possible to create a culture, in today’s climate, that engages and retains
talent? Can you foster loyalty and commitment in your workplace?
Career Systems International addressed these
critical questions with 25 global talent leaders, at their annual Retention
Convention. After a day of discussion, debating, benchmarking and brainstorming,
this group collectively recognized that the challenge today is not just about
retaining talented people, but more importantly, about fully engaging them. It
is about capturing their minds and hearts at each stage of their work lives. To
be fully engaged requires emotional involvement in the work. This leads to
increased productivity, higher customer satisfaction, and greater profits.
Engaged employees bring value to organizations and improve the organization’s
competitive position. In turn they reap personal rewards from the work they do.
Their engagement, commitment and loyalty are a result of being challenged,
developed, appreciated, heard and respected.
All agreed that the term employee retention
has acquired new meaning or, perhaps, new importance during recent economic
turmoil. They saw the disengaged employee as a psychological casualty of talent
mismanagement. Employees who leave are the physical casualties. Both drain the
organization of the brainpower and commitment that is vital to ensuring
productivity and profitability.
So, How to Keep Them?
The findings from Career Systems
International’s ongoing Retention Driver Survey supports what the talent
leaders themselves have found: there is no real mystery about what keeps good
people in their organizations. The key factors include: challenge, exciting
work, career growth, development, a good boss, working with great people and,
surprisingly at a lower priority, fair pay. The mystery lies in how to apply
this knowledge in today’s fast-paced, competitive work environments. It was
interesting to note that these retention drivers had not substantially changed
between 1998 and 2002, despite drastic U.S. economic and labor market shifts.
Key Findings and Best Practices
Once the current realities were discussed and
both engagement and retention defined, these talent leaders shared key findings
and best practices, some of which are listed below:
Reciprocity is key.
Employees are investors in the company and expect a return on investment.
· Retention must
be part of the organization’s DNA. Successful organizations have woven retention and engagement
deeply into their structure.
never a given.
Loyalty must be earned; even satisfied employees sometimes leave.
must be seen as employers of choice. You have to compete on compensation and benefits, but WIN on
culture, learning and development.
downsizing and bankruptcies. require leaders to re-motivate employees, both during and
after the crisis.
more than just the top 10% -- or 1%! Stars are people at any level who bring value to the
must be carefully managed. It’s not uncommon to watch high flyers become willing victims of
economy spells choice. As the economy recovers, talented people will be even more
in demand and will have greater choices. Talent will become harder to find, and
even harder to engage.
generation has different reasons for staying. For the first time in modern history, there are four
generations working side-by-side in most companies. Generational differences
continue to pose new challenges to today’s employers.
· Make diversity
an engagement and retention opportunity.
One organization chose to weave key Love ‘Em strategies into their diversity
and in both directions. Build learning relationships in all directions and hold all
partners responsible for the success.
on-going retention training in manageable bites – make it a continuous effort
and find ways to size the retention plan to the specific demographics of the
development culture. “Career development is the right thing for the organization
(identifying and developing future leaders), the right thing for the employee
(creating a development environment), and a key retention component.”
managers who keep employees. Meaningful recognition remains a potent energizer for
employees and managers alike.
internal headhunter profile. When employers integrate retention efforts into the
culture, headhunters have a difficult time prying talent out of the
leaders must manage the scarce commodity called talent to sustain their
competitive edge. Brainpower remains a
key differentiator in today’s competitive markets. The organizations with the
best talent win. In the midst of a slow economy and a take-no-prisoners stock
market, attracting, recruiting, hiring, retaining and engaging top talent can
make or break any organization. With a labor shortage expected to hit 10 million
workers by 2010, and 43% of our labor force eligible to retire in the next
decade, the demand for talent is expected to outweigh supply by 20% through
2005. Talent management remains one of management’s highest priorities.
Beverly Kaye is founder and CEO of Career Systems International, a leader in talent management solutions. She is located in Sherman Oaks, CA.