It’s well known that a high turnover rate of talented employees has a negative impact on business. In addition to losing valuable individual contributions, the departure can adversely affect the performance of other staff members who relied on work or counsel provided by the former employee. Those remaining may also question why their talented co-worker decided to jump ship, and could begin to consider a similar course of action. Here’s what you can do to retain and develop top talent into future leaders that can help grow your brand and mold the next generation of employees.
Build a Connection
An employee’s loyalty and a strong sense of belonging should be fostered by management and co-workers from the moment they begin to work at the company. To avoid the organizational bottlenecks associated with the adaptation period, management should develop a process with clear steps for introducing incoming hires to their new responsibilities and to the set of values that will be expected of them. Effective onboarding programs can lower anxiety levels and allow workers to feel welcome and comfortable in their new environment, increasing knowledge intake in the first critical weeks when a newly hired employee is learning about corporate culture and business processes. According to a 2015 ADP study, employees that have gone through an effective onboarding system were 69% more likely to stay on the job for three years. However, research by consulting firm Deloitte suggests that half of companies either have no onboarding program or conduct one in an ad hoc fashion that does not leave a lasting impact on new recruits, even though 25% of new hires make a long-term decision to leave or stay within the first 45 days of work. This decision directly impacts bottom lines, as estimated costs of replacing employees can rise to twice their annual salary.
Motivate and Inspire
To traditional psychology, self-actualization is the highest aim in human personal development. This involves doing work and living in a way that allows an individual to achieve their true potential. In the work space, people are motivated and inspired when they perceive that their work is being valued. Consistent feedback for good work through recognition programs and personal compliments provides positive reinforcement and has a multiplier effect on employee behaviors that improve organizational outcomes. Core company values should be infused in recognition programs, rewarding employees who follow them. Rewards can range from bonuses and gift cards to individual and collective awards. Company retreats and team building activities can also be powerful tools to improve co-worker bonding and sense of belonging, optimizing group work results. Studies have shown that being involved in successful collaborative work while feeling appreciated for individual efforts by peers and employers will raise oxytocin levels in the body, increasing happiness and satisfaction in the workplace. Workers will begin to associate these emotions with the company – including co-workers and management – becoming even more dedicated in their work environment.
Develop to Retain
Developing talent is a crucial component of retaining it. An employee must feel that they are growing both personally and professionally through their active presence at the company. While company sponsored courses and certification programs can improve performance, particularly in the complex IT and cyber security space, sound management practices can have an even greater impact when it comes to grooming employees to be ideal team members and future leaders. Effective mentoring by more experienced co-workers shortens the learning curve and enhances collaborative spirit among peers, a strategy that can be particularly effective with young or entry-level workers – particularly millenials who flock to the newer high tech and digital professions. Employees who show the qualities of future leaders should be prepared accordingly by participating or being present in important meetings and negotiations, exposing them to the ins and outs of the corporate decision-making and management process, while they learn how to act appropriately in key situations. Ensuring that employees are given responsibilities that are coherent with their skill and experience level is also crucial for retention and development of talent. Too much responsibility too soon can overwhelm an employee, while not enough responsibility will leave them with the impression that they are undervalued and have stagnated professionally. In both scenarios, the resulting discouragement could lead to decreased or lower quality output and the fateful decision to seek out a new employer. In extreme cases, disgruntled employees could even become insider threats.