The evolving work environment is difficult to navigate for everyone. Few employers believe it will significantly improve over the next one to two years. Less than half believe feedback and recognition will improve or that leadership will be significantly more inclusive than it is today, according to Brandon Hall Group’s study, Reimagining Talent Management for Hybrid Work. Most importantly, only 29% of organizations believe the turnover of top talent will substantially decrease in the next two years.
Retaining top talent is employers’ biggest concern for 2022, according to Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Outlook 2022 Study. It is a complex endeavor because employees determine whether to stay or leave an organization based on a variety of different experiences, many of which employers struggle with. More than 70% of organizations believe it is important or critical to improve these experiences
As the graphic above illustrates, employers have many people priorities. As the saying goes, if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority and employers can only pay attention to so many priorities at once. It is important to focus on a few critical objectives and assess progress over time before determining next steps.
What are the employee experiences that would have the biggest impact on talent retention?
Each employee is unique, which makes it difficult to focus on improving experiences because there are so many of them and employees value each experience to varying degrees. But one factor that our research reveals as critical to employee engagement and retention is providing an environment of psychological safety. If employers can provide that, they have a foundation for driving engagement and retaining talent.
Here are five priorities that our research indicates are strong foundations for building or improving psychological safety:
Recognize Employee Contributions More Frequently Everyone likes — and many people crave — recognition. It’s human nature; we want to be appreciated. However, our Reimaging Talent Management for Hybrid Work Study shows that only about 40% of organizations say employees receive recognition or praise for meaningful contributions at least once a month.
Praising or providing positive reinforcement to an employee once a month does not seem like a high bar! With the aid of technology, there are countless ways for leaders and peers to praise, recognize and even reward employees for a job well done, making progress on a goal or overcoming a challenge.
Train All Employees About Leadership
About seven in 10 employers believe leadership development training is needed for the entire workforce, according to Brandon Hall Group’s study, Creating Leadership Development for Every Employee. But only about 40% do it.
There are significant benefits to leadership training for all:
- Employees gain the opportunity to form good leadership habits early and become better decision-makers. It also demonstrates the organization’s commitment to employee and career development
- At least 80% of employers say it promotes a clear vision and direction, fosters collaboration and improves trust, coaching and emotional intelligence.
Empower Employees to Own their Career Development Your employees want to know they can grow and prosper in your organization. If not, why stay? Historically, career development has been a blind spot for most employers. That is beginning to change as talent retention becomes a larger issue and organizations see the errors of their ways.
But busy managers and HR teams can only do so much. There have been great strides in technology that matches employees to opportunities (such as teams, projects, temporary assignments) to develop their capabilities in alignment with their aspirations. Invest in technology and other resources to give your employees more responsibility for career development. Empowerment provides a sense of belonging and feeling valued.
Continuously Listen to Employees Many employers still rely on annual employee surveys to understand the level of engagement. Technology enables you to connect with employees in a variety of sophisticated ways and target employee segments for deeper understanding of what motivates and demotivates and what they care about. Continuous listening is critical to understand your workforce and build an environment of psychological safety.
Act Quickly on Employee Feedback Employees must feel heard. But, more importantly, they must believe you are taking what they say seriously. The only thing worse than not listening to your employees is to listen and do nothing – or listen, do something, but not communicate what you are doing.
Employers can’t address all concerns employees have, but they can analyze where the biggest problems are, address them, then design communication campaigns to inform the workforce. Even when you act, engage employees to be part of the solution and get their feedback so you can adjust as needed.