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Lucie Mitchell

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Staff development is weapon of choice in recession


Employers are choosing to focus on retention rather than recruitment in response to current resourcing issues, finds the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) Recruitment, Retention and Turnover survey.

This year’s report revealed that 73% of organisations find a lack of necessary specialist skills remains the key resourcing challenge, whilst 56% of employers are tackling this by concentrating on retention strategies such as training and career development opportunities – with 75% of employers saying that ‘additional training to allow internal staff to fill posts’ was the most effective recruitment initiative.
Encouragingly, where employers are still recruiting, 74% are turning their attention to the long term and are appointing ‘people who have the potential to grow’.
"This environment offers real opportunities for ambitious and motivated employees to secure learning and career progression opportunities that might have been more difficult to come by when firms were recruiting more regularly," said Jill Miller, resourcing and talent planning researcher at the CIPD.
Perhaps more worryingly, the survey also found that only 58% of employers have a formal resourcing strategy in place. This, said the CIPD’s public policy adviser Gerwyn Davies, puts a "question mark over whether tailored learning and development is equipping employees with the necessary business-critical skills for survival".
He added: "Employers will only be in a position to offer the right training when key skills/development needs are highlighted through a formal resourcing strategy aligned to business objectives. Only then will real business impact and increased retention – as employees feel that they are being efficiently developed – be experienced."
One organisation that is currently enjoying high volumes of job applications and a growth in staff retention is McDonald’s. David Fairhurst, senior vice president, chief people officer, McDonald’s UK & Northern Europe, said:
"Given the current levels of unemployment, it’s no surprise that we are attracting thousands of applications each day. But, what’s particularly encouraging is that the strong performance of our business means that our doors remain open to those who display the right attitude and potential to join us. We are hiring up to 140 people each day, and those employees are choosing to remain with us for considerably longer thanks to the range of opportunities we offer."

One Response

  1. Development retains good people
    Agree – now is the time to develop people.
    I have just finished a 6 month project with a business that was suffering losses of talent to predatory competitors. They were losing 1-2 people per month before we started a programme of development for HiPo’s and retention targets but only 1 loss after starting (and that person was enticed back). Format was a sequence of monthly 1 then 2 day meetings with an eclectic mix of personal development and business skills. The response from the 35 people involved was excellent, and their managers have noticed performance improvements for all varying from 25%-157% performance / sales increments too.

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Lucie Mitchell

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Lucie Mitchell