It can cost thousands of pounds to replace a key member of staff, but don’t just write this off as the real cost of doing business. Employers with high levels of staff turnover can do much to improve staff retention and engagement through cultural change. The first step might be to focus on hiring employees who share the values of your organisation, this may even be more important than knowledge and experience.
Industry leaders have for a number of years reported their concerns about finding and retaining the best talent in order to achieve growth plans. A 2016 Futurestep global survey reported that 54% of recruiters were finding it more difficult to find top talent than a year ago and expect the situation to worsen. A survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), published in April 2017 supports this view.
So how can organisations compete effectively in this ongoing war for talent? And once hired, what can business leaders do to retain great talent?
Certainly, employees tend to be more transient nowadays, only a very few private sector employees will stay with one employer for the majority of their career, meaning employers must expect staff to move on if they cannot offer them progression. Employers should also consider the changing demographics – with 4 or 5 generations in the workplace becoming the norm, employers will need to have the ability to influence change to workplace culture in order to attract and retain a diverse workforce.
Culture used to be influenced from the top of the organisation down and whilst we must still ensure that our culture enables strategic plans, times have changed. Modern workplace cultures are more likely to be influenced through a set of organisation wide principles and values that inspire everyone. The Korn Ferry Institute recently published their ‘Talent Forecast’ detailing the results of their global study into tomorrow’s workplace. Key findings indicate that five years ago salary and benefits were the top reason a candidate would choose one company over another. Today culture is the number one reason that influences candidates. This is particularly true for millennials who want to feel good about where they are working.
Building an effective workplace culture relies on the organisation’s ability to adapt and change. Sometimes this means rapid change, but creating an inclusive workplace culture will improve your ability to recruit and retain staff. Business leaders have many options available to them if they want to influence cultural change. In the first instance it may be beneficial to consider:-
- Evaluating the current state; ask your employees how they feel about current workplace culture?
- Consider mapping the employee experience from start to finish. If you can’t do this, at the very least ask your current employees, what attracted you to our business? How would you describe our workplace culture and what do you like most about working here?
- Celebrate the strengths of your existing culture, identify and reinforce behaviours that influence these, then decide what you want to change? Why? And how will you measure success?
- Work with your staff to identify just a few areas for change that will add value to the organisation, then enlist a handful of the most highly engaged employees to help you model and embed the new behaviours that you have identified to transform workplace culture.
Finally, smart employers who recognise it is becoming more challenging to attract and retain top talent will invest in transforming their organisation and workplace to make it attractive to multiple generations. They will be mindful not to alienate baby boomers or generation X employees whose influence on current culture may have been great, but at the same time understand the need to become more attractive to millennials and generation Z’s. It is likely that change will be most successful if it builds on your current strengths whilst enabling inclusivity, transparency and greater collaboration of teams.
Want to discuss the opportunities for influencing cultural change in your business? Contact Edwina for an informal chat in the first instance.