How to Improve Talent Retention

Current State

Less than one-third of organizations describe their efforts to retain top talent as successful, according to Brandon Hall Groupstudy, Retaining Your Top Talent. It’s not surprising, therefore, that less than four in ten employers (38%) say they have a strong understanding of what their employees want or expect from their employment.

Complexities

Because retention is ultimately an outcome of a variety of factors, not surprisingly what a company chooses to focus on can vary greatly. However, there is a consensus that the most important components are essentially the same.

Strategies Organizations Use to Understand What Employees Want from Employment

The strategies companies use to understand what employees want from their work have not fundamentally changed much, but over the past few years, there has been a shift in focus.

This shift is positive progress, but is further complicated by the rapid evolution of technology solutions that could have an even bigger impact on retention if leveraged the right way.

 

The progress being made in more frequent data gathering, more personalized tactics, and engaging directly with the most valued talent will reap enormous benefits over time.

Consequences

Organizations believe there are many areas to shore up in order to improve talent retention, ranging from career development to compensation, leadership, employee recognition, work/ life balance and more. Many of these areas are interrelated and should not be looked at individually. For example, managers and leaders are integral to career development, employee recognition, the success of hybrid work policies and creation of learning opportunities.

Critical Question

  • How can employers improve their understanding of employees and what they value and want from their employment in order to increase talent retention?

Brandon Hall GroupPOV

Here are four high-level strategies to enable leaders to have a strong positive impact on talent retention:

Listen Continuously and Listen Well

Feedback from employees is imperative to understand their experiences, but their perspectives can shift frequently. Most employers operate in an environment that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Therefore, relying on annual or periodic engagement surveys to understand the needs of employees means the company will always lag in its understanding of workforce trends and issues.

Our research shows that progressive organizations employ strategies of continuous listening, including frequent online surveys on specific topics, sentiment analysis, focus groups, employee resource groups and stay interviews. Technology is a great enabler for collecting different types of data and analyzing them to provide important insights, not just on the workforce as a whole but on specific employee groups or personas.

Listen Continuously and Listen Well

Feedback from employees is imperative to understand their experiences, but their perspectives can shift frequently. Most employers operate in an environment that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Therefore, relying on annual or periodic engagement surveys to understand the needs of employees means the company will always lag in its understanding of workforce trends and issues.

Our research shows that progressive organizations employ strategies of continuous listening, including frequent online surveys on specific topics, sentiment analysis, focus groups, employee resource groups and stay interviews. Technology is a great enabler for collecting different types of data and analyzing them to provide important insights, not just on the workforce as a whole but on specific employee groups or personas.

View Talent Retention as an Outcome of Employee Experiences

Feedback from employees is imperative to understand their experiences, but their perspectives can shift frequently. Most employers operate in an environment that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Therefore, relying on annual or periodic engagement surveys to understand the needs of employees means the company will always lag in its understanding of workforce trends and issues.

Build Talent Strategies from What You Hear

Through these insights from employees — as well as other internal and external developments — employers are in a better position to proactively create value for employees in alignment with business needs. The goal is to be proactive whenever possible in understanding what the workforce needs to be successful and feel valued. A company’s ability to proactively engage different segments of the workforce determines its ability to retain talent.

Focus on Skills Development, Career Development and Growth

Particularly in the developing economically challenging environment, a focus on reassuring employees that there is a path for maintaining employability even as many fundamental aspects of work are changing is key. Employers must be clear on what skills the workforce will need moving forward. Companies must have a strategy for defining those skills quickly and iteratively. There must be a plan to act quickly to help employees learn those skills and continue to add value.

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Claude Werder

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Claude Werder

Claude J. Werder Senior Vice President and Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group Claude Werder runs Brandon Hall Group’s Talent Management, Leadership Development and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) practices. His specific areas of focus include how organizations must transform culturally and strategically to meet the needs of the emerging workforce and workplace. Claude develops insights and solutions on employee experience, leadership, coaching, talent development, assessments, culture, DE&I, and other topics to help members and clients make talent development a competitive business advantage now and in the evolving future of work. Before joining Brandon Hall Group in 2012, Claude was an HR consultant and also spent more than 25 years as an executive and people leader for media and news organizations. This included a decade as the producer of the HR Technology Conference and Expo. He helped transform it from a small event to the world’s largest HR technology conference. Claude is a judge for the global Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Awards and Excellence in Technology Awards, contributes to the company’s HCM certification programs, and produces the firm’s annual HCM Excellence Conference. He is also a certified executive and leadership coach. He lives in Boynton Beach, FL.

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