“We need to retain top talent” is a perennial refrain for organizations. Retention and turnover are getting more attention in business media as the economy improves and jobs continue to increase. As jobs become plentiful, employees look for new opportunities. Top talent employees are at risk as they have the greatest opportunity for movement. Waiting until turnover becomes an issue is too late. Having a good retention strategy starts with having a clear retention goals and a good understanding of turnover.
Following are some considerations that begin the process of thinking critically about retention and turnover.
- Who do we want to retain?
o Of course top talent, but be concrete about what this means.
o Are there other employees that are important to retain?
> Unique roles.
> Institutional knowledge.
> Key relationship holders.
- What are our current turnover rates?
o Break it down by meaningful job categories. Averaging across positions can mask potential need areas.
- Why are people leaving?
o At a minimum use involuntary and voluntary.
o Consider further refinements that will help illuminate underlying causes and lead to better solutions.
- How do turnover rates compare to competitors?
o Getting a benchmark provides gross knowledge of the potential magnitude of turnover issues.
- What are the costs of turnover?
o Lost productivity.
o Hiring and on-boarding a new employee.
o Think about other hidden costs. For instance, morale of remaining employees when a key team member leaves.
Understanding these questions is a starting point for taking on turnover and retention. Retention and turnover are complex and there may be additional considerations that will be important for your organization. It is also important to understand that the factors impacting retention and turnover are dynamic; today’s issues and solutions may not be meaningful tomorrow. A well thought out, ongoing process to attain good intelligence about turnover will allow you to clarify objectives and craft solutions to retain valuable talent.