Why money won’t solve your talent retention problems

Your business is as good as your people. You know this. But the average South African worker only stays at a company for 47 months, and as many as 55% of employees say they’d reject a counter-offer from their current employers to retain them.

This means that it can be difficult to hang on to the best people; not to mention, expensive to replace them.
Today, you need to get top talent to want to work for you, to enjoy working for you, and to keep wanting to work for you; a challenge for even the most established organisations.
I’ve compiled a few of the latest key recommendations to help you to maximise this.

1. Strong leadership

An estimated 44% of US workers leave their jobs because of bad leaders. So improving managerial proficiency is a critical first step in addressing retention … and it starts with treating employees with respect. From this base, comes key leadership principles like: 

· Communication

The best leaders don’t hand an employee a laptop and expect miracles. They encourage collaboration by inviting open discussions on the company’s goals, getting involved in team projects, and delicately monitoring performance by giving regular feedback.  

· Space provision

As many as 61% of US employees explain that trust between them and their superiors is an important contributor to their job satisfaction. Talented people need the autonomy to make their work their own. Trust them to take the reins as much as possible. 

· Hiring for potential

Everyone wants to leave a legacy. When recruiting new people, don’t hire on ability alone – hire on potential. Then, harness it by building confidence and self-motivation.  

2. Beyond remuneration 

It goes without saying that competitive salaries go a long way in retaining people. On its own, however, money just isn’t enough. In a world where competition is fierce and opportunities are global, ‘finance-based’ retention includes the risk of good people being bought out by a higher bidder. Try to embrace employee benefits as well. Start here: 

· Stimulating environment

The most engaging workplaces are comfortable, spacious, stimulating, quiet when they need to be, and well-ventilated. Partner these aspects with cultural elements like psychological support, honest policies, respect, growth, acknowledgement, influence, and a balanced workload, and you’ll go far in developing an environment people want to work in. 

· Telecommuting workforce

Your talent market isn’t always governed by geography. With fibre-optic data speeds, many people can (and do) work from anywhere in the world. Telecommuting may be a contrast to South Africa’s traditional approach to business, but the flexibility and autonomy it offers is something that many top performers may stay for. Plus, it saves on office overheads. 

· High regard and respect

Your employees are your best assets; not only because they do the work that pays, but also because word-of-mouth advertising from passionate staff is priceless. Treat your people (and any potential employee) like you’d treat a customer, and they’ll love you forever. 

3. A word on recruiting 

Retention is more than keeping good people … it’s hiring the best people in the first place; especially since the impact of high turnover on productivity, time, training, employee morale, sales, legalities, and clients is so high. (Did you know that a bad hire can cost an employer as much as five times the annual salary of the employee, according to a study by the Society for Human Resources Management?).
You can avoid poor hiring practices by posting more realistic job ads, conducting extensive candidate research, checking references, and not rushing the process. But there are other approaches that can help you hire the right people from the start. These include: 

· Engaging the new

These days, CVs come in all kinds of formats, from charts and tables, to pictures, infographics, videos, and audio. Modern candidates who use these new CV formats are edgy, dynamic, and likely to think differently. Embrace the new and see what it can do. 

· Employer branding

Set yourself apart by strategically building your brand as an employer. You can do this by defining your Employee Value Proposition (EVP), understanding your brand perception, and converting prospective employees into brand advocates through tools like social media. 

· Using social media

By sharing and creating compelling thought leadership content related to your industry, via blogs and social media campaigns, you can leverage two major outcomes:
1. Brand awareness: Position your company as an expert in your field, and you can engage existing, potential, and passive candidates, as well as clients.
2. Network engagement: Your people are your most valuable brand advocates. With an average of 155 connections each, turn them into a marketing powerhouse.
Great talent is more interested in finding fulfilment than in merely paying the bills. Keeping business fun, fair, engaging, and personal – and treating your employees like the dynamic, holistic individuals they are – can make a big difference to retaining them.

Greg Morris is the CEO of MICROmega Holdings.

– fin24
– Bamboo HR
– the Society for Human Resource Management

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