Every employee wants to ensure there is some alignment between their individual career plan and the organisation's growth plan
Talent today knows what they want; organizations that align to these needs when creating their retention strategy fare better in keeping their critical talent
There is no doubt that workforce demands have seen continuous change in the past decade and more, and organizations have equally strived to cope with the same to retain their key talent. A common consensus among employers is that in the backdrop of recent economic uncertainty, key talent can be best retained by offering above market-level compensation, better bonus payouts or perhaps a fancy health plan. While all this is true, the fact that most organizations are competitive on these parameters, means the sentiment among employees is that it is not a differentiator that they consider critical to stay on in an organization.
The 2012 WorldAtWork report by Hay Group on Retention of Key Talent & the Role of Rewards shows that 65 percent of organizations consider retaining key talent as a major concern. And an even more scary reality is that only 51 percent of respondents were confident their organizations could retain key talent if the job market continued to improve.
The Hay Group employee opinion norms indicate that 20 percent of employees plan to look for a new job in the next two years — and another 20% plan to leave their employers within the next five years. Such a trend is mostly attributed to discontent in the workforce as a result of employees working much harder as a result of recent downsizing and the increased pressure to perform.
The truth about employment today is that every employee wants to ensure there is some alignment between their individual career plan and the organization’s growth plan. And clearly, the absence of a clear alignment between the two is reason enough for discontent in key talent, leading to exit. According to the Hay Group report, key talent consider the following methods as most critical for retention – ‘Discussed with key employees their future opportunities within the organization’ (84%); ‘provided tuition reimbursement and other educational opportunities’ (83%); ‘created a succession plan to replace individuals critical to success’ (82%) and ‘allowed flexible hours or telecommuting’ (80%). These inputs represent the new workforce expectations from their employer and can be effectively turned into retention strategies by organizations. Along with these, ‘paid key employees above the labor market’ (83%) continues to be a basic criterion for retention of key talent.
Today employees have clarity on what they want from life and their career, and given the endless options, they are not ready to compromise on the same. Unfortunately, employers tend to miss this insight more often than not and then struggle to correct it with all other retention remedies like pay hikes or rewards. It is more critical for employers to invest in creating a worthwhile job experience which aligns to the individual’s personal agenda. Thus, giving employees clarity on how their roles can connect to the larger organizational growth and how that features in his/her career progression is a critical piece of information that can become the most valued retention tool. Even if a key talent is ‘good at the job’, he/ she tends to move jobs – being ‘good at a job’ may not necessarily translate into ‘being happy doing that job’. While key talent is critical for the business, is the role assigned critical to the key talent’s personal career agenda? That’s a question that needs asking today. The endless list of answers (read retention tools) will not suffice if the question itself is inappropriate – and this requires deliberation at the employers’ end.