Companies are run by people. It’s a given, everyone knows it, it’s an undisputable fact. A lesser known given (or at least something others try to deny) is that successful companies are run by talented people and an organization that puts a premium on talent management. And by “run”, we don’t mean just the folks in the c-suite or upper management — talented people contribute significantly to an organization, regardless of where in the organizational structure they are. All parts of the organization are important, and we wager anyone would answer that they’d rather have a talented, committed and driven rank-and-file employee as opposed to just having one that’s just painfully run-of-the-mill.
It’s one thing to find good talent for an organization; an even bigger task though, would be to manage that talent and retain it. Not only is the search for good talent hard in itself, but also costly and time-consuming. So it only makes sense that companies should do their best to have excellent talent management in order to keep that talent and make that effort and cost worth their while.
The problematic culture of employment “jumping”
Talent management and talent retention are a major problem in many industries today. Gallup reported that millennials are especially more prone to jumping from one job to another. The study revealed that close to a fourth of millennials — 21% — had changed jobs within the past year. In addition, only 50% of millennials also said that they foresaw themselves in the same company after a year. When Gallup looked at non-millennials, the turnover figure was three times lower, and 60% of them said that they would likely still be working for the same company in a year’s time. Furthermore, Gallup estimated that the U.S. economy loses $30.5 billion every year due to this culture of job jumping and poor talent management.
And poor talent management is costly, especially in the long run. Consider the cost of training, orientation, equipment and whatnot for an employee. Then he or she leaves in a year or less. It’s obviously a poor return on investment. All that knowledge and experience walks out the door along with the employee who is leaving. Not to mention that you’ll have to do the whole investment process again for that employee’s replacement.
Even time is wasted when turnovers are high — the human resources department would need to spend time doing exit interviews, processing all sorts of exit documents, advertising the vacancy and so on. Plus, the temporary vacancy would require other people to help pitch in, creating both additional cost for the company and additional dissatisfaction with the people who would be burdened to fill in the gaps.
Another downside to high turnovers would be the loss of dynamic in a team or group. Naturally, people who work together develop a sort of rhythm over time, which would need to be re-learned again every time a new person comes in. And especially with talented employees, this dynamic would likely have been very productive and creating a new bond with a new team member is at best has a 50/50 chance of success.
Even relationships with clients and customers can be affected by poor talent management and retention. The continuity of service is disrupted, and customers and / or clients would need to readjust their dynamic with new people in the team or a new point-of-contact person. In extreme situations, clients can very well pack up and bring their business elsewhere if they get frustrated with the constant change in personnel that affect the way they interact with the company.
Needless to say, a consistent and stable relationship between a company and its clients build more loyalty and better business in the long run. Part of what makes the consistent delivery of high-quality work and output is a highly-trained, highly-experienced, and highly-skilled workforce that has been with the company for a long time.
4 Tips to Keep Top Talent at Your Organization
Let’s face it: retaining top talent isn’t easy. But especially if you look at the bigger picture and take the long view of things, investing in ways to keep top talent on your side of the fence has benefits that more than overweigh the effort and cost these talent management initiatives entail. Let’s now look at a few effective ways to retail talent.
1. Conduct “stay” interviews
While many are familiar with the exit interview, an article from The Wall Street Journal recommends something called a “stay” interview. The WSJ says to ask questions like, “Why did you come to work here? Why have you stayed? What would make you leave? And what are your nonnegotiable issues? What about your managers? What would you change or improve?”
Knowing what makes employees stay is as critical (or even more important) to retaining top talent compared to information from an exit interview. While the data you get from exit interviews ARE helpful, the damage has already been largely done, given that the employee has already chosen to leave. Stay interviews, on the other hand, are a preventive measure that lets you step in and address issues that may lead to the loss of talented employees.
