These retention strategies -from finding out what your on-site workers really want to visiting your supplier locations -will help prevent your best employees from walking out the door.
In my last column I talked about impending talent shortages and the importance of recruiting globally to help mitigate those shortages. But the effects of competition for global talent will filter through a company’s retention strategies, too. In a high-demand environment, organizations must work even harder to keep their employees from being recruited away by other firms.
Fortunately, client organizations can take a number of steps to mitigate the attrition problem, both on-site in their own organizations and offshore in the supplier organization. Key steps to reducing attrition in the retained onshore team include the following:
• Step 1: Reach out and understand what the employees care about. (Hint: it may not be all about financial rewards.) Too often, employers assume that employees care predominantly about their monetary compensation. It’s true that compensation is important, but employees often care just as much about non-financial aspects of their jobs—if not more.
When an organization wants to find out what matters to its employees, it should ask. A “heat map” is one way to capture and gauge job satisfaction and what employees care about. It’s a periodic survey and data capture method that asks employees about their level of satisfaction in many areas—from job roles and responsibilities to career development and growth opportunities, engagement experience, and compensation.
• Step 2: Develop a mentoring program. Mentoring is one important way that organizations can build employees’ affinity for the firm. Different from coaching, mentoring is a strategic endeavor that provides a forum for the mentee to develop professionally and personally. Benefits for the mentee include access to the mentor’s expertise and experience; skill development; a broader view of the firm; and exposure and visibility.
• Step 3: Develop a culture that encourages engagement. Engaging workers so that they feel they’ve positively impacted the company’s performance is a prime retention tool that’s equally important onshore and offshore. (A Towers Perrin study revealed that 59 percent of workers who consider themselves engaged intend to stay with their employer, while only 24 percent of workers who consider themselves disengaged plan to stay.)
Engagement drivers are often those same factors that employees care about—from opportunities for career growth to feeling proud of the organization. Key steps to reducing attrition in the new offshore team include:
• Work with suppliers to manage retention. Working with suppliers to manage retention in offshore third-party arrangements involves a number of efforts. Client organizations should address the following steps during due diligence:
• Look closely at suppliers’ retention levels and policies for managing the factors that lead to attrition;
• Hold the supplier accountable by building attrition metrics into SLAs;
• Encourage the supplier to develop non-poaching agreements with other suppliers;
• Ensure that the supplier implements such practices as the heat map; and
• Work with the supplier to build development and career plan for its staff assigned to you.
• Design rotational exchange programs. Exchange programs that let key offshore employees work onshore at the client site for three to six months help those employees feel a greater level of affinity and engagement. Also, an exchange program gives employees the opportunity to learn the client’s culture, method of operation, and products and services.
• Show your face. A critical element in building cultural affinity for the client, facilitating growth in important personal relationships, boosting loyalty, and encouraging engagement is to have key members of the client show their faces at the supplier organization. One way to show your face is to make regular visits (perhaps quarterly) to the supplier location. But there are other, less costly ways as well; personal phone calls are also effective as a more frequent way of “showing your face.”
From finding out what on-site employees really care about to making visits to supplier locations, these retention strategies will help minimize the number of times that one of your best employees catches you in the hall and asks “Do you have a minute?” Too often, that conversation ends with the employee walking out the company’s door—and that costs the company a lot.