Employee Retention

How To Retain Your Best Talent To Stay Competitive

The coronavirus pandemic only accelerated the shift that was already taking place. Remote jobs, distributed and decentralized business management, and most of all: working from home using online management tools. The growing shift toward the use of machine learning in making corporate decisions and both the consumer expectation and demand for more personalized service experiences have paved the way for opportunities and threats for businesses worldwide.

With such a dynamic corporate culture, businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find great talent that meets the corporate needs of today. The constantly shifting landscapes of industries like technology, manufacturing, supply chain, engineering, and marketing are compelling businesses to recruit individuals that are well-versed with modern technology tools, trained to incorporate modern managerial methods, and most of all: individuals that can adapt to change.

More importantly, the scarce availability of such type of talent and the associated rise in demand in the post-pandemic business world has created a high availability of employment options for the technically able, making it harder and harder for organizations to retain their best talent.

According to a report published by Gartner, the U.S., it is highly likely that annual employee voluntary turnover will jump 20% in 2022 when compared to pre-pandemic rates.

Competitive businesses with highly efficient human resources departments focus on training new recruits to bring consistency to their work output. These training sessions for new recruits, when summed up, add a significant burden to businesses’ operations accounts. So losing new recruits doesn’t result in just a brain drain, it results in a significant loss of investment as well.

Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School coined the term ‘The Great Resignition’ back in May 2021 to describe the phenomenon that we’re seeing today. According to the United States Department Of Labor, more than 3.9 million people quit their job in April 2021.

However, great organizations are known for their adaptability and consequential triumph which results from their perseverance. There are several steps managers and company executives can take to retain the best talent within their company in order to stay competitive in the business landscape of today.

Create More On-The-Job Opportunities

Talented professionals are driven, and motivated. They constantly strive to become better at what they do. In fact, it’s the one trait that makes them so valuable in their careers. These individuals feel the need to make substantial progress in their careers, and the jobs that don’t allow for that, make them feel bound and unappreciated.

According to Prudential Financial’s Pulse of the American Worker survey, every 1 in 4 employees has the intention of quitting their jobs because they don’t see advancement in their current roles and consider these jobs as elements that are restricting the growth of their otherwise lucrative careers.

No matter the size of your organization, talented individuals working for you will feel like they are trapped if they don’t see opportunities for growth. There are several ways to create opportunities in order to retain your best talent.

The first step is to lay down clear roadmaps for career progression within your company. Having a transparent policy toward career progression will create a highly competitive environment among your employees. They will treat every task as an opportunity for growth when they see that their efforts are being compensated for. Promoting your best talent to higher, well-paying, roles with more benefits will help with their retention.

Offer Flexibility With Remote Work Options

The Prudential survey also concluded that the percentage of employees who wanted to stick with remote work at their current employers’ was as high as 87%. Corporations belonging to the technology industry employed a 2-year Work-From-Home policy that allowed employees to complete their tasks and let them collaborate via online communication channels.

According to the new global study conducted by the ADP Research Institute, pandemic-induced changes in priorities of the global workforce had made working from home a top priority for employees. In fact, according to their survey, as much as 64% of workers belonging to different industries across the United States would consider leaving their current employer if the latter did not adopt at least a hybrid work model that involved some days of out-of-office work.

Working from home has been a lucrative career choice for most talented individuals. McKinsey and Company found out that a hybrid work model with high-level communication channels that explained company visions and policies actually boosted employee productivity levels. It serves as not only a justification to provide your best talent with Work-From-Home options but also trumps the common employer’s argument that a Work-From-Home culture adversely affects the output of key business processes.

For industrial businesses that require their employees to perform an on-site duty, offering a leeway goes a long way. With flexibility and mobility, the best talent in organizations doesn’t feel like it’s being held up.

Encourage Two-Way Feedback

Talented, career-focused individuals always have something to contribute. These contributions have a lot to offer if taken into context with their roles within an organization. Allowing, and sometimes encouraging them to voice their concerns helps build their trust in the organization. Not only does voicing their opinion make them feel appreciated and wanted, but it also helps identify room for improvement within the organization that managers can use to make organizational processes more efficient.

According to research published in the Journal of Service Research, managers who sought feedback from those who were less satisfied with their roles in organizations, positively impacted their overall customer experience, thereby increasing revenue.

Think about collecting feedback beyond the average monthly reviews. Employees will feel more cared for within an organization if they are asked directly.

Offer Competitive Employment Benefits

According to WorkHuman, 66% of employees were waiting to review their company’s benefits before making the decision to keep their roles in the company. Talented, career-focused individuals have a lot of options these days when it comes to finding work opportunities. In order to stay competitive, managers need to come up with new and exciting new employment benefits in order to retain the best talent and stay competitive.

Offering flexible work options is a great way to induce interest in your workforce. From Work-From-Home options to offering fully-remote options are some of the many great ways to offer flexibility in order to both retain and attract the best talent.

Having competitive paid leave packages for your employees is another way you can make your employees consider sticking around for longer periods of time. Having clearly defined paid leave policies will allow your employees to make better, more informed decisions when they start to consider working for someone else.

Having a clearly defined pay structure and performance-based bonuses to incentivize your best talent is a great way to retain it. Employees that feel well-compensated tend to perform well within the organization and also stay longer.

