Employment Law experts
16th August 2016

When it comes to employee engagement, few can argue that when employees feel valued in their role they are unlikely to seek other opportunities. Danny Clarke, Group Operations Director for the ELAS Group, says this is the single most important thing when it comes to retaining the most talented employees. He says: “Whilst many organisations see money and reward as key motivators, evidence suggests that what really motivates people is making a difference. Where employees understand the key role that they play in an organisations’ success it gives them a purpose to what they do. Providing a structure that enables people to become masters of what they do is vital in delivering increased productivity and performance. Disgruntled employees or those without clear direction or focus really affect the morale and productivity of a workplace, which ultimately makes for a negative environment.”

Managing, attracting and ultimately retaining talent is key for all businesses, not least football clubs. Take for instance the big news in football this summer that has seen Paul Pogba return to Manchester United for a world record fee of £89 million; 4 years after he left the club for Juventus for a mere £800,000. Pogba had joined Manchester United in 2009 aged 16 but made just 7 first team appearances in 2 years. He cited the lack of first team opportunities as the reason behind his departure, saying: “Manchester United is a big club but you have to think about yourself. You have to play. The coach told me there would be space to play, but I wasn’t playing.”

There were well documented disagreements between Pogba and manager Sir Alex Ferguson and, despite the club wanting to keep Pogba, his mind couldn’t be changed. This situation occurs daily within organisations throughout the UK with managers being left with the dilemma of keeping key talent whilst accepting that making allowances on attitude can affect the rest of the team. Is there anything a manager can do to keep an employee who wants to leave? Danny Clarke says yes.

“It’s important to keep regular communication with employees including those who are frustrated or disenchanted. Little things like listening to what is causing the frustration and trying to overcome the issues are key. Whilst it can be tempting to ignore employees concerns or bury your head in the sand, ultimately this causes more problems than it solves. Employees need to be communicated with, even when the message is one that managers feel the employees don’t want to hear.”

Employee retention policies are aimed at addressing the needs of employees in order to enhance their job satisfaction and reduce the substantial costs which are involved in hiring and training new employees. In Paul Pogba’s case this is a staggering amount. The fee the club received for him in 2012 is a mere 0.89% of what they paid to resign him. While this is an extreme example it begs the question – would Paul Pogba have stayed at Manchester United if he had had better job satisfaction?

Whilst the age old saying is ‘people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers’ and, statistically, people in low paying jobs are more likely to seek new opportunities than those in higher paid roles, this example shows even the highest paid employees are not necessarily motivated by money alone. Could an effective employee engagement policy and retention strategy have saved Manchester United £88.2 million?  Statistics say it’s a possibility


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