by Lynette Silva
I love my job. Every day, I get to help people find ways to make their work environments and culture more appreciative, grateful and purpose-driven. That’s powerful stuff. Arriving at such an important end goal, however, requires involving all employees in the effort. After all, every employee contributes to the culture of the company (whether good or bad).
The ramifications of this are quite broad. Many are calling 2015 the year of the retention challenge, with good reason. A recent KPMG global survey of “people and change practitioners” in their member firms highlighted this challenge, but also noted retention issues are different (quoting):
- Skills shortages are set to increase as globalization and competitive pressures take hold across sectors and industries and improving economic conditions spur employees to seek new jobs.
- Two-thirds of survey respondents say it is more important to address the talent needs of all employees, in the context of the business and its strategy.
- Just over half agree or strongly agree that pursuing high potential talent at the team’s expense puts the business at risk.
A key theme of those findings is what we’ve been discussing for years – the efforts of all employees matter, otherwise why do we employ them? So if all efforts matter, we should be doing much more to invest in all employees in terms of training and development, tools and solutions to get the job done, and recognition and rewards.
For too long, resources have been concentrated on top performers primarily or fully at the exclusion of others. Our goal instead should be to offer those top performers the recognition, skills development and resources they deserve, but also ensure we are doing the same for the “Mighty Middle” – those 70% of employees in the middle of the performance bell curve. By focusing more time, attention and investment in these employees, we will move many of them up the bell curve into top performer range. At the very least, we are increasing the skills, commitment and engagement of a far greater percentage of employees – all proven to contribute to increase performance, productivity and retention.
Where to start? The KPMG survey points out an important path – “in context of the business and its strategy.” What guides your strategy? Many organizations have defined strategic objectives (goals) and core values (desired behaviors in achievement of those goals). That’s the ideal starting point. Work to embed those objectives and goals deeply into the daily efforts of every employee. Very specifically recognize employees when they do so. Empower everyone to praise and appreciate each other when they see the same. Provide a method and mechanism to make it fun, fast and easy to do so.
How are you viewing retention challenges in 2015? What’s your plan to retain needed talent?