2. Consider employees’ work-life balance
Job search outfit FlexJobs reported that more than 80% of millennials consider their work-life balance as an important factor in staying in their current job and / or in their search for a new position elsewhere. Even non-millennials agreed, with more than 60% also saying that work-life balance was important to them.
We’ve written before on the ills of hustle culture; suffice to say that it shouldn’t be the way to go if you want to retain top talent. Instead, try for developing a sense and culture of deep work in employees, and constantly look for ways that they can feel fulfilled while also not needing to give up important time outside of work for their other pursuits, be it family, friends, hobbies, or whatnot. In addition, a culture of deep work makes for better productivity, more efficient operations, higher quality output, and lower costs. Considering the work-life balance of employees may seem counter-intuitive for some companies (especially traditional, old-school ones), but the benefits are there.
3. Look at performance data periodically; use these to develop learning opportunities
By periodically, we mean at least quarterly. And we don’t mean assess performance the way employees traditionally view performance assessments — one where their mistakes are magnified. Instead, change the whole definition and perception of these more frequent performance assessments to largely become ways for you to reach out to employees and address any issues they may have, as well as coach them in areas where they need improvement. Robert Half, a reputable recruitment firm, reported that retention rates for companies that had a strong learning culture were 30% to 50% more than organizations that didn’t have this kind of culture.
Talented employees always value the opportunity to improve and to learn, and these performance assessment sessions can very well be a means through which companies can determine learning opportunities that can create stronger loyalty as well as increase the skills and experience of its employees.
In addition, learning opportunities also create more talented and driven leaders. Leaders who are developed internally (another plus for employee retention) and are well-versed and knowledgeable are priceless gems for any organization. They can inspire, instruct and motivate others to become more productive, creative, and passionate contributors to an organization’s well-being (with motivational speeches, for example).
>> Recommended reading: Turning Negative Feedback Into a Positive
4. Develop a benefits package that is more in-tune with your employees’ needs.
Have a talented employee who’s also a committed parent? Maybe think of offering the opportunity for him or her to work from home. Companies should think of ways to enable people to pursue other aspects of their lives with as much passion as they do their tasks at work. This makes people value their job more. This is why a benefits package (obviously including things like health insurance, life insurance and a retirement-savings plans) plays a large part in helping retain employees and preventing high turnover rates. Additional perks like telecommuting or working from home also help a lot — not only with issues regarding turnover and productivity, but also with preventing problems like absenteeism at work.
Tapping management tools for better talent management
It’s also important for companies to realize the value of social technologies as well as workflow and workplace management tools in talent management. Social technology for one, encourages better communication within the organization; and we all know how important communication is in developing a successful business enterprise.
McKinsey stresses the importance of social technology in the organization, and estimated that “$900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value could be unlocked in just four sectors by products and services that enable social interactions in the digital realm.” The problem, it adds, is that “many companies, viewing social technologies as yet another tool to be implemented rather than as an enabler of organizational transformation, fail to identify the specific organizational problems social technologies can solve.” McKinsey recommends that companies look for ways to make social technologies more integrated into the culture, as well as using it to make internal communication systems simpler, more efficient, and more straightforward.
>> Recommended reading: Key Ways to Gain Effective Communication Skills
The same goes with workflow and workplace management tools. Runrun.it’s Smart Time Tracking tool, for example, enables organizations to determine how time is being spent. Metrics like tasks, projects, types of tasks, clients can all be used to create the appropriate data sets. This in turn helps organizations make improvements like creating more efficient operations, which again, in turn, help with creating a healthier work-life balance for employees.
The interface and overall design of the tool itself lends to easier use, allowing employees to better communicate and collaborate with each other. Another tool, the Dashboard, can be used to generate even more data, allowing a more organized workflow and better task prioritization, as well as improved productivity, among others.
These tools are also integral to talent management and retention initiatives as it also allows for performance measurement and evaluation based on real-time and updated data. What’s good about these types of tools is that they can be completely customized to fit your organization’s needs. To check a free trial, head over here.