making employees feel valued. We hope the above has given you a few ideas of how you can spot flight risk in remote employees and keep turnover to a minimum.
Working with a reputable Recruitment Consultant can help your business spot flight risk employees. We have access to a database of CVs which covers every single job board which enables us to easily spot patterns of unrest within a business. While we would never disclose the identity of an individual, we can bring to your attention any areas of concern. Our team would be happy to explain how we have helped previous clients spot flight risks within their team if you are interested.
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