Talent Retention…Some Simple Things We Know That Work Well…

Talent Retention...Some Simple Things We Know That Work Well...

The topic of talent retention has been a major one for organisations for many years. However, as things begin to return back to ‘normal’ and with lots of talk about ‘The Great Resignation’ we thought it was timely to focus in on the topic.

Here Fionnán O’Sullivan, Managing Partner with Barden’s financial services practice takes a quick look at what’s going on in the market right now and shares some of his top and simple tips for retaining talent.

The market right now…

There is no doubt that right now we are in a candidate driven market, meaning people have choices and are without doubt reviewing their options when it comes to their career. This in turn has a direct impact on a company’s talent pool and their ability to retain talent.

In a recent study, of approx. 1,000 Irish employees, by the Kemmy Business School WorkFutures Lab, 40% of respondents said they agreed or strongly agreed that their future career lies outside of their current organisation.

Focusing in on the United States, a massive 4 million people quit their jobs in April 2021 alone…the biggest spike on record. And further to this another survey conducted by Microsoft, of more than 31,000 global workers, found that 41% are considering quitting or changing their profession this year.

If your organisation hasn’t thought about talent retention for quite a while it is most definitely time to start thinking and doing!

So what is talent retention about and what can you do?

Talent retention is ultimately about living the reasons that the person joined your business for in the first place.  Reflecting how the interview process felt in how it feels in the office, albeit virtually at the moment, on a Monday morning.

There are loads of different things you can put in place to increase talent retention but you can’t expect any magic bullet.  You also need to mean the things you put in place and your leaders need to live it.

Some simple things that we know work include:

Flexibility: every salary survey in the last three years has pointed to flexibility being key.  Flexibility to start a little earlier/later, maybe even to finish at 4pm on a Friday, take a half day in the summer months.  Small, simple things like this empower people and encourage them to build a life around work.  The more integrated life and work are the less likely someone is to leave. Following on from that, COVID has completely changed how we work as a nation, and an expectation that someone will spend 5 full days a week In an office in the future will put your organisation at a distinct disadvantage when hiring talent.

Learning: build small, regular learning opportunities into the working week and your people will feel invested in.  It does not have to cost anything but time.  Supporting study (leave, fees and encouragement) is also very powerful.  Offering opportunities for people to take on new duties can develop them horizontally (rather than vertically) and solve lots of problems for you at the same time.  Learning is key to keeping your team together.

Wellness & Mindfulness: There’s lots of literature out there on this and it’s worth spending a little time and picking one or two things that make practical sense for you to implement.  Small gestures in this space can be the glue that keeps people together.

Random Acts of Kindness: These are the most powerful things a leader can do.  Getting in ahead of an expected salary review and offering the raise before it is asked for; telling someone to finish up early of a Friday as you know they have put the hours in this week already; being cognisant of life events and thinking of ways to make them feel important to you too.  Random acts of kindness build loyalty like nothing else.  

Implementing some of these simple, low cost, approaches to talent attraction and retention can creating lasting value for you and for your people.  Get the mix right for you and you’ll win the war for talent in the long run.

Building Your Team?

Fionnán O’Sullivan, Managing Partner with Barden’s financial services practice. Reach out to Fionnán to see how he, and his team, can help you build and retain truly world class teams.



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