(Editor’s Note: The above article is an excerpt from Allegis Group’s latest research report, “Global Workforce Trends 2018,” which is available for immediate, free download.)
As many employers scramble to boost recruiting capabilities, an often-overlooked priority has become more critical than ever. That issue is the need to retain the talent an organization has on hand.
Often, the most valuable employees with rare skills are the most urgent flight risk for employers as competitors try to lure them away or they move to pursue new career development opportunities. Many facets of the employee experience contribute to improved retention. Two areas of increasing importance are creative career paths and an emphasis on learning and development.
To protect the talent they have, employers can take a number of measures to not only reduce the loss of workers but also to boost the knowledge and skills within the organization.
First, employers can provide career path options to fit the individual needs and expectations of their employees. While this seems logical, historically, employees have been forced into pre-determined career paths, with promotions that lead from contributor to expert, manager, and leadership.
Second, in many cases, a highly skilled worker may not desire a management or leadership destination but instead want to broaden their skills, switch to new fields, or gain new experiences through work at new locations and participation in desired projects. Employers can accommodate this type of priority if the culture and the perspective of an employer’s manager and corporate leadership actively encourages and promotes employee mobility.
A commitment to continuous skills development is essential for a growing company in a global business environment where innovation in technologies and processes occurs rapidly. Great employees understand the importance of continuous learning for their careers, and leading employers recognize the value of facilitating that education.
Support for employee learning outside the organization can include time and funding for attendance at college and university programs. It can include in-house classroom instruction, e-learning programs, and even micro-learning resources that provide immediate help for developing small-scale, tactical skills.
In most cases, giving employees control over their development, whether for learning new skills to add to their current job or to take a new career path, are effective means of boosting engagement and retention — an essential need given the cost of acquiring and training new talent.
Support for employee development can be one of the most effective means of protecting an organization from the adverse effects of global talent scarcity. While the costs of employee development are significant, they are typically much lower than the costs of acquiring new talent. Looking ahead, employers are likely to embrace learning and development, career path support, and innovations to enhance the employee experience as more than a nice-to-have initiative. Instead, the commitment will be a priority that helps companies achieve increased control over their supply of vital skills.