Antwerp, 18 July 2017. Having a company car does not seem to be a reason for Belgian employees not to leave their company. And the criteria for employees leaving their employment vary remarkably between blue-collar and white-collar workers. This is what research by the Free University Brussels (VUB) among Belgian employees has revealed. The VUB based its research on the database of HR service provider SD Worx, which had data on over 400,000 employees from more than 15,600 Belgian companies in the private sector. The analysis allows companies to predict voluntary resignation and take proactive measures.
"With our research, we provide HR professionals in Belgium with a better insight into staff turnover," says Evy Rombaut of the Free University Brussels. "The information that is available in the staff database is often not fully utilised by HR professionals. Analyses of the available information can often bring to light valuable insights concerning staff turnover."
As expected, turnover is less high among older employees and employees with a longer service record. Employees who live further away from their work voluntarily resign more often. It is worth noting that a company car is not a factor in retaining Belgian employees.
"There are several explanations for this," explains Sven De Cremer, HR consultant at SD Worx. "Firstly, having a company car in Belgium is a very common supplemental benefit. So, it is highly likely that an employee will also receive a company car with a similar position at another firm. In addition, interest in company cars is declining. People are looking for alternative solutions for their mobility problems. This might explain why having a company car is no longer the deciding factor when it comes to staying with a firm or not. Lastly, there is also an external motivator. The absence of a company car may lead to dissatisfaction, but the presence of one does not create any extra loyalty."
Only among blue-collar workers does a higher salary ensure that they are less likely to leave the company. That this is not the case among white-collar workers, perhaps because white-collar workers with a higher salary often have a high profile and more opportunities to find a new job elsewhere. Also, for blue-collar workers, salary is generally more important.
Female blue-collar workers are more loyal to their employer than their male counterparts. Among white-collar workers, we see the opposite: female white-collar workers have a higher turnover than their male colleagues. The difference in turnover opportunities with men and women is smaller among white-collar workers than with blue-collar workers.
Lastly, researchers also exposed a difference between blue-collar and white-collar workers based on nationality. Blue-collar workers with a non-Belgian nationality are less likely to resign than their Belgian colleagues. With blue-collar workers, the reverse is true: non-Belgians, often expatriates, are more likely to resign.
Over the course of their career, the Belgian employee averages a total of three jobs. This is very few compared to America, where people have an average of sixteen job changes over their career.
"Resignation often has a negative connotation, even though there is nothing wrong with internal or external mobility. The contrary is true: new people on the work floor often bring a fresh perspective to the business. Offering your employees the opportunity to grow further internally is good for their engagement and motivation. Resignations are needed to keep the organisation dynamic and stimulate innovation," says Sven De Cremer.
On the other hand, resignations do create costs, they may have an impact on the continuity and productivity and companies would rather not see their good employees leave. Based on data analysis, it is possible to identify risk groups concerning turnover and make predictions. With it, one can substantiate the impact of turnover on the functioning of the organisation in figures. This way, companies will be able to take such proactive measures as, for example, investing more in raising the engagement and motivation levels among employees. This will then imply less staff turnover.
Beatrijs Wouters, Consultant – Grayling
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