Staff Value a Career Path Above Salary
Staff retention is once again a key concern for almost two- thirds of UK companies, while turnover in the retail sector is twice as high as the national average. But firms wishing to buy their employees’ loyalty would be well advised to offer career opportunities rather than money, according to a survey by Reed Personnel Services.
With staff turnover at 26 per cent, it is not surprising that three out of four retailers have introduced, or are considering introducing, measures to retain people. Less predictably, however, respondents put a higher salary second to the chance of career progression in a list of the top five reasons why people change jobs.
Employers’ responses to the problem vary widely, from staff recognition programmes to multi-skilling and team- building exercises, but 70 per cent of those surveyed listed training as their primary solution. This research emphasises hoe effective it can be to concentrate on increasing staff morale rather than pay, said James Reed, chief executive of Reed.
Tesco, one of the retailers featured in the survey, began a staff retention programme some years ago. Although turnover was 33 per cent last year, the company is confident that morale is rising and long- term loyalty has increased.
Employees in every store have recently gone through a management programme focusing on improving core skills and process development. Managers scrutinised jobs and attempted to eliminate unnecessary or bureaucratic processes so that staff were able to concentrate on the main business.
Companies are learning that they will hold on to staff only if they give them the chance to develop.
The company has been running a programme called Project Future since early 1997 and, according to Cartwright, it is now an ongoing process. Managers attend short core skill workshops in their stores, together with shop floor staff who are earmarked for promotion.
This training fits in with managers’ individual career development plans, and the company is also keen to encourage employees to apply for jobs in different functions. ‘I’ve been here for 12 years, but never in the same job for more than two, Cartwright said. It’s almost like working for a different company each time you move.’
Tesco’s expansion into central Europe has opened up new possibilities for long- term posts abroad. More than 100 of its British managers are working in Poland, Hungary and the Czech and Slovak republics, and 31 more central European hypermarkets are planned for the next few years.
Back at home, the company has introduced more flexibility to encourage the store’s predominantly female workforce to return to work after maternity leave. More people are taking career breaks and returning to part- time management positions.
We are operating a 24- hour, seven days- a- week business, Cartwright said. ‘If a mother wants to fix her work around her kids or her husband’s shifts, then we can accommodate that.’
Write : YES : if the statement agrees with the passage
NO : if the statement does not agree with the passage
NOT GIVEN: if the statement is not mentioned in the passage
1. Employees say that a career path is more important than money.
2. Staff turnover in the UK in general is 26%.
3. Retailers are attempting to keep their staff.
4. Most employers in the survey prefer training to encourage staff to stay.
5. Tesco has reduced staff turnover.
6. Managers in each Tesco store designed the training programme.
7. All Tesco employees take part in Project Future.