Emphasize Career Development to Boost Employee Retention

Showing people how their contributions advance corporate strategy, and how the company can help them grow, can make it easier for companies hold on to talent.

CEOs are spending more time on helping employees chart career paths in a bid to hold on to talent according to a new Arcus survey of 240 Canadian C-level executives. The difficulty of hiring and retaining qualified employees remains the most-cited concern among leaders today. Some executives say the solution lies in creating a pipeline of talent within the organization that can be deployed and promoted to fill openings as they arise.

Build a system to absorb transitions at all levels

Respondents say leaders need to build a system to be able to absorb transition at all levels. Some employees may see better opportunities at other organizations, while others may be looking for a more rapid progression to the top. Part of the retention effort is making sure employees, particularly those on the finance team, understand how they fit into the broader corporate vision and how their roles affect the company’s future.

Conduct regular talent reviews

For example, Pitney Bowes Inc. conducts talent reviews to identify the development needs of its employees as part of its retention strategy. The company then aims to give workers new experiences and skills, as well as feedback about their performance and their potential. Once somebody comes in, says I’m not perfect and I’m leaving, it’s too late. Getting them involved in something different often keeps the creative juices going and they feel more fulfilled. The efforts can result in skilled workers leaving one functional area to join other areas of the organization. In one example, a talented finance executive on a team who had tackled a number of challenging projects took on a strategy role in the company’s fastest-growing unit. Even though the department lost one of its best talents, it benefited the organization for the employee to have transitioned to an important role and be really successful at it.

Facilitate career progression and development

And while a sense of career progression and development is important, the competition for top talent doesn’t end there. Benefits designed to help people in other parts of their life also play a key role in retention efforts. National Grid PLC recently introduced a student loan repayment plan that helps shoulder some of the burden for employees with college debt according to a CFO. The company offers a range of other benefits, including paid parental leave, pet insurance and an elder care policy. In one case, an employee used the elder care benefit when the caregiver for her in-laws suddenly quit. She needed emergency care for people that were about 90 years old and through their program at work, and was able to do that and felt very comfortable with it. She added that employees, particularly younger workers, feel that benefits that cater to their needs at different stages of life make them feel cared for.

Arcus Change Management Model

Our change model is based on practices of HROS (highly reliable organizations) in sectors with complex operations such as healthcare and nuclear energy. These organizations follow proven methodologies because human errors can have potentially catastrophic consequences. The comprehensive approach integrates process and human dimensions of change. Please review a sample project to learn more about our approach on an engagement.