Female worker

The retention challenge

Claire McCartney, Resourcing and Talent Planning Adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), provides her view on what organisations need to do to retain talent.

Despite the difficult economic climate and the fact that there are far more people looking for work in the labour market, a survey conducted by the CIPD found an increased number of organisations had reported both recruitment and retention difficulties. More than 8 in 10 organisations cite recruitment challenges, with candidates lacking specialist or technical skills the top reason given for these difficulties.

There are also signs that retention is returning to the agenda. More than two thirds of organisations in our survey said they had experienced retention challenges. Organisations seem to be primarily focusing on three areas to help retain valued employees. First, they are investing in more learning and development opportunities for their employees. Second, they are up-skilling line managers in people management skills, and third, they are trying to create greater employee involvement in their organisations, through consulting with employees more.

But are these the things which matter most to talented employees? And what about the needs of new talent entering in to a business?

The good news is that opportunities for learning are highly sought after and particularly attractive to younger people entering the workforce, who are experiencing less movement and opportunities for advancement than previous generations.

The one-to-one relationship with a line manager is also very important. After all, we know that people often don’t leave organisations; they leave their managers. If line managers can provide flexibility and autonomy then, again, these are things which will appeal to the younger generation.

In addition to all of this, an organisation’s values and involvement in activities like corporate social responsibility are also very influential in whether talented employees stay or go. In light of the current trust crisis rolling across many of our once esteemed institutions, a company with strong, well communicated and practiced values will go far in attracting and retaining the best people. As competition for talent starts to hot up once again, it is worth focusing on some of these areas and what culturally differentiates you from your competitors.

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK