Today’s tight labour market means that HR professionals are having to shift their focus to employee retention, alongside recruitment. In the meantime, almost half of the organisations in the Netherlands are finding it difficult to retain staff.
While the percentage last year was still 21%, in 2022 this has risen to 46%. As shown by the annual HR Trends Study conducted among more than 2000 HR professionals by Berenschot, Performa and AFAS Software.
The HR professional expects that it will be even more difficult to retain employees in 2023. It is anticipated that as much as 58% will be facing difficulties in retaining personnel. Hans van der Spek, manager HCM knowledge centre at Berenschot, suspects that these major differences are due to the extremely uncertain period which we have just had. “We noticed that during the pandemic everyone sat tight where they were. Now the power seems to lie more in the hands of the employee who is willing to switch jobs despite the uncertain economic outlook. We are seeing this movement most particularly among people working in production, operations and ICT.”
Making employees feel at home and engaged has moved up the HR professional’s priority list from seventh to fourth place over the past year. Two years ago, the year just before the pandemic, this was still in fifth place. “The shortages on the job market has meant that retaining good staff has now become a necessity in order to maintain capacity in companies and organisations,” says Van der Spek. “These results also tell us that during the pandemic organisations may have been rather lax in the area of employee retention.”
Talking to your staff
Companies are definitely doing more to retain personnel than in previous years. While last year a third of the organisations surveyed did not take any special measures to retain staff, that percentage now is much smaller at 16%. HR are professionals are increasingly ‘simply’ talking to their staff (55%). In addition, companies are often taking more steps to keep people on board, such as looking at flexible employment terms (43%) and stepping up training and career development programmes (41%).
For Britt Breure, HR director at AFAS, retaining personnel is very important, too. “We do a lot to show our people that we appreciate their commitment. For example, internal promotion is very important to us, as is having a good work-life balance,” Breure explains. “Good employment practices are also reflected in the fun and vital activities we organise for our people. This month, for example, we are organising a sports day and a catch-up day for new employees. Last Friday, too, we pampered our personnel at the annual AFAS excursion. You should never underestimate how important these sorts of things are.”
Recruitment problems reaching a peak
The consequences of the shortages on the employment market are reflected in the HR professional’s priority list. While the theme of recruitment and selection was ranked in third place last year, in 2022 it has risen to first place. Last year more than half of the organisations surveyed were already struggling with recruitment problems. This year that percentage has reached a peak of 88%. “We expect this problem to continue into 2023. So we really need to fully focus on employee retention by listening to them even more,” says Van der Spek.
About the study
The annual HR Trends Study was conducted in the spring of 2022 among more than 2000 HR professionals in the Netherlands. The study was conducted under the auspices of: Performa Uitgeverij by Berenschot management consultancy with the support of AFAS Software. HR Trends is the largest annual survey among HR professionals in the Netherlands. If you would like to read the full report please register here to receive the report as soon as it is issued.