Retaining talent can contribute to the long-term success of businesses and organizations. Yet according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s report on job trends, The Great Resignation in 2021, where over 47 million workers left their jobs, has led to a decline in labor force participation rates. As it's already a struggle to fill 3.8 million open positions, companies must intensify their efforts to retain their current workers and remain competitive. This article looks into companies' common struggles in talent retention and how these issues can be addressed to achieve better productivity and performance.
The key to devising and implementing strategic actions for talent retention lies in understanding what makes employees leave in the first place. When a World Economic Forum article projected that the resignation phenomenon could continue throughout 2022, results from a global survey revealed compensation to be the main reason why people leave or change their jobs. The gender gap in both pay and participation caused job dissatisfaction among women. Beyond financial rewards, intangible factors such as job fulfillment and workplace identity were also found to drive attrition if left unmet.
While a record number of people quitting their jobs occurred during the pandemic, the picture is far more complex. Global crises only exacerbated long-standing issues like demotivation and burnout. Since startups had to shift to remote work arrangements, those who failed to streamline communication and collaboration were at higher risk of leaving their employees disengaged.
Meanwhile, startups that forced employees to work long hours and go beyond their job scope due to fewer resources led to a skewed work-life balance. The lack of job security and opportunities for progression in a budding organization can also be a factor for employees to seek companies with better offers and career pathways.
Workers are more likely to work for companies where they can envision themselves progressing and succeeding. Insights on engagement and retention by LHH thus emphasize internal talent mobility as a cost-effective retention strategy. Rather than spending resources on new talent pools for unfilled positions, employers can assess the skill sets of existing employees, start periodic career conversations, provide accessible and flexible learning channels, and embed internal mobility in the work culture from recruitment to leadership and management. These efforts must be integrated with the proper tools to track and monitor impact, e.g., feedback surveys, key performance indicators, and detailed dashboards.
Quality training can further reinforce the connection between current and emerging roles in the organization. A previous article on ‘How to Invest in Your Employees’ discusses how training can both empower employees with an improved skill set and protect the business from external threat and competition. This training must cover all bases, from the top and middle management positions to entry-level staff.
When fewer resources are available for training, incentives, and rewards, companies must still learn how to work with turnover and prepare for departures. A CNBC report about a tech company’s turnover approach discusses how documentation of institutional knowledge and processes can ensure the same level of service and support for clients even when an individual leaves. Transparency must also start at the recruitment phase in order to manage employee expectations when it comes to salary and career ladders.
It is vital for companies, especially those starting in the industry, to be proactive in addressing attrition and turnover rates through a cycle of research, implementation, and evaluation. Whether the retention strategies are broad-based or targeted to specific roles or positions, promoting retention and progression leads to huge gains in terms of finances and organizational culture.
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