According to the latest LinkedIn Talent Trends South Africa report, the retention of talent is the main priority for many HR professionals and nearly half of those surveyed listed retention as their key metric for determining a quality hire. And whilst there are many things that an organisation can do to engage employees and improve retention, nothing is more important than the initial recruitment process.

Understanding Individual Drivers

Today’s talent wants to be recognised as individuals. They don’t subscribe to a cookie cutter approach and are demanding to know more about what the organisation can offer – now and in the future – in regards to their career development prospects.

In my experience, too much of the recruitment process is focused on the NOW with scant regard paid to what the candidate is aiming to do in the next year or two.

Great hires are those individuals who are not only considering their current move but also where this will take them on their journey towards professional fulfilment. The choice of candidates for Financial Manager, for example, seems clear – hire a CA. It’s not really that simple though. After all, you get CAs and CAs – ones who would prefer to stick to the finance lane and who envision themselves as the Financial Director and then there are those who want to shift across to a more business-focused role where their eye is on the chair currently occupied by the Managing Director or CEO. Unless you take time to unpack this in the initial interview stages, you might end up hiring a traditional CA when you’re ultimately hoping that they’ll grow within the organisation and become the succession plan for your current business head.

At TSR, we’re committed to fully understanding the NOW and FUTURE of both our clients and the individuals we represent. In addition to matching the technical competencies we’re committed to aligning, as closely as possible, the organisational development needs and individual career aspirations, so that the chances of long-term mutually beneficial matches are realised.

Career Partnerships key retention tactic

Two-thirds of companies are expected to face internal skills shortages by 2020 and the recognition that developing internal capability and succession is key to continuing to be competitive in an ever more demanding environment. As business has evolved and job for life has all but disappeared, many organisations sought to shift responsibility for career development to the individual employees themselves. This has not proved to be all that effective, as many individuals, rather than finding opportunity internally, believe that career progression can only be achieved by switching jobs (and employers).

In flat organisational structures traditional hierarchical career progression is limited and yet many

organisational policies and procedures are still based on this premise. Gladly, trends are indicating that future-thinking HR professionals are tackling the status quo, choosing to build something that speaks to the joint needs of organisation and individual.

90% of HR heads interviewed by SHRM want to move away from ‘promotions-based’ career culture to a ‘growth-based’ one.

This effectively creates the opportunity for individuals to develop and grow within their existing roles, rather than believing that growth and all that goes with it, including increased responsibility and remuneration, are dependent on an upward move in the organogram. Enabling – and encouraging – lateral moves allows individuals to acquire new skills, experience new people and places and gain the exposure to more challenging situations. This is most easily achieved through projects, secondments and the like. In addition to keeping individuals motivated and engaged, organisations who enable environments that encourage non-siloed work benefit greatly with lower staff turnover, higher levels of employee engagement and resulting increases in productivity and innovation.

Top Tips for Increased Retention

Although there are many factors that drive retention – or the lack thereof – there are three simple things that organisations can do to improve their chances of recruiting and retaining the right people.

1.    Hire for Fit, not just Fact 

Recognition that culture fit is arguably the most important determiner of employee-employer stickiness is essential. In my many years of recruitment I know of several cases where highly competent individuals with impressive track records have entered environments that have not proved to be a fit and where their happiness, and ultimately performance, takes a nosedive. Similarly, I’ve had the pleasure of placing individuals who might not have been the strongest on paper but whose fit with the organisation and the team have spring-boarded them to immediate and future success.

Our philosophy aligns with the Tom Peters saying, “Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill” and we work closely with our clients to best understand their corporate culture, team dynamics and the blueprint of what “success looks like” in their environment.

2.    Prioritise On-boarding 

Employees who experience good on-boarding are 69% more likely to stay with an organisation for longer than three years. Too often the on-boarding process is left to chance, with a handful of documents and a short tour summing up the process. Effective on-boarding should factor in a range of elements and allow the new employee to better understand how they can add value and build relationships internally, not just comply with policies and procedures.

At TSR we believe that we’re an integral part of this transition process. Research shows that employees have made up their mind about staying – whether consciously or subconsciously – within the first three weeks and those who’re unhappy will secure alternative employment within the next six months. We partner with our clients to manage this transition, and where clients don’t yet have an optimised on-boarding process, we provide additional expertise and assistance in this regard.

3.    Enable Individuality

High achievers do not expect to be constrained by outdated work practices and would expect to be able to individualise their work environment. Companies with the highest retention statistics are those that have a clear performance culture and where employees are empowered to manage themselves, accessing flexibility and remote working for example, in a way that allows them to achieve the work-life balance we all strive for.

If you’re interested in having a conversation about how we could assist you in improving your retention statistics, through assured recruitment, please do give us a call.