Top Ways Employers Can Retain Top Talent

June 20th, 2013 – The number of workers quitting their jobs is up 8% over last year – and up 19% from two years ago – as almost 1 million new jobs have been created in 2013. With turnover up and employers increasingly concerned about holding on to their best workers, OI Partners is offering advice on how to retain talent from its recent retention survey.

  1. It’s become more of a job-seeker’s market as voluntary quits and job openings continue to outpace layoffs and discharges in 2013. The number of layoffs and discharges is down 6% through April 2013 over the same period last year. However, the number of workers voluntarily quitting their jobs is up 8% through April – and up 19% from the same period two years ago – and the number of job openings is up 6% over the same time last year. (April 2013 is the most recent month for which numbers are available from the U.S. Department of Labor).
  2. Retaining top employees will be an ongoing problem as the job market improves. The war for talent will be heating up as more employers hire workers. 58% of companies in the survey of 153 organizations reported they have added or plan to add workers during 2013 while only 8% expect staffing to decrease and 34% anticipate no change. Retaining talent was selected as the top human resource challenge for this year, chosen by 70% of survey respondents, followed by recruiting the right talent, selected by 65%.
  3. Employers must make a concerted effort to retain their best talent at all organizational levels. Half of companies in the survey reported higher turnover among front-line workers and about one-third had higher turnover among managers and executives. “Companies must be intentional about retaining their most talented workers. It’s no longer enough to say, ‘Be happy you have a job.’ Employers need to realize if retention is a problem with a still-high unemployment rate, it will only get worse if they don’t entice employees to remain,” said Patty Prosser, chair of OI Partners, a global coaching and leadership development and consulting firm.
  4. High-potential employees and middle managers are being targeted most by other employers. About three-quarters of surveyed companies are concerned about losing more high-potential employees and almost two-thirds are worried about middle managers leaving. “The loss of these types of workers will have a big effect on the organization because high-potentials have been designated as future leaders and middle managers often supervise front-line employees,” said Prosser.
  5. Turnover is highest for employees who work directly with customers and sell, market, and produce products and services. Customer service, operations and production, and sales and marketing workers are the most difficult to retain, according to the survey.
  6. Developmental coaching and better compensation & benefits are among the top methods companies are using to retain management employees and future leaders. Giving coaching to workers is an important sign that employers are investing in their career development. This is frequently being coupled with awarding them better compensation and benefits. About half of surveyed companies are using coaching as a way to retain executives, managers and high-potentials, and more than 4 out of 10 are also giving them better compensation and benefits.
  7. To retain front-line workers, companies are paying greater attention to selecting them more carefully and better training and orientation. 6 out of 10 companies are selecting front-line workers more carefully and about half are providing better training and orientation. Tuition reimbursement is the top financial method being utilized for front-line workers, by about 4 in 10 companies, and better compensation and benefits are being provided by about 3 in 10 organizations.
  8. Employers are more often using role expectations assessments before hiring, promoting or succession planning. “The assessments help determine whether candidates have the competencies and behaviors necessary to succeed after being hired or promoted.  These assessments can also serve as a blueprint for development either before or after a promotion to ensure success,” said Prosser.

OI Partners received responses from 153 organizations with locations throughout North America.

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