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The Employee Experience: 3 Keys to Retaining Top Talent

Posted on: March 14, 2017

Categories: Employee Satisfaction | Featured | Hiring | Human Resources

By Barry Pronier, Managing Director

If you’re an employer, odds are that one of the biggest challenges you’re facing in 2017 is employee retention. With unemployment dipping as low as 4.6 percent in recent months and currently sitting at 4.9 percent, the market is ripe for employees to explore new opportunities. 

They’re taking full advantage.

A Glassdoor study found that job market confidence is at peak levels. In fact, more than 53 percent of employed American workers believe they could easily find alternative employment within six months.  The same study also found that 46 percent of those same employees are confident they’ll see a raise within the next year.

Could these results portend the perfect storm for turnover? If so, what steps can you take to make sure your organization is prepared to weather that storm?

Most companies spend a considerable amount of time and money on their recruiting efforts. In a strengthening economy, job fluidity can dramatically add to those costs if employers don’t make efforts to improve their overall approach to talent acquisition.

Simply put, it’s not enough to sell your company as a great place to work. Instead, you need to create an employee experience that is inviting enough to attract top talent and compelling enough to retain that talent. Here are three key elements of the employee experience workers desire today.

  1. Compensation

    Millennial career and workplace expert Dan Schawbel says “the one consistent truth across every type of worker, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or geography is that compensation is king for both recruiting and retention. If you don’t pay employees fairly, they will leave – and no perk will change their mind” (Fortune). Employers need to be keenly aware of market salaries, particularly for key roles, because employees in those roles are likely aware of their worth and aren’t afraid to make a move.

  2. Development and learning

    The Society for Human Resource Management’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report indicates 69 percent of learning and development professionals report that talent is the number one priority in their organization. A quarter of those professionals are expecting a budget increase in 2017 for employee programming.  Companies willing to invest in enrichment activities and tools demonstrate to staff a commitment to keeping them enriched and engaged. Employees presented with these opportunities are less likely to get bored with their job and are thus less likely to look elsewhere. 

  3. Mobility

    Humans have an innate drive to achieve our full potential and reach self-actualization. American psychologist Abraham Harold Maslowe placed this concept at the top of his hierarchy of needs for a reason; smart companies realize its importance and seek to provide opportunities for advancement.

    In today’s labor market, companies need to take one of two approaches to organizational mobility:

      • The ladder approach provides performers with opportunities to advance.
      • The lattice approach presents employees with ways to explore various facets of the organization.

The ladder approach can be restrictive, as a firm may be limited in the number of ways it can promote employees to roles with greater responsibility. Meanwhile, the lattice approach has the added benefit of providing employers with a means to develop employees more holistically within the firm; the lattice approach also addresses skills needs and increases loyalty, because it does not lock employees into a strictly vertical career path and enables them to feel like they are reaching their potential without necessarily being promoted.

What else can companies do to mitigate turnover?

Even employers that seemingly do everything right when it comes to the employee experience will suffer turnover in the coming year.

Demographics play a role here. For example, 18 to 35-year-olds had an average tenure of 1.6 years per job in 2016 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Generational differences aside, thanks to market confidence, workers are going to keep their options open. To address this, many employers are developing alumni networks designed to maintain contact with workers after they leave. These systems provide ongoing opportunities to re-engage with former employees throughout their career and enhance the possibility that they will return to the organization.

What will you do to address employee retention in 2017?

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