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Liam Butler



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Three strategies businesses should adopt to retain talent


More than a third of HR directors have seen employee turnover steadily increase in the last three years according to recent research by recruitment firm Robert Half. The research suggests that despite companies investing time, money and effort into keeping their workforce happy, they are still struggling to retain talent.

What do employees value most from their organisation? Do they want more workplace perks, better salaries or perhaps a chance to win a holiday in Morocco? With employee turnover on the rise, there is a clear discrepancy between current retention strategies and the reasons why employees leave their organisation.

Start with why

The Robert Half survey found the primary reasons an employee might choose to move on are boredom and frustration with their current role or company, poor work-life balance and stagnant career prospects.

While boredom and frustration was identified as the main reason for staff turnover across companies of all sizes, this was particularly evident in large enterprises.

One significant consequence of employee turnover is an increase in the number of new joiners in the workforce. New hires are expensive. Direct recruitment cost and longer-term training and development takes, on average, eight months to reach full productivity, according to the Allied Workforce Mobility Survey.

This also comes with the loss of cultural and intrinsic company knowledge that is almost impossible to replace by direct hiring.

Most organisations realise that their people are the real secret behind success. If employees are happy to jump ship to gain new skills and more varied experiences, companies need to find ways of offering these opportunities within their organisation.  

The traditional one-size-fits-all approach to managing talent is not fit for the modern enterprise. A stagnant approach that offers little in the way of individually curated career development fails modern organisations and their employees.

High-performing organisations realise that creating a supporting growth and mobility culture is the key to engaging and retaining employees. While focus on employee development should be a fluid and ever-evolving activity, there are three specific strategies high-performing organisations should adopt to help retain and nurture their talent:

1. Personalise the employee experience

Modern employees are driven by varied skills development and career growth opportunities. Rather than promotions and perks, they expect employers to provide meaningful work and flexible career progression. For employees to move toward success, they need a personalised vision.

Successful organisations offer employees flexible career progression paths aligned to their skills and then support them with preparation and the tools and resources they need for continued development. This enables employee engagement and empowers employees to move up the career ladder and contribute to business success.

2. Enable career progression

Meaningful career growth needs to be enabled for each individual employee. The best performing businesses place learning at the centre of their employee experience, providing opportunities for individualised development and closing the gap between what employees are offered and what they actually need.

They craft frameworks that align with the precise skills and capabilities their employees need to prepare for career progression. Offering the right tools and technology makes it easy for employees to continuously develop in the direction of their goals, without sacrificing performance in their current roles.

3. Build a culture of growth

A growth-based culture rewards learning and creates talent agility. High-performing organisations treat employee satisfaction as a business objective and as a consequence link their employees’ development and career progression to business results.

Building a growth-based career culture means focusing on continuous growth, supporting employees in developing new skills, and encouraging employees to move laterally and vertically across silos and functions.

Where personal development is a regular part of conversation and careers are designed around experiences, employees are more motivated, equipped and engaged to take on new challenges and roles within the business.

The power from within

Employee success and organisational success are not mutually exclusive.  When organisations prioritise internal career mobility, they inspire dedication, drive employee retention, create talent agility within the organisation, nurture tomorrow’s leaders and boost company culture.

Internal career mobility gives employees greater opportunities for advancement while enabling them to hone specialised skillsets.

Embracing internal mobility not only helps organisations in time and cost savings, but also in retaining top performers, growing their talent pipeline and reaping the rewards and potential of experienced talent.  

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Liam Butler


Read more from Liam Butler

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