May 25, 2022 – If you’re surprised your A-player is leaving, you’re in good company. Too often, employers miss the strongest weapon in their arsenal against employee turnover—communication. Quality communication goes beyond annual reviews and occasional check-ins, according to Ken Schmitt and Victoria Willenberg of TurningPoint Executive Search, in a new report. Big box retailers, large tech companies, and government agencies are keeping their fingers on the pulse of their team’s individual goals, as well as the changing marketplace.
Here are some tips that the search firm’s recruiters offer for retaining your top talent: Schedule regular career conversations; acknowledge their future plans for growth; map out a specific timeline for upward growth; provide training and opportunities for development; revisit compensation to ensure market value; and consider new ideas and be flexible. Let’s take a closer look.
Schedule Regular Career Conversations
The war for talent is raging and employers must be willing to adapt their strategies to keep their employees from going AWOL. “Scheduling regular career conversations give you the opportunity to check-in and assess how they are feeling about their job, discuss career aspirations, and how you can support them, and inquire if there are other ways they’d like to engage with the organization outside the scope of their current role,” said TurningPoint Executive Search.
Acknowledge Their Future Plans for Growth
“People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.” That old saying, it turns out, is completely true. “Our exec search team has seen this over and over in their 80 combined years in practice,” said the report. “What is it that makes a manager the catalyst for a job change? A lack of investment and interest in their employees’ professional future. While their career may have been following a specific trajectory when an employee joined the organization, it is likely that trajectory or the end result has changed.” Communicating regularly with your employees to determine their career aspirations and providing avenues and opportunities for them to reach those goals, will go a long way toward keeping the employees you worked hard to hire and train.
Map Out a Specific Timeline for Upward Growth
Now that you’ve learned where your employee is heading, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. “Succession is sometimes a game of Tetris – one piece has to move before there’s space for another to slide in,” said the search firm. “When you have a broad view of your employees’ mobility plans, you can create a timeline and pathway for them to move. This is why it is key to have career conversations with all employees, not just those at the top. Employees don’t want promises of growth. They want to see a timeline and action plan of when and how it’s going to happen.”
Provide Training and Opportunities for Development
You will have employees who have no aspirations to move up the chain but have a desire to grow and expand within their current department and role. Give them the autonomy to search out training and education to support that desire, says the report. Budgeting funds, approving out-of-office time, and providing mentoring opportunities send a strong message to your team: I support your desire for growth.
Revisit Compensation to Ensure Market Value
“This one can be tougher for employers to swallow, as it will cost the organization more than just time and a few resources,” said TurningPoint Executive Search. “But in a hiring market, like we’re experiencing today, employees have options and many of them are talking to exec search recruiters. While compensation isn’t the driving force behind a job change, a 25 to 50 percent increase in pay will definitely sway an employee considering making the switch. (Yes, that’s what many companies are offering!) Prioritizing compensation research to ensure you’re staying competitive is imperative,” the study said. “It’s easy to get stuck in a compensation rut and miss out on attracting new talent, as well, as lose the talent you already have.”
Consider New Ideas and be Flexible
Being able to pivot is critical. Over the past couple years, organizations have been forced to change things up in more ways than one. Scheduling and office time has seen the most change and employees are not willing to return to the old status quo. “Consider new ideas for scheduling and in-office requirements,” said the TurningPoint report. “Our exec search team will tell you that flexible scheduling and the opportunity for remote work is what sent many employees packing and drew them to their new jobs. Be willing to compromise and get creative with work-from-home options including specified weekly meeting days, rotating in-office time, limiting travel expectations, and other hybrid options.”
“The best advice we can give you as exec search experts is: Take notice before they give notice!”
TurningPoint is an executive recruiting resource for sales, marketing, operations, and executive leadership professionals across the U.S. The firm launched in 2007 in San Diego, CA. Its team offers experience in recruiting, human resources, sales, marketing, training, and management.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media