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Do you have what it takes to keep your talent?

Since The Great Resignation of 2021, talent leaders have been asking themselves questions such as why top talent might leave their business, what can be done to address career progression concerns, and what initiatives can be introduced to reduce churn.

According to the 2022 Labor Force Survey by the Office for National Statistics, resignations rose sharply from the end of 2020 and significantly exceeded their pre-pandemic levels in the final quarter of 2021. However, this is not because workers decided to abandon work; instead, we are seeing a rise in workers resigning primarily to start new jobs for other employers. The only age group where there has been an increase in people leaving the labor force has been among the over-50s, who have been retiring in larger numbers than normal.

It appears most workers resigned to go to new jobs within the same industry, but the reasons for recruitment difficulties differ by sector. For example, the manufacturing sector has been hit by early retirements, whereas the hospitality sector is suffering from a lower inflow of younger workers.

Click to read Megatrends in Compensation Planning and HCM Gated


So, what can be done to improve talent engagement and retention strategies?

With role vacancies reaching peak numbers worldwide, HR leaders need to move quickly to retain their talent. Understanding the causes of employee churn and how to mitigate them is vital. Learning more about connecting employees with experiences that elevate them and allow them to flourish while also aligning their career ambitions with your business goals and the skill gaps you’re looking to fill is going to be essential.

In a rapidly changing job market, employees are rethinking what they want from their careers. For employers, this makes hiring and retaining key talent an urgent priority and spells the end of the one-size-fits-all career model. Business leaders need to rethink the value they provide to their employees to stay competitive and reduce talent leakage from their organization.

The last two years have thrown challenge after challenge at talent leaders, forcing most to act reactively, leaving little time to consider the bigger picture. So, let’s look at some ideas to add to your talent strategies.

Listen to your people

We all like to be heard, and your people are no different. Employees must be allowed to feel comfortable enough to express their true fears, concerns, and questions. Listening to your people shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to your talent retention strategy. A global survey carried out in 2021 found that the majority (86%) of employees feel their colleagues aren’t heard fairly or equally. In fact, 63% of employees feel their voice has been ignored in some way by their manager or employer.

When your people feel heard, it allows them to feel that their needs are being met. Effective communication and feedback also help to promote psychological safety, trust, and a sense of belonging. People will feel more engaged with their work and the organization. High levels of engagement are consistently associated with higher levels of employee retention. But that’s not all businesses stand to gain from listening to their employees. The survey also revealed that organizations are far more likely to perform well financially (88%) when their employees feel heard and engaged.

  • Foster a fair and open culture – and let your people feel safe to share their thoughts and concerns.
  • Don’t just wait for feedback – actively seek it. This could be in employee surveys, one-to-one meetings, or informal chats.
  • Conduct exit interviews every time you lose someone to understand the reasons and identify common themes.
  • Consider conducting stay interviews to help prevent employees from leaving. Understanding what your peoples’ aspirations are enables you to help them reach their goals within your organization.
  • Encourage full participation at meetings.
  • Use strategies to prevent the loudest voices from dominating.
  • Ensure that management is both visible and accessible.
  • By publicly responding to employees’ concerns, you’ll help to create a culture of openness and trust. 

Invest in your people

Your employees are your greatest asset. Investing in talent retention means understanding what motivates them and supporting them in their aspirations and goals. One way of doing this is to offer learning and development opportunities. Investing in learning and development shows that you’re committing to your peoples’ futures.

Creating a continuous learning environment is one of the ways that workplaces are set to change in the next 10 years, according to a report from Gartner. Constant digital upskilling will become necessary as the pace of technological changes accelerates. People who feel that their employer nurtures their skills and professional development are more likely to feel more engaged with their work, and as an organization, you will:

  • Create a team that feels cared for and nurtured.
  • Close skills gaps.
  • Enable people to cope with current and future challenges.
  • Promote and support efficiency and optimum performance

Focus on career progression

Businesses have traditionally taken a rigid approach to career progression – complete your goals and move up to the next rung on the ladder. But this linear approach has often created negative outcomes for both the business and its employees.

