30 Mar 2015

Employee Retention...

I read a few weeks ago that JP Morgan employees were banned from making anything other than minimal use of LinkedIn.  According to reports in eFinancialcareers.com, the heads of department in the bank, apparently were exasperated by staff parading themselves as available for hire.  The new ‘regulations’ state that you can only give your name, corporate title and a generic description of the bank. Endorsements and recommendations are forbidden.

LinkedIn is a great resource for lazy recruiters.  Typically the recruiters who use it don’t have their own database or relationships and most often will work on a candidate led approach.  Find a candidate then approach companies speculatively with the candidate to generate interest.  For employees, LinkedIn is mostly just a way to show all the people you went to school with what you do now – see how successful I am!

However, employee retention is big business.  Talent is difficult and costly to find, particularly in the digital market-place.  Once you’ve secured and trained talent, it makes sense to keep hold of it.  Companies go to all kinds of lengths now to keep staff – from cocktails at 4pm on a Friday, free fruit, flexible hours ... and the relatively new phenomenon of ‘Stay Interviews’.

Over the past few months, we have seen the return of the ‘buyers’ or ‘candidate driven market’.  For top talent, it’s not unusual for a candidate to be inundated with multiple job offers.  As a result, job seekers can be more selective and will often wait for an offer that meets specific criteria.  This has created a war on talent that requires employers to compete more heavily for good candidates than ever before. They also need to be more alert to signs of dissatisfaction or restlessness on the job.  This is where the Stay Interview comes into practice.  It’s typically a mid employment conversation designed to give companies an ‘insight into what employees like and dislike about their job’ and to ‘win back their loyalty’ before they have left.   Exit interviews are still used but much less than previously – you might learn why someone is leaving and can therefore act to reduce other people doing the same, however, it’s too late to encourage that particular employee to change their mind and that’s why the Stay Interview has become more popular.

I think it’s worth reviewing employee retention in the workplace, however, I find increasingly that young people don’t have much sense of company loyalty.  The concept of ‘a job for life’ is very outdated and various surveys across Britain have found that 91% of millennials expect to have 15 to 20 jobs over the course of their working lives.

People often leave companies for issues that the company itself cannot control.  HR people try to encourage retention by developing career paths, feedback, compensation etc, however, as the cliché goes, you join a company but quit a manager.  Most people give up jobs because they can no longer stand their managers or colleagues.  In the PMP annual salary survey, we review what factors encourage employees to stay in their role.  Essentially, employees want to do an inspiring job in a decent working environment with the freedom to do good, interesting work and to feel valued for their contribution.  If employees are stimulated, challenged and surrounded by colleagues from whom they can learn, they will stay.   The JP Morgan strategy is more likely to hamper the efforts of lazy recruiters using LinkedIn to source candidates and if the employee is feeling challenged and valued in their role, they’re not so likely to be vulnerable to poaching.