Nourish A Great Company Culture

Company culture is a collection of psychological predispositions and basic assumptions that your talented employees have about your organization. They may describe it as “the way things are”, or “how things work here”. At the end of the day, your company culture will set the preconditions that affect the way how your best talent handles problems and how it considers retaining its position within your organization.

The key to having a great company culture is engagement. Organizations that have great company culture offer channels for employees to engage with each other and their managers.

It doesn’t take much to create a great company culture within an organizational setting. Engagement, being the driving force, helps employees feel respected when they witness their opinions being heard. They feel supported and want to contribute more to the organization. 

Organizations with the best company cultures embrace transparency, and inclusivity and recognize the importance of valuable contributions to their business goals. Great company cultures don’t just help retain the best talent, it also helps attract more of it.

Recruit Employees Who Share Your Vision

Retention starts are recruitment. Getting the right people on board with your organizational goals increases the chances of them staying with your organization for long periods of time. The first step toward achieving this is to advertise realistic job expectations so that applicants can understand what it is that is expected of them; what the organization’s plans are for the next 6, 12, and 24 months; and how it will help facilitate them in the advancement of their careers.

Explaining the key aspects of your company culture can help portray a clearer image to applicants that wish to join your organization. It helps them understand the type of work environment that they will get if they join.

Allow your employees to contribute their value to your company and make sure to highlight that value from time to time. Doing this will help them feel like they are a part of your company’s success story and will help you retain your best talent.

Lastly, it is important to identify employees that will stay the course. Identifying traits like team-playing, or things like having an interest in sports signify commitment and collaboration. Recruiters must look out for job-hoppers who, in most cases, have a history of changing 12 jobs in the last 10 years.

Make Job Roles More Clear

Miscommunication is the root of distrust. Organizations with clearly defined job roles tend to bypass issues like employee distrust and experience more productive output. With clearly defined roles, employees understand what to expect within the company. It helps set boundaries and prevents a sense of burnout from being built up among them.

“Organizations ‘move at the speed of trust,’ – Elaine Yang, HR Business Partner Manager at Lever.

Having clearly defined policies about other aspects of their roles such as compensations, work hours, and paid leave – all signify clear communication from the employer’s side. It’s also important to have clearly defined mediums for communicating and changes to these policies so that employees know where to look for updates.

This helps builds trust and loyalty. It also gives organizations clear pointers on how to better equip their workforce to perform their duties more efficiently. With clearly define roles, managers with high-level positions can make changes to organizational processes and measure outcomes more predictably.

Leverage Technology

According to a report published by Oracle, at least 50% of the workforce within most organizations is using some form of AI to complete their daily tasks. It is changing the relationship between employees and their organizations.

Artificial intelligence and, technology, in general, have already revolutionized how employees communicate with their managers. Tools like Jira, Asana, and Trello in tech companies are being used to micromanage and automate agile processes. Slack channels are replacing emails as the defacto standard for communication.

In order to retain your best talent and stay competitive in today’s constantly evolving business landscape, staying up-to-date with the latest technology trends is vital.

There is a significant amount of data that is being generated in employee-related human resource departments across all organizations. Businesses that leverage this data to understand patterns in the behavior of their workforce figure out ways to make their organizational processes more efficient, and learn how to increase employee satisfaction.

If an organization is technology-focused, it doesn’t just retain its best talent, it also goes on to attract new, fresher talent because of its competitive and modern work environment, and the accompanying progressive company culture.

Show Appreciation

Organization leaders that make their employees feel appreciated within their workplace retain them for longer periods of time. With more and more companies resorting to the hybrid work model in the post-pandemic world, appreciation and recognition have become two of the most important factors that directly impact the retention of talented individuals within organizations.

Working from home has increased burnout rates in organizations that employ some form of the Work-From-Home model in their organizational processes. In fact, COVID-19 increased burnout rates by 15% according to the Global Culture report published by O.C. Tanner. The report also found that organizations that have no consistent strategies in place to give employees the recognition they deserve to increase the odds of their burnout rates by 89%.

Burnout is inversely correlated with employee retention. Organizational leaders and HR managers must identify how they want their employees to be recognized. They have to be specific and on time when it comes to delivering feedback and recognizing the valuable contributions of high-performing individuals.

Recognition isn’t just top-down. Peer-peer recognition also plays a crucial role in preventing burnout rates from skyrocketing. Companies whose cultures thrive are good at inducing genuine connectivity within the workplace by connecting peers and managers.

In Conclusion

In today’s highly competitive business environment, great talented individuals are hard to find and even harder to keep around. With multiple employment options that bring a lot of benefits, companies are finding it increasingly difficult to retain their best talent.

In order to determine the various ways in which employee retention can be increased within an organization, managers and HR departments must clearly identify the cause of low employee-retention rates first. Once these causes are identified, it gets easy to incorporate policies and practices that boost employee morale and eventually: retention.

Recent reports published by leading human resource research and management firms point to various reasons why employee retention is at an all-time low. These points pertain to a lack of career growth within organizations and the associated lack of opportunities for talented individuals to move up the corporate hierarchy; companies not having great company cultures that are attractive to young talent; and miscommunication between management and the company’s best talent with regards to roles and overall company vision.

In order to retain the best talent within an organization, managers must enable communication to receive feedback from their employees about their work environment and provide competitive benefits that not only retain their best talent but also attract newer and fresher talent. Consistently incorporating such practices to get talented individuals on board will help companies stay competitive and innovative in today’s highly disruptive business landscape.