New study reveals two cultural shifts that will affect how companies retain their talent.
By Debbie Bolla
All eyes are on the calendar. December 31st is right around the corner, and the hope for a better, more profitable 2010 is on both employers’ and employees’ minds. SourceRight Solutions recently published its 2009 emerging workforce study, Forging Ahead: Workplace Strategies for a New Time. “We found some significant surprises this year,” noted Annamarie Phillips, vice president of SourceRight. “One of the most dramatic ones is the effect that a company’s core value has on it’s own employees. More and more employees really yearn to be connected.”
The study reported that 51 percent of employees in an organization that communicates and follows-through with its mission are more likely to refer a friend to work at their current employer, and 92 percent are satisfied with their jobs. Clearly, working for an organization that defines its goals and translates them to its workforce encourages a culture in which employees feel connected to their company.
2009 witnessed the explosion of social media. It’s proven to be more than just a fad; it’s here to stay. “The world is changing at a much faster pace, and social media has changed so drastically,” said Phillips. The study revealed that nearly half of companies are using social networking outlets, including LinkedIn (23 percent), Facebook (14 percent), and a corporate blog (16 percent). But it also showed that only 24 percent of companies have a formal strategy in place, and less than 22 percent use it to recruit talent. Organizations need to adopt a social media plan to convey branding and attract potential employees.
Another area that needs to be examined is retention drivers, noted Phillips. “Understanding the workforce is the problem. I don’t think enough is done in understanding the makeup of the workforce.” The study agreed; only 17 percent of companies analyze their staff and are strategic in their workforce planning. “Understanding who your employee is can really help drive your business objectives, and giving them what they need can help retain them,” Phillips said.
The results also revealed six tactics to guide companies in developing a new blueprint to adjust to changing business models.
More Narrowly Define the Talent You Need. Even though the candidate pool is larger than ever, the war for talent is no less vital. Companies should maintain their focus on the type of employees they need to succeed. High turnover rates can be detrimental to the bottom line. The study found that 52 percent of HR executives say that maintaining cost is still their top priority. Wasting money on short-term employees is a direct result of not understanding your organization’s talent needs.
Use Tailored Recruitment Strategies. The study revealed that 60 percent of companies said that finding and recruiting qualified workers is an HR concern, but only half of employers take advantage of tailored recruitment strategies. Break out of the one-size-fits-all approach to recruiting. Phillips said sourcing talent by skill set is one of the most effective approaches to tailored recruitment.
Cultivate Today’s Employees Into Tomorrow’s Talent. Inspire employees to work beyond their potential. The study reported 95 percent of workers prefer a job that allows them to be creative, and 88 percent seek a career that encourages them to think of new and better ways to do things. Employers should consider performance management strategies or enlist mentor initiatives or online career development programs to keep key employees growing within the company.
Attend to the Power of Work/Life Balance Programs. A robust work/life balance program can be very beneficial to organizations. But there is also a disconnect between employers’ and employees’ perceptions of such programs. This is something that needs to be clearly defined within an organization, since 90 percent of companies say such programs improve worker satisfaction, and 74 percent say they improve retention.
Know What It Takes to Keep Your Top Performers. Talent doesn’t just drive productivity, it drives the bottom line. Emergent workers are educated, proactive, produce success—and are the most difficult to retain. Companies should cater to top producers by creating workforce management plans to track success.
Close the Gap, and Achieve Retention for All. Satisfaction levels of employees are low: Less than 40 percent of workers are satisfied with their benefits, earnings, and workforce culture, and less than 25 percent are happy with their training and growth opportunities. Getting these rates up is crucial to employee retention. “If you are happier in your job, you feel more aligned in the job. You are more empowered and are going to do better in your role,” said Phillips.
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