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How to stop the talent drain (from your organisation)

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Employers are gearing up for the New Year recruitment frenzy when competition for the best candidates is high.

But in the rush to attract the best talent, it’s easy to over-emphasise hiring and under-emphasise retention. As the cost of losing valuable employees continues to rise, there’s never been a more apt time for employers to understand what’s driving talent out the door, and more importantly, what they can do about it.

Horrible bosses

According to Forbes, more than half the people who leave their jobs do so because of their relationship with their boss. Line managers and supervisors form an integral part of employees’ daily lives. So, when something is awry with the relationship, the impact on how an employee feels about work can be huge.

A good manager should provide direction, support and feedback as well as provide a link into the wider organisation. If any of these elements are missing, it can lead to feelings of isolation, resentment and inferiority.

Underutilised, undervalued

A survey conducted by Deloitte found that of those employees who plan on staying with their current employer, 72% feel that their talent is being well-utilised. It’s easy for talent to get lost in the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, which can leave people feeling disengaged and burnt out.

Everyone likes to feel that they’re making best use of their skills and everyone likes kudos. Those who don’t get to experience those feelings at work are much more likely to jump ship.

No growth opportunities

Opportunities for growth and career advancement are incentives for employees to excel at work. Without those opportunities, people will begin to feel as though they’re trapped in dead-end positions. For example, a marketing co-ordinator might be fulfilling every area of their role to a high quality, but that doesn’t mean that they want to remain a marketing co-ordinator for the rest of their career. Organisations should take steps to let their winners grow and branch-out so that they don't look elsewhere.

Retention starts on day one

By focusing on the entire candidate lifecycle from the off, not solely recruitment, employers can help to retain talent further down the line. Studies have found that typically individuals with less than two years on the job express the strongest turnover intentions.

Organisations should look to implement a well-structured onboarding programme for new hires. Successfully integrating new employees with orientation, training, feedback and follow-up gets people engaged early and can go a long way to improving retention.

Identify and engage future leaders

Financial incentives alone won’t do the trick anymore. Capable employees want to feel challenged and be given opportunities for personal growth. This is precisely why leadership development should be a central pillar in any talent retention strategy.

A long-term investment in meaningful learning and development programmes or a learning management system can tackle one of the top reasons individuals begin scouting for new jobs, while also building the leadership pipeline for tomorrow. This is very much in line with what we do as a business, too. We were recently accredited with the Investors in People Gold award for the second time as a result of the investment we make in developing our people – some of who have been with us for 5 or 10 and more years.

Build the bigger picture

Organisations that communicate the wider strategic goals and business performance effectively and transparently are far more likely to engender trust, strengthen employee job satisfaction, and retain top workers.

Star workers genuinely care about their work, so their work must have a purpose. When these individuals don’t know what that is, they’re more likely to feel alienated and aimless. Employers who get great at communicating their vision all the way from the top down to the front-line workers will be better at holding on to their top talent.

No one likes to see their best people leave, but when it happens it is important to ensure you can find someone equally as good to fill their place. We have been helping Employers across Oxfordshire to find the people they need, when they need them. Could we help you?

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