Author: Mary Lou Nolan, Cor Consulting

Most employees look to rotate after 2 years in role. Especially, mid-level staff that are looking to bulk out their CVs and reflect broader experience. Being aware that loyalty to an employer is no longer a priority for a lot of workers means being equally aware that once you have hired, onboarded staff and they have become part of your talent pool you need to consider the following to ensure you retain them in the organisation.

1. Advancement

A US study from University of Phoenix showed most workers believe it is an employers’ responsibility to teach career development; and most managers believe employees must take responsibility for their career development. The real answer is they are both right. An employer must create the right conditions for the employee to be clear about their career advancement steps and how that fits into their overall plan. Those conditions include training managers to have an overall career conversation as part of the performance review cycle, making mentors and coaches available to staff to help them develop and being transparent about promotional opportunities within the organisation and the path to success, rather than having it as a black art and based on ‘who’ you know.

2. Performance review

Similar to feedback for a new hire, continuous feedback for employees is essential for retention and performance optimisation. Most organisations wait for the annual cycle to come around but that can sometimes be to little, too late. If an issue exists, an employee should know about it. This is equipping managers with the skills in having crucial conversations with team members on an on-going basis. Employees know where they stand and what they must do before the official annual cycle to pivot and improve, if appropriate.

3. Recognition and Reward

Monetary bonuses are great, but recognition of a job well done goes a long way to creating good will and loyalty.  Recognition needs to be specific: rather than saying “you did a good job” being specific is better with “Your contribution of X on Y project made a difference to the final outcome, well done”.  In order to retain talent, you must make them feel appreciated, respected and worthwhile.  Recent studies show that when employees feel undervalued and unappreciated, they look for other employment.  They need to feel that their contributions to the business are important. Any recognition must be sincere as most people are smart enough to know the difference between sincere appreciation and platitudes

4. Continuous learning

Providing access to funding for further education aligned with an employee’s role and responsibilities can be the difference between retaining and losing talent. Understanding what they are passionate about and allowing them to focus their time and energy on projects they enjoy.  Visibility of what opportunities are available for them to grow with the company and how that can be facilitated can be a more powerful retainer than any salary increase.