New recruits are like every company's babies. Once hired into the company, they need to be nurtured, taught and groomed to align their experience to the company's offer and lingo. We then watch them grow like proud parents in their career paths. As HR professionals, we love to see our recruits grow in the company but occasionally they part ways and choose to grow elsewhere. Certainly, this raises the classic dilemma of whether to invest in new recruits or not?
As the visionary Sir Richard Branson says "Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to". This should be every company's outlook. Employees departing for new experiences, switching roles for career growth is inevitable and this should not be stopped.
Senior leaders look up to HR for answers on solving the dilemma of retaining best employees. I believe the following 9 proactive strategies are tried and tested methods that will help you retain your best talent:
1. Ensure you have quality Management/Supervision:
You may have heard many say that they don't work for a company but for a Manager and that's true on so many levels. Investing in leadership training and getting 360 feedback during appraisals will help build better managers.
2. Be open to Feedback:
In one of the companies I worked for we installed a "Growth" mailbox, where employees could drop in their suggestions and complaints. The letters were anonymous thus allowing employees to raise issues freely without hesitation. It helped the us see things from another perspective and make the necessary changes.
3. Set clear and SMART goals:
Set SMART (S – specific, M – measurable, A – achievable, R – relevant and T – time bound) goals for employees and have an assessment of these goals at least twice a year, if not on a quarterly basis.
4. Ensure employees have tools and knowledge to succeed:
Training and coaching will not only help in bridging knowledge gaps but also in taking an employee to the next level. Investing in training also makes the employee feel more valued with the company.
5. Induction and Employee Handbook:
For our HRAssist360 clients, I always emphasize the importance of having a detailed Employee Handbook, no matter how small the team size or the company is. An employee handbook along with a detailed induction helps us set clear expectations with the employee, thus making the foundation of that relationship stronger.
6. Stay tune with current salary surveys and offer stability:
We also need to ensure that we are paying a competitive salary as per the market standards. High performing employees will always be in demand, no matter what the market situation is. At the same time, we must ensure that we hire with care so that once an employee is on board we can offer them job security. In the current market especially, it is necessary that we look at every vacancy critically and evaluate it before hiring. No one wants to be known for "hiring and firing".
7. Create a Personal Development Plan:
In the case of key players we should always have a Personal Development Plan (PDP) or growth plan in place to keep them motivated. Employees then stop looking for growth outside the organisation and direct their energy towards growing with and within the company.
8. Handle redundancies with care:
Redundancies not only affects staff that leave but also affects the ones who are left behind. We need to be as transparent as we can and do it the ethical way. As mentioned in my previous blog on Redundancies: Pruning your Company to Flourish it must be communicated effectively not only to the employee who is going out but also to those who are still on the company's payroll.
9. Appreciate a job well done:
Appreciation builds confidence and drives employees to succeed. Frequently saying thank you for a job well done, goes a long way. Appreciation can be formal, casual, monetary, public recognition, any one or the combination can make the employee feel valued.
In the current economic situation where companies are constantly pressurized to stay lean and reduce costs, going through a cycle of redundancy – recruit – retain can put a financial strain. On the other hand, retaining the right employees will not only help the company face the economic crises, it will also make it succeed. The above strategies will help you keep staff morale high and turnover low while guaranteeing your organisation's success.