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So you’ve got the talent, but can you keep it?

Liam Butler, vice president of corporate sales in EMEA at SumTotal, challenges the industry to invest in its talent


“Free gourmet food?”


“Free gym access and fitness classes?”


“Thorough career mapping and progression with the option to expand your role in the direction you want?”

“Count me in.”


Silicon Valley tech companies bear the gold standard for recognising the value of talent retention. While most other companies cannot afford some of the more extravagant perks offered by these giants, the company mind-set and value of employees is easily demonstrable.


It’s understandable why there has been such an impetus behind employee retention.  Macroeconomic and forecasting company, Oxford Economics, believe it costs more than £30,000 to replace every departing employee in terms of lost output (with the average employee taking 28 weeks to achieve optimum productivity), temporary staff, advertising costs, management time conducting interviews and HR time chewed up by processes.


So how do you keep them?


Onboarding: A fully developed, personal progression path for each employee that maps key milestones and expectations. This, above all else, is the most attractive thing to an employee. Organisations with even just a standard onboarding programme have 50% greater new hire retention than those without. It allows them to feel far more comfortable in their new role as they’ll be more effective and productive as they’ll know what is expected of them and how to do it.


And not just new employees; those that have received a promotion, have been transferred from elsewhere, or are returning to work after a period away also benefit. The learning journey should always start with a new role – or even earlier. Not only does it provide them with the information, training, coaching and networks that they need, it also equips managers to be successful and drive team performance.


A sophisticated onboarding programme will offer managers real-time visibility into strengths, weaknesses and knowledge gaps used to determine what learning needs to be set in place across their entire team. Not only does this benefit the employees, manager satisfaction increases by 20% when their employees have formal onboarding training. The business as a whole is likely to see measurable improvements in business metrics, like revenue, customer retention and satisfaction, and reduced skills attrition.


Yet despite this, only 25% of organisations leverage a dedicated solution to support and speed new employees’ road to performance during onboarding.


Why do employees like it?


Beyond getting the tedious logistics and compliance issues out of the way before day one, the main attraction is how engaged they feel with the company. Onboarding provides a tangible touchpoint for employees to see how the company is engaging and mapping out their future career progression.


The notion of an ever evolving role with a sense of steer as to how it changes is a huge attraction to employees. Onboarding programmes are fantastic tools in this respect. By tracking performance and capability on an ongoing basis it helps potential new roles within the organization be identified and mapped back to the prospective employee – understanding their unique fit or required development course for the role and then linking them to the content.


The most important thing to ensure is that it’s engaging for the user. A dull or difficult to navigate experience will instantly disengage your employee, stunt development and potentially push them away as soon as they begin! You need to ensure that the interface is enjoyable, the content is engaging and that the employee can clearly see the progress they are making. It also helps to see the first touch point with your employee as the beginning of the process. Don’t wait until they are sat at their desk, look to engage and train them from the moment they first make contact through a recruitment or social site.


You don’t need to lock the door to keep talent


By unifying critical learning, talent, and HR processes to drive engagement and speed time to capability, companies are able to retain talent at a significantly improved rate. Not only will retention rates increase, but employees will be more engaged, skilled and progressing towards higher abilities from day one. Don’t just leave a welcome pack on the desk, think about the bigger picture and ensure that you are doing everything you can to retain the talent walking back through the door.




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