Workplaces today are constantly changing. Not only are organisations required to keep up with continuous changes in technology and markets, they also need to contend with the fact that most young people don’t want to work for companies – they want to start companies. Generation Y is said to be the most entrepreneurial generation ever and MBA graduates today, prefer to work for smaller companies or stat-ups – places with an entrepreneurial culture, with structures they describe as flat and non-hierarchical. Once these companies hire them, it is also with the understanding that they might not stay very long. Platforms such as LinkedIn make it impossible to keep the world from connecting with, and recruiting, top talent from every organisation, due to the general preference for individuals to build a portfolio of jobs – as opposed to staying in one job for life. This is, after all, the age of entrepreneurship and self-employment.
In 2016, the Independent Professionals Association in the UK estimated that there were about 4.64 million self-employed people. This shift in employment and the way we work over the last ten years is partly due to the newer entrants in the labour market – millennials are expected to constitute 72% of the workforce by 2025. It is also driven by accelerated disruption and technological innovation that is consistently changing how we operate in the working world, or even how we perceive a working day.
In order to attract and retain the best talent, it is necessary for organisations to do more than just create new and desirable products and services. They need to think differently about the way employees are treated. This isn’t something to fear, but to embrace. Salary, retirement plans and vacation benefits are high on the list of why talented employees take a job, but these aren’t enough to keep them with the same organisation for long. While job satisfaction is a way to increase an organisation’s employee retention rate, these are some of the other strategies that organisations should keep in mind, for retaining talent.
1. Create an environment that makes employees feel like an asset to the company
This is a very vital step in the process of talent retention. It is necessary for organisations to make employees feel like they are an important part of the company framework. Involve them in dialogue regarding rules or changes that affect the organisation. Encourage goal-setting and let them make their own choices as often as possible.
2. Make company goals and expectations clear
Make sure there are clear job descriptions so the employees are aware of what is required of them. If there are changes that need to be made, clear and direct communication is the way forward – learning through osmosis never helps employee retention. Good employees want to please their employer, but it’s necessary for them to know what it is that they need to do to make this happen.
3. Create an open and honest work environment
Employers should give feedback on work performed and be willing to really listen to the concerns of their employees. Chance meetings in the hall where social greetings are exchanged are good, but do not take the place of actually sitting down for a face-to-face discussion on work-related concerns. Employers need to be open to listening to new ideas, accept suggestions for problem-solving and be available when employees ask for guidance. It’s important to keep top talent informed about company news and happenings– it prevents rumours from circulating or creating misconceptions and misunderstandings. And, of equal importance, it is vital for employers to communicate problems or setbacks to their employees clearly.
4. Provide opportunities to grow and learn
Organisations need to keep providing employees with chances to grow and learn, whether this is through tuition for continuing education classes, or even focussed sessions for honing on-the-job skills. At the end of the day, employees need to be given challenging and stimulating work. Tapping into their passion and allowing them to focus their time and energy on projects they can enjoy goes a long way as well. Take time to discuss employee career development plans, as well as the opportunities for growth that are available to them within the organisation. In the long run this fosters a more profitable work environment for all parties concerned.
5. Recognise and reward good work
While monetary bonuses are great, actual recognition of a job well done goes a long way in creating good will and loyalty. This recognition needs to be specific – “Good job” is acceptable, but “Good job on the XYZ project” is even better. In order to retain talent, organisations need to make their employees feel appreciated, respected and worthwhile. Poor talent retention rates indicate that when employees feel undervalued and unappreciated, they look for other employment. They need to feel that their contributions to the organisation’s business and profit margins are important. At the same time, the feedback and praise for jobs well done need to be sincere. Top talent is smart enough to know the difference between genuine appreciation and platitudes.
If your company is going through a transition and you’re faced with leadership challenges, we’re here to help. Expedite Consulting hosts the most thought-provoking HR events in Europe, bringing together senior HR leaders and innovators. To learn more about our next event register here.