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How to Reduce Staff Attrition

In a climate where STEM organisations are losing £1.5 billion every year to the skills shortage, leaders are increasingly shifting their focus towards maximising employee potential and curbing staff attrition.

Despite 85% of CEOs reporting their organisations to have accelerated digital transformation over 2020, for many businesses the journey to a digital and resilient talent model remains incomplete. 

70% of senior leaders report a lack of confidence in their organisational agility, and only 29% of leaders have enough employees to meet current performance requirements. 

Meanwhile, the demand for technical expertise across STEM is cultivating a fast-paced, competitive talent market, where 7 in 10 leaders are experiencing major staff shortages, while struggling to find talent with the right skills. 

To succeed and thrive in the future, organisations will require well-considered talent attraction strategies alongside their staff retention objectives to ensure successful employees join, stay, and thrive in the business.

Keep reading to explore: 

  • Key drivers of staff attrition in STEM
  • How to align values to become an employer of choice
  • Using technology to remove bias in hiring

Key drivers of staff attrition in STEM

1. Poor diversity, inclusion and hiring practices

2022’s Global Science Employment Report revealed that job satisfaction for workers in STEM has a strong link to diversity, equity and inclusion at work. 

Across the UK, Europe and US, STEM employees who felt their workplace was not diverse, or inclusive were more likely to be dissatisfied in their role overall. Meanwhile, employees that did experience discrimination at work, were also likely to feel satisfied with their current position.

This trend of workplace dissatisfaction continues for employees who haven’t experienced discrimination, but who felt like discrimination, harassment and bullying had insufficient management measures in place.

GSK are a great example of a pharmaceutical organisation who reflect their global identity across their organisational structure to establish realistic and tangible measures to power diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). 

GSK’s work in DE&I transpires across people, business and communities, to ensure a strong alignment between the international communities GSK works with and within as employees and citizens.

So far, GSK’s initiatives have included:

  • Recruitment and development reviews
  • Policy and processes review
  • Inclusion training
  • Development programme for ethnically diverse employees

On top of this current action, GSK have also established aspirational goals to promote proactive and continuous implementation of their DE&I strategy. These goals include having 45% of women in senior leadership roles by 2025, to be recognised in global LGBT+ indices, and to increase the number of ethnically diverse leaders in VP roles across both the UK and US.

2. Compensation packages

Continued skills shortages are driving an immense demand for specialist skills, meaning that many newly hired employees are being offered alternative attractive compensation packages from other competing businesses.

SRG’s Report shows that younger respondents are the most likely to change roles when offered a more competitive salary, benefits, or career prospects. 

In my experience, I’ve found market insight salary reports vital in establishing transparency between both employers, and candidates. Sharing up-to-date information on current salaries can help manage candidate expectations and benchmark the salary rate for the role in an accurate way, without having to rely on out-dated sources like Glassdoor. 

3. Limited career progression

While the fourth industrial revolution has contributed new efficiencies, it also demands new skill sets that not every candidate or employee may have. 

However, this doesn’t mean the workforce is unwilling to evolve.

43% of employees who want to change roles in 2022 are simply looking to redirect their experience into a different area, rather than leave STEM altogether. What’s more, 70% of employees are willing to upskill where necessary to meet current business requirements.  

Limited career progression in roles can stifle these ambitions and drive higher rates of turnover. Leaders can capitalise on their internal resources to mend skills shortages through upskilling initiatives. By revising company culture to promote learning and growth, leaders can ensure that the potential of every employee is fully realised.

At QIAGEN, this is accomplished through an open, communicative culture that promotes growth and learning. Lucy Colgan, Talent Acquisition Specialist describes how “we want to further develop the company culture so everyone has a voice where they can do their job, change things and contribute their suggestions”. 

Lucy explains how highly impactful employee workshops enable QIAGEN employees to contribute and share their perspective saying, “senior management are really listening to the good and bad from the workshops, and there’s a lot of really good input and changes happening”.

“QIAGEN believes that focusing on its current and future employees drives the company’s economic performance and considerably influences the sustainability of its operations. We are convinced that the professional and personal development of our employees is an integral factor in creating value for our customers, patients, colleagues, partners and shareholders”, says Lucy. “Being the industry’s employer of choice by attracting and developing top talent is one of our global goals. To achieve this, QIAGEN creates a work environment that empowers and involves employees at all levels.”

How to align values to become an employer of choice

Becoming an employer of choice means moving beyond the basics of employment, to deliver a workplace experience that inspires and motivates commitment and performance.

Equipped with innovation, and mission-led purpose, STEM organisations have all the ingredients necessary to power this approach across candidate attraction and employee retention.

Takeda, a Japanese multi-national pharmaceutical company, provide an excellent example of an ‘employer-of-choice’ ethos in action. 

By cultivating a culture where promotion comes from within, Takeda create an environment where people both learn themselves, and share that learning with others. 

Takeda’s talent strategy is shaped around key values known as ‘Takeda-isms’, and priorities that function as a guiding compass for employees across the organisation.

Takeda’s ‘Takeda-isms’ of integrity, fairness, honesty and perseverance are complemented by their priorities which include:

  • Patient
  • Trust
  • Reputation
  • Business

Takeda ensure that the candidates they interview align with these values and are motivated by the priorities. In the workplace, the values and priorities together are interwoven within internal processes to foster an environment where they are realised. By doing so, Takeda establish a resilient candidate attraction and retention strategy where their employees feel aligned at work and empowered to do their best.

Using technology to remove bias in hiring

Diverse, inclusive and equitable work environments are built from more than a diversity quota alone. They instil equitable practices, cultivate a culture of acceptance, and ensure that bias is dismantled from the start of the hiring process, all the way through the employee’s journey.

Technology can play an important role in initiating this process, by helping to minimise unconscious biases that may inadvertently curb the efficacy of a diverse talent strategy.

For our Search by SRG team, psychometrics assessments, and video interviews are critical tools in combatting bias in STEM recruitment, and powering retention. Equipped with persona mapping, psychometric insights, international talent mapping, and much more, our expert consultants can ensure that the values, and personality of a candidate complement the organisational culture in the most productive way. 

This data-driven approach provides an opportunity to avoid unconscious bias, and advance recruitment past ‘first impressions’, to support informed, and reliable decisions. The efficacy of this strategy is well reflected in the hiring success rate of Search by SRG, where 100% of short-lists are accepted by clients for interview, and 95% of assignments reach offer stage.

Ready to evolve your hiring strategy?

Get in touch with our Client Services Team to discuss how working with SRG’s expert recruitment teams could strengthen and support your hiring strategy.

                                                                                       Get in touch with Client Services

About the author: Shen is a highly successful, award-winning, solutions-orientated, global life sciences recruiter who is now part of a unique team for a global leader in Scientific and Clinical hiring. Shen supports the STEM Portfolio as a Client Solutions Manager at the Impelllam Group dissolving borders incorporating brands including SRG, Lorien and Carbon 60, to ensure the best talent is secured and retained, using data intelligence combined with a flexible and transparent process. Partnering with businesses across STEM to offer solutions suited to the need, for niche roles, senior appointments and, delivery on project builds. Click here to connect with Shen on Linkedin 

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Global Guide to Candidate Attraction and Retention

Download SRG's latest report into the global trends, challenges and opportunities surrounding candidate attraction and retention in STEM

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