Employers facing battle

Bus operators will fight to keep good employees if there are too few career advancement prospects

By Sean Muir | July 5, 2012

Bus operators are fighting an uphill battle to keep good employees, with research showing the number one reason employees leave jobs in Australia is a lack of career advancement opportunities.

Presenting on workforce retention at BusVic’s 2012 Maintenance Conference and Bus Expo, Australian Human Resource Institute CEO Serge Sardo says about 50 percent of workers who leave organisations do so because of limited career prospects.

"The career advancement figure is an interesting one particularly for your industry," Sardo says.

"If you are a bus driver I would imagine the sorts of career advancement prospects would be quite limited – so you have real challenges in terms of how you keep your really good drivers."

But Sardo says operators’ objectives shouldn’t be to keep drivers, but to keep only high-performing drivers, with research on Australia’s workforce showing disengaged employees cost Australia about $31 billion dollars each year.

"There is regrettable and non-regrettable turnover," Sardo says.

"Regrettable turnover is when you lose people who are difficult to replace.

"Your whole objective is not just to keep people in the workplace - your objective is to engage people.

"I’m talking about employees who really want to work for you.

"We know that employees who really want to work for you cost you less."

Sardo says the best way to engage employees is to give them a sense of purpose and meaning in their job with strong leadership.

"It is not just about driving people from point A to point B – it’s about creating an adventure for people and giving them an experience," Sardo says.

"There is a lot of research that shows people don’t leave their workplace, they leave their bosses.

"Given that we are probably experiencing the most significant skill shortages in our history, I don’t think there are many businesses that can afford to not engage in good leadership and try to keep those great workers."

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