Employee retention keeps many HR professionals up at night. You can just hear the echoing murmurs throughout HR conference rooms across the country as turnover rates go up in this tight labour market. Many of them ponder these thoughts:
- How do you keep employees from leaving?
- What will make them stay?
- Retention is the key, someone will always say
However, is retention really the key? Perhaps our language around employee turnover is wrong. Let us look at the definition of the word retention:
“The continued possession, use, or control of something.”
Now, let’s put that in the HR context and the perspective of building a relationship with the employee:
- the continued possession of employees
- the use of employees
- the control of employees.
It makes one ponder how employees interpret the meaning of retention. Would you want to be retained by your employer, let alone be considered a controlled possession?
Is retention the key? Or perhaps it’s time to move our language forward.
MEC, an outdoor supply retailer, has always been an innovative company right from its foundational roots of being a cooperative. MEC applies a forward thinking concept of employee retention. Here is a quote from Nahal Yousefian, chief people experience officer at MEC:
“The philosophy we’re taking here at MEC is that the approach to talent retention is already outdated.”
What does she mean talent retention is outdated? What is MEC replacing it with? MEC is replacing the controlling concept of retention with the concept that the employees’ talent should be generated and that will create an environment where employees will want to stay. This seems to make complete intuitive sense.
There are also surveys that support this concept transition; here are some current statistics about retention according to a Hays study:
- 43% of employees are actively looking for other career opportunities and
- 71% of employees are willing to take a pay cut for their ideal role
In addition, LinkedIn has discovered that 93% of employees would opt to stay in their role if their employer invested in their careers.
Think about these numbers for a minute: Almost 100% of employees will stay if the employer will develop them, and almost 75% are willing to take a pay cut to leave their current employment.
It may be time for HR professionals to put the controlling language of employee retention to bed and truly be a workplace where employees want to stay. All it may take is a true relationship-building commitment of employee development.
- Research several organization that have low turnover rates. Once that list is generated, identify what are the factors that may influence their success.
- Identify what are the most beneficial training and development activities employers can implement to create an environment where employees want to stay employed