3 Major Benefits Of Retaining Your Best People – And 3 Ways To Do It
Over the last ten years, I and the Elevate Talent team have been looking at how organisations can ensure they have a steady pipeline of talented women, from all over the world, moving up to senior-level positions in the workplace, and the commercial benefits that this pipeline can provide.
However, over the last ten years, there seems to have been a lot more focus on recruitment than retention when it comes to diversity.
Whenever I think about the recruitment vs retention dilemma, I’m constantly reminded of when I started out in banking all those years ago.
Supermarkets’ retention strategy
Back then, the Head of Sales used this analogy of supermarkets that has always stuck with me.
He talked about how much easier it was for big supermarkets like Sainsbury’s (UK) and Walmart (USA) to make money when they retain their customers instead of trying to go out and bring in new ones all the time.
That’s why supermarkets motivate you to keep spending and encourage you to shop with them. They have loyalty schemes and attractive incentives in order to retain their customers because they know how much harder it is to go out and find new ones!
Many supermarkets in the world now offer incredibly bespoke incentive schemes to their customers with clubcards, giving them specific discounts on items that they purchase often.
After a while, things such as that fabric softener you like that is never on offer suddenly has 20% off at your supermarket chain! Fancy that.
We have this world where we can be so much more bespoke around our people, so this supermarket retention strategy, which has been going on successfully for over 30 years, should be thought about more in the workplace.
I think the same supermarket model needs to apply to companies today. The benefits of retaining your people through motivation and providing them with incentives to stay, train and work up the ladder, can be huge for businesses, especially those that have grown dependent on recruitment to fill their need for diversity.
Let’s look at three of the main benefits of retention now:
- Saving money.
- Protecting staff morale and productivity.
- Saving time.
Retention can save you a fortune
Aside from the obvious fact that recruitment is a massive unknown, it is also incredibly expensive to find someone, and I’m not just talking about the fees you might pay to a recruitment agency.
The cost does vary from position to position but, on average, replacing a junior employee will cost around 50% of their annual salary, and at mid to senior levels it goes up to 125%!
The point here is that companies have got a lot of budget there to pay their current people more, or invest in career-boosting schemes and training, just by retaining instead of replacing.
For example, even if you increase your junior salary or incentive schemes by 10%, you just saved yourself 40% of the budget!
Retention protects staff morale and productivity
On top of the monetary savings you can make through retention, there are also other major benefits that people forget about that are unquantifiable.
A good example of this is staff morale.
I have worked with many organisations that have gone through personnel change or redundancies and, in many cases, staff morale is very low because they are having to pick up the pieces left by the company being unable to retain their people.
This means more work for the same pay, which can cause people, who were happy before, to become stretched and stressed, and as a result, productivity takes a hit.
This is something that we are hearing about time and time again. In fact, it’s become one of the most common themes of our coaching conversations. We’ve seen the direct impact losing 10% of an organisation’s staff has on its morale and productivity, which is why we are keen to help companies retain their people!
Retention saves you tons of time
Another major benefit of retaining your staff instead of recruiting is that it saves you a heap of time. Even if you manage to find the perfect recruit, you still have to go through the onboarding process. They still need to integrate, get used to your systems and adapt to your culture, which doesn’t happen overnight.
Over the last few years, a number of our clients have moved to new companies, and they find it takes them six months until they start to feel like they’re effective.
But it’s not just the new recruit who needs to settle in. The entire team around them have got to get used to this new person as well, so they’ve got to integrate and adapt too.
By focusing on retention, you may never need to spend the resources or face that drop in productivity that is always associated with bringing in someone new.
However, even if you did bring someone in successfully, companies still need to have good retention strategies in place otherwise you run the risk of that person not sticking around very long, and the process ends up repeating itself a couple of years later!
It’s a vicious cycle that can end up on repeat, so having a solid retention strategy is key regardless of whether you are recruiting or not.
The thing about recruitment is that it’s never an easy process, and when it comes to diversity, it becomes even harder to find the right people.
Because of this there’s always a higher chance that companies are more likely to replace an outgoing female or diverse member of their team with the “majority male” candidate purely because they are easier to find.
So, how can we all do better at retaining our talented, diverse people? I’ve found there to be three ways all organisations can do this:
Invest in your existing employees at all levels. Companies are still focusing on the top talent and the senior levels because, beyond that, it’s such a huge job.
This is exactly why outsourcing is key.
At Elevate Talent, we deliberately focus on that mid level because we know it’s hard for companies to spend the time and the personnel getting that right.
Also, by outsourcing this work, you are going to be handing it over to real experts who have years of experience in training, developing and motivating your people. We spend all day every day in this world, which is why we’ve retained every single client since 2016.
So, find yourself a good, trusted partner and outsource the work to them.
Remember the earlier supermarket analogy? Supermarkets reward their customers for their loyalty, so reward your employees too!
In a recent webinar, we asked over 1,500 women in 54 countries how many of their companies provide them with a clear path to the reward, and only 26% said their companies do this!
This means that three out of four women are telling us they do not know how to progress; the path isn’t being made clear for them.
No wonder talented women leave their jobs!
People need to know how to get the reward and how they can progress in their career, so if it isn’t clear and the rewards are hidden, then don’t be surprised if they take their talents elsewhere.
Whether you are male or female, recognition through mentorships and sponsorships is absolutely key for retaining your people.
We need to recognise staff by ensuring that they have mentors or sponsors and that those mentors and sponsors know exactly how to help.
We hear so much feedback from our clients that they have a sponsor, but the sponsor doesn’t really know what to do and they don’t know how to guide the people looking to them for key career advice.
That’s why Elevate Talent has built up an extensive network of mentors and mentees across many global and multinational companies. We aim to provide a positive baseline for our clients so they can come together to discuss ideas and share new ways to progress in the workplace.
So, if you invest in your people, reward them with a clear path to progression and help them along the way with effective mentoring programmes and sponsors, you will find you have a strong team of loyal people who will stick with you through thick and thin.
I look forward to sharing more next week.
How do you retain your talent? If you have any useful tips or strategies, we’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment in the box below.