Why inspiring talent – and loyalty – is a top priority

Date: 09-10-2015

Tagged as: ArticleGameplan


It’s no secret that ensuring your staff are motivated and fulfilled can make a huge difference to business success, but do you understand their priorities?

Your employees are your most important asset. Finding the right team members, and understanding what motivates them, should be high on your list of priorities.

The total cost of replacing a staff member can be more than £30,000 with most of that attributed to lost productivity during, and for a time after, the replacement process.1 With skills in short supply in many sectors, and businesses around the country reporting difficulty recruiting, you should ensure you inspire loyalty. Your ability to inspire the loyalty you need to retain talent is inextricably linked to understanding of what motivates your team. It might not be what you think.

A matter of motivation

A survey of over 1,600 workers carried out earlier this year by YouGov for the recruiter REED shows that over the course of their career, work-life balance and job satisfaction are more important to employees than salary2.

Priorities shift over time, of course. For those just starting out, salary and benefits can seem most important - in the YouGov survey, 38% of 18-24 year olds mark this as their top priority. However, this is closely followed by job satisfaction with 34% stating that job satisfaction and work-life balance are most important.

We see that once the experience of work kicks in, job satisfaction and work-life balance assume a far greater significance with 52% of 25-44 year olds viewing job satisfaction and work-life balance as most important, compared to 19% for salary and benefits.

This general interest in work-life balance by the younger generations is supported by our recent research, in which millennials (15 -35 year olds) rated work-life balance and flexible working highly when looking for a job. Click here to read more.

priorities by age

So if you really want to motivate your team, you need to look beyond financial reward and more deeply into the career goals and lifestyle aspirations of your team.

Benefits of promoting work-life balance

Responding to the call for improved work-life balance can bring broad benefits. According to research by Morgan Redwood3, organisations that support a good work-life balance earn 27% more per year from each staff member. Yet surprisingly, only 6% of HR directors said that work-life balance was a priority for their department. This disparity shows that there can be big gains for businesses who can tap into this opportunity.


Childcare and flexible working are two areas where companies can make improvements to support their employees’ work-life balance, along with ensuring workloads are manageable and deadlines realistic.

Nurturing job satisfaction

Another recent study – by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills4 – support the positive correlation between job satisfaction and workplace performance. By contrast, the research also indicated that an increase in pay satisfaction did not lead to improved performance.

So, how can you nurture job satisfaction within your business? As the NIESR report notes, a number of factors come into play, such as sense of achievement, development opportunities, job security, wages, autonomy, scope for initiative and involvement in decision-making. In essence, ensuring employees are encouraged and empowered to have a real sense of ownership ultimately leads to greater job satisfaction.

Offering recognition, constructive feedback in the form of well-structured performance reviews, plus training and development opportunities are all also essential in bolstering that sense of satisfaction. For more information, see our Business Guide on motivating and retaining key staff.

Recognise the risk

The risk of not nurturing a sense of recognition and opportunity for your staff extends beyond mediocre performance. It could actually drive talent away. Lack of future career opportunity and a lack of recognition have emerged as the top two reasons why British workers leave their jobs, according to a recent study5. And as we’ve already seen, that can be a costly exercise.

All the more reason for businesses to act now and look carefully at how they’re nurturing job satisfaction, promoting work-life balance and really getting the best out of their talented workforces.

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