Drawing on ten impressive years in the world of recruitment, Benchmark’s Becca Morris dissects the troublesome phenomenon of the ‘two-year itch’ within businesses and suggests a variety of measures businesses can adopt to help retain talent.

I’ve been told time and time again that anything fewer than two years’ service on a CV is a concern. I probably shared this view in the early days of my career, but after meeting countless candidates over the years, I no longer agree. In my view, there is a unique set of circumstances for every business and employee as to why a role may or may not work out.

Becca Morris
Benchmark MD, Becca Morris

I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of candidates that have been discounted for roles due to longevity on their CV. This is something I often challenge, especially given the time I spend with each candidate I represent to understand their career history and motivations.

I am not saying that ‘job-hopping’ is a good thing, but I’ve had numerous conversations with panicked candidates who feel they should stick out a role for the sake of their CV. I find this keenness for two years’ service interesting; however, I am not convinced that staying in a role where a candidate is unhappy is right. I am sure we all share the view that employees should be happy, engaged and fulfilled, as it only positively contributes to the business.

In this month’s column, I have outlined my suggestions informed by how I believe regularly reviewing roles, responsibilities and salaries can reduce the risk of losing your top talent and keep employees engaged.

Is the role challenging?
If a role is not challenging enough, a candidate’s skill set can become stagnant and you risk them moving on. I recommend businesses regularly assess and update roles to ensure they align with employees’ skills and ambitions. Encouraging continuous learning and providing further training opportunities are likely to help businesses retain employees.

Has the role changed within two years?
Regularly reviewing and updating employee’s roles is vital to maintaining engagement and retaining talent. Employees feel valued and supported when they are offered fresh challenges and responsibilities. By reshaping roles, employers also cultivate an engaging and adaptable team, which will only aid overall success.

“I find this keenness for two years’ service interesting; however, I am not convinced that staying in a role where a candidate is unhappy is right. “

Has their salary been reviewed?
Regular performance and salary reviews are crucial. The job market is competitive, therefore businesses must ensure salaries are competitive. Regular reviews acknowledge skills, experience, loyalty and will motivate employees to stay in the business.
I would especially recommend employers prioritise this step given the National Minimum Wage increase from 1st April.

Have you recognised and rewarded performance?
By regularly reviewing and rewarding performance within your business, you are much more likely to cultivate a happy workforce and keep talent. There are many ways in which employers can recognise and reward performance. As mentioned above, ensuring your team are remunerated fairly is extremely important. You may also consider public praise by highlighting exemplary work, offering promotions, or offering additional training and development opportunities to show employees appreciation for their hard work.

Do you have a retention strategy?
Ensuring you have a retention strategy in place will protect the stability of your business. Not only does high turnover impact your workflow and team morale, but you will also incur unnecessary and expensive recruitment and training costs. A retention strategy incorporating competitive compensation, professional development and recognition should maintain a highly skilled and motivated workforce.

In summary, to ensure we are retaining employees and reducing turnover within two years, we should focus on providing growth and development opportunities, offer competitive compensation and benefits packages and recognise and reward achievements.


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