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HR Challenges: Retaining and Gaining Talent

By: Michael Bleau

Tuesday, February 01, 2011
 
With the continued economic recovery comes opportunity and challenges for business managers, as operations scale to meet new demand. As resumes continue to pile in, you may lose sight of the potential for the loss of some of your key current employees. Just as your business picks up and you start posting job openings, other companies are doing so too, which may
Retaining and gaining talent
tempt your employees to leave. Many people have felt stuck, waiting out the recession while they inherit their eliminated peer’s workload.

Business leaders need to recognize that the wait is over and they must move quickly to retain their top talent. Survey results from HR gurus at Right Management find that 83 percent of the gainfully employed expect to change jobs in 2011. This is a sharp increase from an identical survey conducted a year ago, when just 60 percent of workers expressed an intention to find a new job in the coming year.

Loyalty in today’s employment relationship is undervalued and not often enough reciprocated between managers and employees. Building trust, loyalty and security takes thoughtful effort and works both ways to secure stability. But doing it right takes planning. Research shows that companies providing career-development opportunities are more than four times less likely to lose talent compared to organizations that allow workers to grow stale.

Getting a Plan in Place

A good place to start is to identify critical positions where you feel growth or expanded coverage will be required. Look at all parts of your business, and also consider where you may be at risk by not being able to quickly bridge the loss of an incumbent in a key position. Next, work with your HR team to build your budget by determining what compensation you intend to offer candidates in order to fill new positions. Check these against industry standards, and also look outside of your industry to consider other growing businesses within your geographic region.

Next, identify and meet with your existing star employees to learn about their career aspirations and how your plans mesh with theirs. It’s possible their goals may fit areas of future demand. This also gives you an opportunity to proactively bump-up their compensation to get competitive or to reinstate pay cuts enacted as belt-tightening survival tactics. Do so in a planned, open and methodical way with the intention of satisfying the goals of employees in ways that align with your business plans. It’s imperative to have a strategy. Simply engaging in exploratory meetings may spawn rumors about job cuts, deflate morale, heighten job stress and fuel the prospect of employee departures. You might also tap high-value employees to leverage their social and business networks to fill open positions.

Your high-value employees have mobility options, so it’s important to develop strategies to keep them engaged, productive and performing. As the new year unfolds, build a retention and recruitment strategy to ensure business stability and scalability. Holding onto and bringing on the right people will be a defining factor in your ability to grow. MF

 


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