American rapper Joey Badass once said, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link so you’ve got to make sure everybody in your crew is on point.” This popular quote holds good in all spheres of life.
The start of every business strategy includes latest machinery, best possible technology, innovative products, disruptive market strategy and capital planning. However, the best execution can be done only by the best manpower that we hire, and more importantly retain.
Over the last few years, companies like Apple, Google, Amazon and Tesla have seen growth rates as high as 184% while delivering what few others also do. But what matters is how and what efficiency do they deliver.
Late Steve Jobs of Apple summed up talent in his quote: “Go after the cream of the cream.”
Over the last few months, having spoken to various organisations across Nepal, a common train of thought is that of a dearth in quality resources and the challenge of retaining good ones. So much so that owners were spending a large chunk of their operational time hiring rather than scaling. High manpower turnover ratio always directly impacts the bottom line on account of increased HR budget, customer dissatisfaction, learning curve, productivity dip, production loss, machine damage, etc.
The best workers do the best and the most work. But many companies do an awful job of finding and keeping them. To begin with, we need to understand why employees look for change. As per the 2018 Retention Report, seven out of the 10 reasons were preventable by employers. The top 5 reasons for employees leaving their jobs are:
- Career development (21%)
- Work-life balance (13%)
- Manager behaviour (11%)
- Personal or family health issues (9%)
- Compensation and benefits (9%)
I believe it is time for organisations to take the first step in creating a holistic and healthy environment to retain the right talent. Here’s how:
• Having the right interview pattern
The WhatsApp story of a tiny team of 35 engineers with an over 450 million userbase took the world by storm during its acquisition by Facebook. They achieved this with a small team, since they only hired the right and high-performing talent. This can be achieved by setting the right job expectations, defining the correct selection criteria, right interview questions, employee assessment and fitment to organisation culture and tone. Many times organisations do not clearly define job expectation and selection criteria resulting in hiring of incorrect and misfit employees.
• On-boarding and buddy system
Joining a new company is always a daunting experience, even more, if left in the dark to find the way yourself. During various employee interviews, it’s common to hear, that employees wished for a smoother and welcoming on-boarding process. Incomplete on-boarding always results in increased learning curve and reduced performance. This can be achieved by creating a planned on-boarding checklist and structure like introduction to team, training on organisation policies and processes, admin connects, detailed handover of work-related areas, unresolved action items, etc.
• Performance monitoring
Monitoring of employee performance in most organisations is an annual activity with one directional feedback on performance and improvement. By making this annual activity, we have waited for one full year to give the employee a chance to improve and get their game in shape. It’s recommended to have 30-minute feedback sessions on a monthly basis. Further, a 360-degree feedback is critical for any organisation to plan an effective and happy workplace. It’s time to hear employees, their challenges, their needs, training requirements as part of the performance monitoring cycle.
An interesting system in LinkedIn is no employee is promoted. They need to apply for a promotion if they feel they fit the criteria. The vertical job movement is through application process, interview, presentations, etc. This gives all employees a fair chance to move forward and define their career growth.
• Forced business processes
In most cases employees performing their jobs have limited overview and impact of their actions on the organisation as a whole. We can ensure employees give their best performance by clearly defining processes and sub-processes. This will ensure all necessary activities/controls have been performed as per job expectation.
• Know your employees
As a company starts growing larger, senior management tend to lose connect with employees. It can be commonly heard during exit interviews that the management does not know if the respective employee even exists in the organisation. Even the owner, or the CEO needs to meet the team, learn about their abilities and capabilities and make they feel valued. A sense of belonging and being acknowledged can result in high-performing, dedicated and committed team.
Organise team hurdles with senior management, team potluck, recognition awards, random tea parties, small team building activities, one-on-one between high-performing employees and senior management to name a few.
• Financial remuneration
One of the retention strategies implemented by large corporates like Google, Amazon and Samsung to retain high-performing employees is a pay scale that is above the industry. This ensures retention of employees and higher performance. Very commonly used remuneration tools are large bonuses linked to target achievements and company performance, ESOPs for long-term retention, Nepal Bonus Act links company performance to additional bonus.
As per Global Talent Trends, 51% of employees wish their company offered better work-life balance like shorter commute times, transport, flexibility in work timings, a nice cup of coffee, evening snack, etc. Sometimes permission to come in 30 minutes late to work can retain an employee.
• Toxic environment
Statistics have shown 76% of the employees have said they have actually thought of a job change due to a toxic boss. Toxic bosses are omnipresent and dealing with them is critical for any organisation before it loses a large chuck of its talented workforce. Reviewing exit interviews, safe and secure workplace harassment channels, random interviews across skip levels, etc is a start in cleaning a toxic environment.
Leaders need to try to implement user-centric solutions in their effort to identifying, hiring, grooming and retaining the right talent. If this can be achieved, you will see astounding growth that will make your company desired by any workforce, thus attracting the cream of the cream.
Take proactive actions now, hire right and prevent the exit.