An organisation that is proactively engaged with its employees will always find it easier to attract and retain talent. The best way to do this is to ensure there is an open dialogue between employers and employees, the correct support framework is provided and there is plenty of opportunity for recognition and reward when results are achieved. My team of researchers speak with hiring managers every day and we have compiled a short outline of some of the elements they say are the key to successfully fostering proactive all-round retention programs. Interestingly, such programs also inevitably impact job productivity and satisfaction along the way.
The importance of first impressions shouldn’t be underestimated. An efficient onboarding process not only sets up a new joiner in terms of their core job function but also helps them acclimatise to the company culture and, of course, makes them feel welcome. Ultimately, a smooth onboarding process results in an employee reaching their optimum performance level as quickly as possible.
Recognition and Reward
One of the crucial facets of employee retention is to recognise and reward performance with tangible benefits. Having a formal structure in place conveys a positive and consistent message that employees buy into.
The most common reason for employees seeking better opportunities outside of the firm is the lack of financial growth, which as recruiters we hear every day from most of the candidates that approach us. A weak compensation progression plan can not only act as a trigger for employees to consider a move but may also negatively impact confidence and self-belief, resulting in weaker performance. It may also, in some cases, have a cascading effect on other employees, thereby having negative impact organisation-wide eventually leading to high levels of attrition affecting team performance.
Bonuses can further provide a sense of achievement quintessential to the overall growth of an employee. It is instrumental in conveying appreciation for specific achievements, or recognition of a contribution to the team or firm wide performance that further motivates the employees, which will encourage them to stay with the firm.
Benefits and Perks
Benefits and perks are the non-wage part of compensation but can be a pivotal factor in an employee’s decision-making process when choosing one organisation over another. This holds true even when an employee is planning to make a move out of the firm. Non-monetary benefits like work from home or creche facilities, for example, can be important life-enhancing considerations for an employee and a major factor in their on-going happiness at work and job satisfaction, often outweighing the benefits of alternative higher paid roles. Increasingly, we are finding that candidates are asking more and more about these factors that affect their lifestyles sometimes more than their paycheck does. The lack of benefits can stop a conversation about a role before it has really been explored properly.
Career Development and Progression
A well-defined career progression path can be a formidable tool to retain driven employees in an organisation. For employees who have a set life and career goal, this factor may have more weightage than salary. In addition to this, employees will also look at formal training and skill enhancement modules which is an indication of the value a firm bestows on their employees.
A career path only lays out the structural hierarchy of progression may give the employee an idea of where they are headed professionally, but an employee development plan presents a more thorough account of when and how they get there. It serves as a guide that encompasses everything from the objective requirements of the role, including target, growth projections and other tangible matrices to the non-tangible soft skills like temperament, attitude and management skills essential to undertake the journey. In addition to this, a career development plan will also outline the organisation’s contribution to enriching the employees’ skill set in the form of structured training modules which permanently enhance the employee’s profile.
This value addition instils reverence in the company as an employer and motivates the employees to think very hard before they decide to move on.
Creating the right environment for employees to most effectively undertake their role is an integral element of a well-rounded employee retention plan. It is imperative for the firm to ensure they imbibe the right culture and encourage free and unencumbered communication channels between the senior management and their team members. Such an environment is likely to stimulate employees to tune into their work with vigour and dedication thereby impacting the overall work culture positively. However, it is the prerogative of the management to inspire and set a narrative which the employees buy into, especially considering it is often the senior team that a prospective employee will meet prior to joining.
Proactive on-going employee retention practices like the above are known to offer sustainable cost-effective growth to the firm and can also increase the overall branding of the organisation in the job market which also attracts the right kind of talent. Certainly, as researchers, our job is easier when we can confidently speak with candidates about an organisation knowing it has excellent measures in place to look after its employees.