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Talent Retention: It's not me, it's you.


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The phrase ‘Great Resignation’ is probably not new to you at this point. The pandemic, unarguably, sparked the new demand for hybrid working arrangements. But its effects on the workplace go much further than talent just wanting to wear their PJ bottoms to meetings. As a result of some time to reflect and the ongoing talent shortage, numerous revelations about what exactly an employee can now come to expect from an employer have pervaded the employment space. So how can you as a company avoid the dreaded breakup-esque discussion with your valued staff?


77% of the reasons behind employee departures are preventable. We hear the same reasoning cited time and again–companies falling short of the now standard demands for greater efficiency, flexibility, and the elusive ‘culture’. The first two are easy enough to tackle. In most professions, allowing for hybrid and flexible working arrangements is not especially difficult to accommodate–asynchronous working has the potential to cause a few more issues, but even this has its quick fixes. Flexibility, check. In terms of efficiency, you’ll have seen the proliferating op-eds on ‘Zoom fatigue’, meetings for the sake of meetings, and the eternal presenteeism-based performance metrics. But, so long as you don’t inundate employees with meeting invites, peppering their inbox with zoom links, you’re unlikely to push them out the door.


So what is it? What separates effective talent retention from talent loss? Here are some of our ideas on the subject:


Potential for Professional Development:

You don’t want to be considered another ‘dead-end job’? Then do something about it. If your employees can see no possibility of professional growth, upskilling, or any form of career progress, they’re not going to stick around. This doesn’t mean boot out all your upper management and promote EVERYONE. Promotion is not the only way to progress; it’s different for everybody, and your workplace should reflect this.

Role expansion, greater responsibility, a shift to an adjacent project–you should be plotting out with employees which areas they’re seeking development in and tailor their ‘path’ accordingly. Allowing employees to take control of their career in this manner, and demonstrating your capacity to support them, provokes a buy-in from the individual, keeping them engaged rather than feeling stifled or stagnant.

Role Clarity and Effective Delegation

This begins before the talent even sees your job ad. Do you know what you expect from this role, and therefore the individual that takes it on? Are the different roles in your company clearly delineated, or do all the lines sort of blur… Talent does not want to be forever picking up the slack, deviating from their perception of their own job. Lacking job clarity is one sure-fire way to push people out; does the term ‘burnout’ ring any bells?


A key part of this element involves empowering employees to set their own boundaries. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. They apply everywhere in the workplace. But this doesn’t exactly stem from role clarity alone, but rather the looming shape overhanging this entire piece.

Culture

Shocker, we know. But everything comes back to this. In fact, 88% of employees and 94% of company leaders consider establishing a distinct workplace culture as a key factor for success’– hitting you with all the stats! A company culture of transparency and listening, for instance, is how you foster effective delegation of tasks, and minimise the risk of burnout.

What exactly is culture? Well, it’s expressed in whether employees are credited for their work, whether there’s an ingrained sense of mentorship, rather than a ‘pulling up the ladder behind me’ mentality. It’s in your relationship with your boss–do you feel listened to? Supported? Or just as another resource for them to pull from.

And you don’t get to cop out just because you don’t necessarily work in a physical office! The onus remains upon you as a company to curate and implement a digitally-based culture; recognition for a job well done, or the possibility of regular check-ins/chats doesn’t disappear with the obsoletion of fob access, it just might require a little more effort to start.

Culture is the clearly articulated values which underpin a company, visibly ‘lived’ every day in the workplace. Culture is what will set your company apart, not a monthly team breakfast or the ability to work from home two days a week. Establishing a company culture isn’t easy: it means communicating your vision, your mission and your objectives across the team. And if you haven’t yet defined these things, you better get on it ASAP. Figure out what exactly your Employee Value Proposition is, and ensure that it matches the reality of day-to-day life in your office. An authentic, clearly defined culture is the only way to ensure talent retention, long term, not just until the Amazon vouchers run out.


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