5 ways to handle the issue of retaining talent

I recently attended a conference held by the CEO of a large service company, who presented the four major challenges facing his company in the next five years. HR was one of these challenges and the CEO stated that all parts of the company had undergone major changes and that HR should now focus on an issue that had significant negative impact on last year’s results: retaining talent.

Just like the CEO of this service company, HR departments today should make the retaining of their company’s talent one of their main objectives. Technological innovation can be one of the more promising ideas to research.

Aside from the use of traditional HR policies such as managing high-potential employees or offering high pay incentives, HR departments must now face a new generation of employees that are willing to give up everything in favor of a better quality of life in the workplace already available at startups, such as Google. They therefore need to offer ‘out-of-the box’ solutions based on new technologies that allow employees to feel recognized, involved in the company as part of a real community and working in an environment that is modern, ‘trendy’, stimulating and motivating. Many of the reasons causing employees to leave will thus be eliminated.

Here are some ideas:

1.Identify employees that may want to leave the company

HR departments can leverage Big Data on their employees and thus find out who is planning on leaving the company. They can begin by identifying ‘snowball effect’ situations where one employee goes to another company and several colleagues are inspired to follow because they are from the same school or work on similar projects.

Once it is detected that an employee who plays a strategic role in the company is considering leaving, HR will be able to quickly set up a very specific plan of action with the employee’s manager to find a way to retain him: they can put him on another project or in another position, offer a promotion, training or certification that can be given partly abroad.

2. Modernize the corporate culture and make employees feel like they belong

Today, the boundary between an employee’s personal life and their work is decreasing. Employees have a tendency to take work home (through emails and intranet) and they also handle personal issues in the workplace. To adapt, modern companies, and especially those working in new technologies, have set up innovative systems such as flexible working hours, increased responsibility, remote working (from home or another location), thus benefiting from expanded accessibility provided by new technologies.

The time of strict timekeeping, required on-site presence and long decision-making processes is over. Employees are in charge of their objectives and workload and can often work from home, choose their training courses and plan their careers. They also work in a more modern environment where everyone is easily accessible, regardless of their location or position within the company. The employees feel at home and become more motivated.

They are also involved in the company’s social activities. They can take part in social projects, sports activities, manage relations with schools and universities and organize conferences. The main objective is to develop company spirit and make the employee proud to be part of the company.

Employees that begin looking for new opportunities do so because they want to work in similar environments, but avoid companies where HR policy or corporate culture is based on control, mistrust, hierarchy and seniority and where young talent is confined to working only on the tasks detailed in their job description.

 3. Digitize HR and set up a company social network

Younger employees are used to being constantly connected and they expect the same in the workplace. Companies should be able to offer online access to HR services, such as requests for certificates, viewing personal and professional info, enrolling in training courses or other online activities, or they will be seen as ‘old’ and unable to follow technological trends like the more modern companies do.

HR digitizing can also involve setting up a corporate social network so that employees can share information, search for colleagues according to their specialties, see what has been shared by others, follow the latest company news, and work together.

4. Create a loyalty system like the ones airlines use

One of the more innovative ideas is to include online tools for talent retention in HR management. For example, an online reward system so that employees can:

  • Earn points every time they do something to promote the development of the company or other employees, take part in events organized by the company, represent the company at a trade fair , lead a workshop for colleagues or suggest an innovative idea…or just because of their years of service.
  • Spend their points on services offered by the company

This kind of program allows employees to actively take part in the company’s social life, develop their ‘company spirit’ and create a challenging and stimulating environment.

5. Make employees feel like they belong and boost their engagement:

  • Create clubs within the company. Employees can join and develop shared activities.
  • Create intrapreneurship projects with employees.
  • Create partnerships with foreign companies so that employees can take part in short term exchange programs.

Retaining talent is an issue that should be taken seriously. Though the motivations of employees may be of a personal nature, the fact that companies are setting up actions that motivate and encourage engagement and implementing special HR policies will allow employees to thrive and will also help to retain them.