The key to retaining talent in today’s climate

A shrinking talent pool and talent retention are some of the challenges facing CEOs globally in the post Covid-19 landscape. Employee retention is, in fact, a key priority for companies as the cost of losing top talent is considerably high.

According to a white paper by hr.blr.com, nearly 70 per cent of organisations report that staff turnover has a negative financial impact due to the cost of recruiting, hiring and training a replacement employee along with the cost incurred for overtime pay to current employees until the vacant position is filled. But with a shortage of experienced, qualified people in almost every sector, the ball is very much in the court of employees. Treat them unfairly, with indifference, or with disregard for their wellbeing, and there are plenty of other organisations ready to snap them up.

In order to reduce employee turnover, which ultimately harms a company’s financial growth, companies need to focus on setting policies to retain the top talent. An established company strategy and plan can be a key competitive differentiator and will promote a highly productive environment resulting in high level of operations at various levels and functions.

Here are six tips for retaining valuable employees:

Get recruitment right
Recognise that talent retention starts with the right recruitment policy. It’s important to identify if the cultural values of the company are aligned with potential candidates. Identifying candidates who share the same outlook as the company is the most important task during the interview process and one that can’t be vetted from a resume alone.

Above all, a candidate’s job history and references from reliable sources should be a priority for HR and department heads. Depending on the job description, which has to be nailed first, the candidate’s attitude towards the role and personal biases should be assessed during the interview process.

Get onboarding right
To make new employees feel like a part of your organisation, start with proper onboarding from day one, which should continue throughout their first year. It is amazing how many new joiners leave within the first twelve months due to poor onboarding. It sets the person down a road of resentment and confusion that rarely ends well. Ensure new staff are properly mentored and gradually introduced to all aspects of the business from the moment they enter the building. Try speaking to existing employees about how they found their onboarding process and encourage them to be completely honest so you can fix any issues.

Give responsibility
This might not sound like an obvious one, but good staff really appreciate being given extra responsibility. Leaders can show employees they trust and respect them by giving them jobs that allow them to grow and gain new skills. That’s why it’s also important to provide ample and continuing training opportunities. Disengaged employees bring down morale and spread negative vibes among other employees. Also hire from within wherever possible, as it shows employees you are invested in their growth.

 Understand work life balance
Despite challenging economic conditions, companies should be generous with giving employees time off whenever needed, ensuring they provide sufficient leave for sick days, family vacations, maternity, paternity and so on. The pandemic emphasised the need for work life balance and employees are now much less likely to compromise in this area. Plus, happier employees who are well rested will perform at a high level.

Negative emotions, lack of energy and being withdrawn are symptoms of burnout. Managers should look out for such signs and reach out to people who might be struggling. Creating an environment that encourages employees to be able to have open communication with their line managers will help build the morale of the team.

Offer competitive pay
A quick way to lose employees is to not pay them competitive compensation. Not only must companies offer decent remuneration, but they need to evaluate and adjust salaries regularly. Even if a business can’t increase salaries immediately, bosses should consider whether they could provide other forms of compensation such as bonuses or improve healthcare benefits and retirement plans. It all helps raise job satisfaction in the long run.

Communicate well
The pandemic also underscored the importance of good workplace communication. Employees should feel they can come to management with ideas, questions and concerns at any time. Leaders need to make sure they’re doing their part to help promote timely, constructive and positive communication across the entire team, including both on-site and remote employees. Sharing leadership vision with employees at every level also helps in team building. Above all, transparency in communication is also key for team leads to gain trust with the team members and is the foundation for good communication.

The writer is the deputy chairman of the Hashoo Group.