A survey by The Conference Board observed that attracting and retaining top talent is the number one internal concern for C-suite executives globally in 2020. A tight labour market where the demand is higher than the supply defines this prevailing talent gap. If we talk specifically about the Indian market, Indian IT companies are the worst hit. They are grappling with the problem of software engineers jumping ship, and the average turnover rate can get as high as 17-18%.
In today’s competitive environment, organisations need to disrupt and differentiate to stay relevant. It is an undeniable fact that they cannot achieve it without a talented workforce. Secondly, organisations spend plenty of resources in hiring and training their employees. When they leave, it not only costs the organisations but also creates a ripple effect. For instance, it may impact the continuity of crucial projects, reduce customer satisfaction levels and degrade the working environment.
In this scenario, the HR departments are under extreme pressure to hire and retain talented employees. While the HR departments have adopted several strategies in the past, the one thing that seems to offer exceptional results is treating employees like customers. By cultivating a customer-centric approach, organisations can get a deeper understanding of what employees want. The resulting employee value proposition can attract the best talent from the market.
A formal career path
Gone are the days when employees would accept a linear career path trajectory offered by their employers. Today, employees prefer to be in charge of their growth and often have clear career goals charted out in their minds. The HR departments can resolve this situation by offering a career lattice instead of a career ladder. Allow the employees to move sideways to take on other responsibilities and work with other teams. They can grow upwards when they are ready to take on higher positions. Similarly, there may be times when they will have to take a step back to learn new skills. The solution is not easy but is definitely workable. Encourage managers to have meaningful conversations with their team members to understand their interests and aspirations. Moreover, they should also empower the employees to take ownership of their careers.
Opportunities for career mobility
Matthew Bidwell, professor at Wharton, found in a seven-year-long study that external hires take three years to become productive in their new jobs. Moreover, internal hires make about 18% lesser than the external hires. In this scenario, posting jobs on the internal job board and hiring from within is an effective solution. Apart from increasing productivity, this practice can help in retaining employees. The HR departments should encourage the practice of looking within the existing employee pool to offer them new opportunities. It is a win-win situation as employees will get better opportunities and pay package. The organisations won’t have to wait a long time for the new incumbent to become productive. To make it more effective, the top leaders should commit to career mobility. The managers should encourage their employees to take on new roles. Similarly, the hiring managers should be trained to hire for potential instead of hiring for specific skills.
Prioritize learning and development
It is a dynamic world where technology is changing at a rapid pace. The fear of becoming redundant in the face of new technology and practices can force the employees to quit their current jobs. HR departments can effectively resolve this situation by offering better learning and growth opportunities. While IT companies seem to be more proactive in this regard, other sectors are yet to catch up. While rewarding your employees with promotions is one way to engage them, you must also help them to develop the skills to perform well in those roles. It will help to prioritize and influence a cultural change where individual development plan becomes the norm.
Several organisations run an elaborate process to identify high-potential performers. However, they do not communicate it to the target audience. High-potential talent needs challenging work and more responsibilities to stay engaged. If these talented employees feel they are not bring valued or sense the organisation is not committed to their growth, they may look for another job. You can nip this problem in the bud by being more transparent and open about what your employees want. Adopting a customer-centric approach may help here. You can communicate that the organisation is interested in their personal growth and has practices to give what they want.