The Necessity of Building a Culture That Retains Talented Employees

Business.com / HR Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Your workforce is where you want it to be, and it's going in the right direction. So how do you keep hold of your talented employees?

Congratulations! You've attracted amazing candidates to your company, developed them into outstanding employees and now, it's time to sit back and reap the rewards, right? Wrong. You have to actively work to retain your hard earned employees.

Retaining talent is expensive business.

“The total cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5-2x annual salary.” states Josh Bersin, the Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte.

Josh goes on to talk about the actual costs involved in an employee leaving your organization, including:

  • Recruitment costs (advertising, hiring process time and costs, HR time)
  • Onboarding costs (induction, orientation, training, management time)
  • Temporary loss of productivity/engagement from current staff as a result
  • Cost of new employee errors and the subsequent solving of these
  • Cost of ongoing training to maintain required standard
  • Cultural impact (challenging/questioning of your organization’s culture when employees leave—potential domino effect on staff turnover)

The retention of your talented, most prized assets (you employees) might be more worth the investment than it seems, and this process begins right at the start of the recruitment process, as I outlined in Part 1 of this Series.

Before you read this post, if you haven’t already:

prized employees

Now, are you serious about retaining talent in your workforce?

You should be. If you strive to achieve excellence and progressive YoY growth, then talent retention simply has to be a core organizational process that you re-invest in on a continual basis.

That sounds expensive, which it might well be, but read on for how you can make this process a little easier for your organization to account for.

Provide Clear, Publically Available Progression Paths

Nothing is more frustrating than organizational politics preventing your progression, or even simply the existence of a potential progression path or other loosely specified internal document or policy.

Go-getters want a clear route to where they want to be. They’re willing to work hard to get there, but they need that security that they will get there when the time is right.

career path

There’s nothing to lose:

  • Establish an internal promotion policy that’s publically available to everyone involved with the business, including customers and potential candidates for roles at your company.
  • Work with each employee to produce a customised progression path for them - set rigid yet realistic objectives; make it clear that if these are achieved, so will their desired career progression (i.e. title, salary, benefits).

Regularly Ask Your Employees for Feedback

How can you know just how content and satisfied your employees are in their job roles?

Biannual performance reviews do not provide sufficient scope for monitoring staff morale and happiness. Likewise, your daily office chatter isn’t going to uncover any personal issues or troubles.

Want a good grasp of how your employees are actually feeling? Set up a process that provides the opportunity for regular, candid individual conversations between employees and their line managers ASAP.

This could be one-on-ones that are held bi-weekly or monthly, as an example.

Cultivate a Workplace Environment With Values That Your Employees Share

Reasons for staying or leaving a company often extend beyond simply work; conflicts and issues arise when there’s a lack of alignment between the values of your company, and the values held by your employees.

This will come back to bite you.

If this is a reoccurring issue that results in staff turnover, then you have a serious problem on your hands.

shared vision

Examine your organization’s history, origins, purpose and rationale; what are your values? Really distil and define them. Then, cement those into your recruitment process.

Incorporate them into anything and everything you do to make sure that you’re able to build a business and a workforce that share the same values, who work well together, and who are committed to the same vision.

This harmony will keep your employees engaged and perhaps lower the likelihood of your talented recruits losing faith or interest and looking elsewhere.

Promote a Culture That Welcomes Diversity and Accepts Individuality

Whilst you want a workforce that share the same values and vision, you need to be able to embrace individuality and diversity - a uniform workforce with little individuality will restrict your organization in terms of:

  • Creativity
  • Learning and perspective from each other, and thus growth
  • Understanding, awareness of and exposure to different cultural issues

Talented individuals will not want to work in this environment.

Reward Beyond Financial Incentives

Your employees will have personal financial objectives, but this is not their only motive.

employee reward & recognition

Gifted individuals can receive financial recognition for their talent, skills and work elsewhere, so you need to think beyond just how you can keep your employees happy when working for you using simply financial means.

Reward your staff appropriately using other means such as:

  • Flexi-work schedules around their family requirements
  • A personal budget to invest in improving their workspace

Invest in the Ongoing Development of Your Staff

I covered this comprehensively in Part 2 so I won’t go over it again, but it is worth mentioning as it’s vital to retaining your talented employees.

It might be worthwhile to issue a frank statement on the importance of your staff, and how you’re going to re-invest X% of Gross Profit in L&D.

Connect on a Personal Level (Where Appropriate)

What’s going on at home can simply sometimes be just that—none of your business.

However, in some circumstances—and you’ll have to judge this accordingly for each individual—you may want to take an interest in your employee’s lives outside work.

candid conversation

Is something that’s going on at home affecting their career and time spent at work?

They may not want your help, and this depends on the person and the problem at hand, so there’s no magic prescription to help you solve this one.

But the message is clear: your employees are people, and you need to look out for them, help them, and try to take interest in ensuring they’re happy in all aspects of life, rather than just keeping your staff happy at work.

Communication is key here—make the effort to start the conversation yourself, and if an employee expresses that they’d rather not talk about it, then that’s just fine—at least they’re aware that you’re there for them.

Conclusion

In producing this article, I’ve drawn inspiration from a variety of sources.

In doing so, I’ve contemplated on understanding the deeper issues around staff turnover and how employers can work with individual staff members to create a mutually beneficial arrangement that results in an increased employee retention rate.

Over the course of this 3-Part Series, I have ultimately challenged myself to provide you, the reader, with highly actionable takeaways that you can learn at a glance, and begin implementing right away.

But even three blog posts isn’t enough to cover a topic as wide and important as talent retention—if you have any further issues or questions, then hit me up on Twitter (see my bio below).

And with that, I wish you the best of luck in retaining those prize asset employees, and building a workforce to be remarkably proud of.

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