Retaining talent: This is a topic that has been researched, studied and agonised over by many companies, countless times. It is a question that surfaces at HR summits, engagement seminars, retention brainstorms and throughout boardrooms countrywide. So how do successful companies do it? And how can you implement these strategies into your organisation?
There is unfortunately no standard answer, but there are definitely points you, as a business owner, can consider.
Consider different generations within your business
A survey conducted by Careerbuilder in the USA among 2611 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3991 employees concluded that 39% of employers are concerned they will lose top talent in the next year, 66% of employees were satisfied at work and 25% were planning to change careers within the next year.
Talent retention is therefore a crucial area to focus on. In the same survey salary, benefits, flexible schedules and employee recognition were all important factors when employees were asked what’s important to them.
The importance of these factors however varies depending on age, generation, values and experience. Says Laura Reynolds CEO of Recruitgroup: “the generational gap plays a huge part in retaining talent, and speaking to these various groups and understanding that they are different and have different internal motivators goes a long way in retaining talent.
“A generation X (born 1966 – 1976) employee will be motivated by benefits, performance bonuses and stability whereas generation Y (born 1988 – 1994) will want flexible hours, on the spot recognition and are driven by a desire to make a difference. As you can see, you will really need to decipher which generation you’re speaking too and differentiate your retention strategies based on this.”
Once you have decided on your company’s generational split you will need to decide on what areas you need to look at. Is it increased salaries? Implementing performance bonuses or flexitime?
If 90% of your sales team is Gen Y, it is safe to say that they would be motivated by flexible working hours, however this cannot be implemented in isolation and needs to be done holistically to see what makes business sense. Based on the above and acting typically towards what your business is made up of you can work towards the following steps:
Create an environment where people feel valued
This seems like such a simple concept but very few companies do this. Small things like greeting everyone by name, celebrating birthdays and asking for their opinion on important decisions all add up to people feeling valued and ultimately very happy and loyal to their companies.
Reward, recognise and appreciate good work
It is vital to acknowledge good work on a continuous basis. If a job is well done then depending on the particular persons generation this reward can be either a bonus pay out, time off work, a team lunch etc. You can find out from your staff what they see as a reward and implement that. Remember that no task is too small to be rewarded, if it’s done well it needs to be acknowledged.
Encourage open and honest communication
The majority of people will leave a company because they feel that their manager doesn’t listen to them. If you have an open door policy and encourage honest discussion with your employees you will be able to understand better whether they’re unhappy or satisfied.
The communication works both ways and you need to continuously communicate your plans, ideals and expectations with them so that everyone is on the same page.
Identify new career paths and skills training
If you feel that there are currently no accessible paths in your business, perhaps it’s time to look at new areas of business that can create new career paths.
Top talent will need to know that there is room for them to grow and you don’t want to lose them because your company couldn’t offer them an opportunity to aspire to.
Skills training will go hand in hand with this and if a company can provide valuable training, there really is no reason to leave.
Invest in wellness strategies
This goes hand in hand with feeling valued. If a company can implement health and wellness programs that have the best interests of their employees at heart then you really are on the road to retaining talent. This could be healthy canteen lunches, gym memberships, counselling services or as simple as providing fresh fruit on a weekly basis. This will go a long way in motivating staff.
Encourage a culture of Intrapreneurship
A strategy that Google uses to retain its top employees is to give them autonomy to create businesses within their business. For example a top executive wanted to leave and start her own email marketing company.
Google offered her to stay and start the business up within Google, she now manages over 30 people and email marketing is one of the biggest business units of the company. Instead of losing this talented individual to a competitor, Google was able to harness her skills. A win win for both sides.
Attracting and more importantly retaining the best talent in the industry takes time and effort and unfortunately there is no quick fix. In the long run however it will pay off for you and your business.