Employees end up tied into one particular progression pathway, unable to acquire new skills outside their immediate remit or shift into another department where they could add value. This means that if they’re unhappy in their role, they often have little choice but to leave, even if it’s not their first choice.

Meanwhile, employers often don’t realize the full value of their employees, and people leave before achieving their true potential, lacking the opportunities or resources to learn new skills or move into a more fulfilling, valuable role. This results in less engaged teams, a less attractive value proposition for new joiners, and higher churn.

To grow and retain talent, businesses need to take a more strategic, holistic view of career progression and align ambitions with business goals and skills gaps. Think about:

  • Solving internal skills gaps by upskilling existing people.
  • Cut costs by increasing and making more effective use of your existing talent rather than spending on new hires.
  • Providing more value to people by letting them learn new skills and try new roles.
  • Encouraging a more inclusive approach based on ability rather than time served.
  • Aligning value with the demands of the next generation of talent looking for a sense of purpose from work.

Achieving this requires a shift in organizational mindset and a clear, shared understanding of what skills matter and how to manage them across the organization.

Reward people

Does recognizing your peoples’ efforts by giving them work perks really matter when it comes to boosting employee retention? REBA’s The Rewards Report found that 82% of people who felt motivated had received perks. Feeling motivated is an important aspect of developing employee engagement, and according to the report, engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their jobs than their disengaged counterparts.

It’s likely that you have a diverse workforce with varying needs when it comes to benefits. For this reason, it’s important to consider what your employees will benefit most from when it comes to perks and benefits packages.

In a similar vein, equitable pay should now be a topic on everyone in your leadership teams’ lips. Word gets out, and if you’re under or overcompensating anyone, then they (and others) will be more likely to experience disengagement – and they will eventually leave to seek fairer compensation elsewhere. Compensation management tools are becoming an increasingly popular tool in HR teams’ arsenals to help create cultures of transparency around pay – making sure everyone knows how and why they’re being paid the way they are, and that nobody is being unfairly prioritized over anyone else.

Deliver a great onboarding experience

When considering employee retention strategies, it’s important not to overlook the whole employee journey. As an organization, you need to focus on retaining employees from day one. Even before onboarding, your new employees have built up a picture of what it’s like to work at your organization through communications with the HR team or their new manager. It’s also likely they’ve been checking you out on social media too! 

Effective onboarding increases employee retention by 82%. This adds up to a pretty good reason why it’s worth investing in your onboarding experience. Throwing employees in at the deep end is never going to turn out well. It creates pressure from the outset and can leave employees feeling unsupported, unmotivated, and ultimately disengaged.

Create an inclusive culture

Every organization has its own culture, whether created by design or developed of its own accord. When looking at employee retention strategies, it’s important to ensure that your culture is the best it can be to give employees a great employee experience. A few things to remember:

  • Creating and developing a great culture is an ongoing task.
  • Involve everyone - it’s not just down to HR to create or develop it.
  • Every one of your people plays a part in building your organization’s culture.
  • What matters to individual employees may vary, but there will be common themes when it comes to your overall culture.
  • Often, the right culture is more important than a higher salary.

Final thoughts

Retention has always been a KPI for HR teams. No business wants to lose valuable employees and all the expertise that goes with them. Nor does it want to absorb the financial consequences of employee turnover. It’s crucial that organizations are willing to invest time and money into their people. Your people are individuals, so it’s vital that your organization tailors and tweaks its strategies accordingly. The rewards of doing so are definitely worthwhile.

Learn more about how Unit4 can help

Unit4’s HCM solution is a platform that unifies all employee performance data to create a holistic view of your workforce, their skillsets, and how these impact on your organization’s financial top and bottom line. Our solutions empower you to create great employee experiences through ongoing dialogue between employees and managers, address skills gaps through our L&D module, and focus on what matters to your people and how they can contribute to company performance. Our Compensation Planning module allows you to set compensation plans that are both competitive and equitable across your entire workforce.

To discover more about how Unit4 can help your organization with a modern and flexible approach to talent management, check out our Talent Management solution (or click here to book a demo).

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