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Figures released in July show workers across the UK are becoming increasingly demotivated within their current roles and are actively seeking pastures new.

Research by Totaljobs, indicates that employee productivity is falling dramatically as huge numbers (as many as 70% of them) haven’t received a promotion or pay rise this year.

The survey of over 9,000 UK employees, found that a similar percentage of employees are looking to walk away from their current employer within the next 12 months.  And even though the number who actually do so may well be much lower, it surely raises alarm bells for both recruitment costs and the motivation of those who are still there in a year’s time but don’t want to be.

But is it just words: employees letting off steam and threatening action that they won’t really execute in practice?  Apparently not, because the survey also revealed that some 56% of employees are actively looking for new roles on their current employer’s time.

And it’s not just the raw numbers that should be a concern for any manager, it’s the trend those figures are showing. Since the beginning of the year, the number of employees looking for new jobs during work hours has gone up by 7%, while there’s been a 4% rise in those who want to be working somewhere else within a year.

So not only are ever more employees less likely to want to hang around, they’re also more likely to be spending time – for which their employer is paying – looking for someone else to pay them, rather than doing their work. The cost of talent leaving, taking their skills elsewhere, and the requirement to onboard and upskill new talent is incalculable.

Importantly, though, many employers feel their hands are tied, not least because of the various challenges of economic complexity, tight margins and uncertainty over Brexit.

So is there nothing to be done?  There is something any manager can do, because it’s not just about pay and promotion (although obviously that becomes increasingly important as inflation and interest rates creep upwards).  Instead, there’s also a striking correlation between the 70% of employees with itchy feet and some 69% who say their bosses simply aren’t listening when it comes to two key issues:

1. Ideas they have for improving the way their department works (or the organisation as a whole) – where 67% believe their ideas and suggestions are being ignored.  And this figure goes up to 75% among workers aged 55-65.  In other words, those with the most experience are most likely to have their opinions ignored.

2. Support for their career goals.  This is where 69% say their boss isn’t on board.

The message is clear.  If you want not only to hold onto your people, but get them working ever more productively, you need to make sure you’re listening to the contributions they want to be making, and the aspirations they have for themselves within your organisation – before they find someone else to do that listening.

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