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There are nearly 7 million job openings in the United States, but there are only 6.5 million unemployed workers. This talent shortage, coupled with a skills gap, makes for a very competitive talent market in which your organization’s employees have many job opportunities available to them.
As the co-founder of a human resources software company, I believe it’s more important than ever to focus on employee engagement and retention for two reasons: First, based on my experience, fully ramped and engaged employees tend to be more productive than newer hires, which helps you reach your business goals faster. I’ve found that it takes the better part of a year for new hires to reach full productivity, so any turnover before that point can translate to a low employee lifetime value. Second, employee turnover is expensive once you factor in things such as recruitment costs and the cost of vacancy. For example, an employee with an $80,000 salary could easily cost $60,000 to replace. Given the value of a long-term employee and the high cost of turnover, investing in people programs that support employee retention is a worthwhile endeavor.
1. Consider taking a people-centric approach to human resources.
Many HR processes have been designed to meet the needs of the employer without much thought given to the employee experience. For instance, a new hire’s first day is often filled with administrative paperwork and other lackluster tasks that do nothing to help the employee feel welcome or excited in their new role. While these tasks are a necessary component of onboarding, many organizations stop there.
I believe innovative organizations should put a much stronger emphasis on the employee experience in order to engage and retain their talent — beginning with the onboarding process. Help the new hire feel like part of the organization and prepared to take on their role. Small touches, such as sending a welcome email and assigning a work buddy, come together to help your new hire adjust to your organization, and regular manager check-ins and development opportunities can help them reach full productivity.
This people-centric approach should extend throughout the entire employee life cycle by tying in things like ongoing learning and development, benefits and perks, and feedback.
2. Make a shift toward strategic human capital management.
HR in many organizations is largely administrative, tactical and compliance-focused, but there’s an enormous opportunity to create a more strategic function. In fact, a 2017 study (registration required) found that 90% of HR professionals knew they could be more strategic in their roles, but only around half knew how to begin.
To help your HR team become more strategic, utilize data to make strategic business decisions. For instance, employee surveys can uncover opportunities to build more people-centric HR programs, while benchmark data can prove the value of those programs to executives. You may find that employees are dissatisfied with their pay, which can help you determine that you need to prioritize building a comprehensive compensation plan. Or, an exit survey could uncover that lack of advancement is the most common reason for voluntary turnover, thus prompting a strategic push toward a career path and development programs. I believe working hand-in-hand with your leadership team to both identify areas for strategic improvement and implement solutions will help you hold on to your most valuable asset: your people.
3. Focus on efficiency.
Building a more people-centric, strategic HR function will require some resources. Rather than spinning your wheels on tactical, administrative functions, put processes and technology solutions in place to maximize efficiency.
For starters, try an audit; this can help you uncover the tactical, repetitive and low-value-added components of HR processes and procedures and how to streamline them. Centralized and standardized processes can streamline work efficiency, while technology can automate low-value, mundane, repetitive tasks. For example, account provisioning and email templates can contribute to a more efficient employee onboarding process, while calendar integrations remind managers to celebrate employee anniversaries and birthdays. With an automated approach to these processes, HR professionals and managers can focus on building better employee relationships and other retention strategies.
The talent market has shifted dramatically over the past decade by putting the power squarely into your employee’s hands. They have more opportunities available to them and more organizations vying for their attention. I believe an administrative, tactical, compliance-focused approach to HR is a surefire way to lose the talent you’ve worked so hard to recruit. Instead, empower your team with the technology they need to transition to a strategic, proactive, people-centric function so you can retain your workforce and meet your company’s goals. The future of your organization might depend on it.
March 13, 2019 at 08:53AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs