Employee retention strategies have never been more important considering the shortages and competition for talent today. A few weeks ago, The Human Capital Group hosted a panel discussion concerning employee retention strategies for local HR executives as part of our Transformational Leadership Event Series.
The Panelists represented several of the most significant companies within their industries on a global basis:
- The head of talent development and training for Nissan North America
- Bridgestone America’s leader for total rewards and employee engagement
- HCA’s corporate head of talent engagement and development; including senior leadership
- The head of employee experience at LifeWay Christian Resources
The following report represents some of the major themes and innovative approaches discussed by the panelists who are responsible for talent retention within their respective organizations.
Panel Discussion: Creating Innovative Employee Retention Strategies
For all the organizations, panelists and attendees, talent retention is one of the greatest challenges they face locally and nationally (and for some globally). With a national unemployment rate residing at a historical low of 3.6% and Nashville’s unemployment rate hovering at a mere 2.6%, Nashville’s HR leaders are in an unparalleled position to define unique strategies to retain their employees.
In our panel discussion, HR leaders shared six employee retention strategies that are taking center stage in Music City.
1. Senior executives identify and communicate more frequently with high performers
One of the major changes all the panelists noted was that their organizations were more aggressively and frequently identifying high performers – and ensuring that career discussions were occurring between these high potentials and the senior executives in their area of responsibility (not Human Resources).
In these conversations, the senior executives articulate why this person is important to the organization and how they hope to see them progress. Previously, they only went through the process of identifying high performing talent once a year, at best, and few conversations occurred directly with the high performer. If these conversations did occur, they were often held by Human Resources. They now are doing this exercise at least 2 to 3 times per year with senior level engagement.
2. Segmenting your employee population and identifying what matters to them
Three of the four companies had segmented their employee base by generation and function, then developed retention strategies for each generational group. For example, Millennials are more interested in experiences (e.g. the ability to lead a major initiative or take on a project for two years) versus understanding career ladders and standard progression.
3. Employee Value Proposition Statements
Two of the panelists have guided their organizations through the creation, launch, and adoption of Employee Value Proposition (EVP) statements. These statements define what the specific value their respective organization offers their employees versus the industry and competition (along with others seeking to hire their employees away).
4. Get ahead of social media
Historically, most panelist companies had not taken a pro-active approach to communicating to their employees, their industry or customers through social media. All of them now have some dedicated function focused on communicating the “news” through social media. They do not want a disgruntled person, persons, or third party source setting the message with employees and are actively seeking to communicate and present the right messages to their employees via social media platforms.
5. More frequent and real-time surveys: staying closer to your employees through electronic surveys
Instead of surveying the entire employee population once a year and then taking three to four months to process the information, these companies have adopted real-time surveys. By now using a solid statistical sample of responses, by area, they can be pro-active instead of re-active. The responses are posted real-time each day (in some cases) with trending analysis, red-light, green-light types of markers. Also, the surveys have been slimmed down to a focused set of 12 or fewer questions to improve response rates.
6. Employee Advisory Councils
This has been an especially helpful practice within the areas experiencing intense competition for talent and turnover, e.g. Nursing and IT. Essentially, HR and Functional leadership establish these leadership councils where they discuss “what matters to employees” and how to make the company a better place.
Our full report from our Talent Retention Panel event will be available at the end of July. Subscribe and you’ll be the first to know when it’s released!
Paul Cleckner, J.D. is a Managing Director and Organizational Consultant at The Human Capital Group. Throughout his career, Paul Cleckner has been focused on guiding organizations through transformational change so they can be leaders within their industries for multiple generations. He has served in senior operating roles at Standard & Poor’s, Deloitte, LifePoint Health and Saint Thomas Health.