Top talent held back: 7-in-10 ‘smart talent’ retail employees unable to reach their full potential at work

A new CoreHR study, Smart Talent Expects, reveals the significant disconnect between the expectations of UK employees and their experiences at work.

According to the study, which examines the beliefs and behaviours of 1000 smart talent workers - those who stand-out due to their drive, ambition and attitude – 7-in-10 in the retail sector claim being held back from reaching their full potential at work.

The research reveals smart talent employees identify as problem-solvers, self-reliant and constant learners. 82% of those working in retail say they are self-driven to achieve their best at work, with 72% believing it's important their work has meaning and impact. 57% also see digital technologies as playing a central role in enabling them to work to the best of their abilities.

Dean Forbes, CEO, CoreHR commented: "Ultimately, it's people who power organisations forward. Smart talent are the real change-makers. By unleashing their smart talent's full potential, business leaders can enable spectacular growth by attracting similar employees, inspiring others and setting-up a culture of success."

"As the workforce changes to be more expectant, transient and multi-generational, managing talent requires careful thought, leadership, great culture and empathy. The right technology makes this much easier by ensuring everyone has the opportunity to succeed, from high-performers with the ability to shine, to those needing more support to improve."

Further emphasising the need to foster smart talent, 96% of retail respondents claim their employer could benefit from more of their skills and strengths. Moreover, 46% also say the technology currently available to them at work actually hinders their performance.

Although identified as the most attractive quality in an employer by smart talent, 6-in-10 feel their organisation doesn't listen to its employees' opinions. In fact, only half (52%) of smart talent say the reality of their role measures-up to the expectations they had when they first started.

In addition, only 34% of retail smart talent believe their organisation has helped them develop a clear career path. Even if it meant a decrease in pay, half (51%) of smart talent employees would apply for a new role if it gave them more freedom and control in the direction of their work.

However, smart talent employees do give an indication of how they would like their employers to help. 69% would like their organisation to spend more time and resources on helping them to develop, taking shared responsibility for their professional development (79%), personal (69%) and financial (67%) well-being.

Forbes continued: "Employers have a fight on their hands to appeal to the very best talent in the market. With their exceptional capabilities critical to navigating today's politically and economically volatile market, leaders must prioritise enabling their best talent to flourish. By using smarter HR technologies to engage with employees, leaders can come closer to meeting smart talents' expectations of a fulfilling career. Fully unleashing smart talent not only benefits those individuals but has real, tangible business impact."

The research, conducted by Censuswide and commissioned by CoreHR, surveyed 1022 UK workers including those in financial services (100), retail (105), legal services (16), professional services (101), higher education (101), healthcare (102), leisure and hospitality (101), manufacturing (102), housing (6), transportation (77), biotech and pharma (14) and other industries (197).

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