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What High-Performing Companies Are Doing Now to Retain Talent Later

What High-Performing Companies Are Doing Now to Retain Talent Later

Carol Morrison | i4cp

October 26, 2009

There’s a change in the wind. Most employers believe the poor economy has been key to employee retention over the last year or so. But now they’re gearing up for a time when only solid retention initiatives will make the difference between keeping and losing key talent.

i4cp found that over half (58%) of those responding to their recent Employee Turnover and Engagement Pulse Survey said their organizations are “taking action today to prevent an increase in turnover when the economy turns around.”

In larger firms, the percentage was even higher, and in companies designated as high performers (according to self-reported revenue growth, market share, profitability and customer satisfaction), the number rose to over three fifths.

Why this sense that it’s time not just to think ahead but to take action? After all, this same study showed that nearly three quarters of respondents said that turnover had stayed the same or even decreased over the past 13 months. It seems organizations are starting to worry that pre-recession predictions of talent shortages and waves of retirement may indeed follow on the heels of an economic recovery.

Some companies even believe that the reduced turnover they’ve seen is tied to some factors other than a poor economy and a tight job market. “Careful hiring, employee development and a high level of engagement” are helping to hold down turnover, said one respondent.

Others pointed to “additional focus on hiring the right people for our culture,” “a better rewards system” and “more stability with incentive plans.” Essentially, these respondents are suggesting that the improvements in retention lie in better talent management.

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i4cp’s study asked, at the request of one of our member companies, “What are you doing now to avoid turnover when the economy improves?” A whopping 81% of companies are increasing communication to their employees, and 77% say they’re increasing their emphasis on talent management, a term that encompasses a wide range of people-centered strategies.

Greater focus on succession planning, leadership training for line managers, rewards-system improvements, and elimination of “toxic” managers were also among the efforts organizations already have underway. Of course, all are elements of an integrated talent management program.

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