Retain top talent by talking about the future


“My employer just doesn’t get me.” Sounds more like something one says about a mate rather than a company. But hiring authorities may be taken aback to learn that this is a frequent lament that we hear from many of our A-calibre candidates. And it’s a woe that is echoed across Canada and elsewhere, according to studies.

When you consider, as we do, that employees and employers are in a relationship together, it’s not surprising. In every good relationship, people need to talk and to help each other move successfully into the future. When that doesn’t happen, there are inevitably feelings of resentment and in the case of the employee, a desire for divorce from the company.

Too often, employers are missing an opportunity to talk and listen to employee’s long-term aspirations. In a poll of 3,401 employees across Canada, only 6% said their direct boss, or employer, works with them on managing their career path.

Another 12% said they turn to family and friends for guidance. But 82% said they feel as if they’re on own their own when it comes to figuring out their professional advancement, according to a recent report in the Globe and Mail.

In the US, the situation is similar. The Society for Human Resource Management took a poll of 800 HR professionals, managers, and executives and discovered that 35% want to leave their employers because they are dissatisfied by the lack of career planning.

There’s no need for a good relationship to end this way. Here are three tips from the staffing solution experts at The Bagg Group that are used by top employers in the GTA to retain talent:

1. When interviewing candidates, hiring authorities are advised to discuss their company’s approach to career advancement. It’s a good idea to outline typical promotion patterns. People are eager for a sense of what the road ahead may look like for them.

But a word of caution: Don’t over-promise to win over a great candidate. The consensus among recruitment companies is that if you fail to manage expectations, you could be on the divorce track with your employee.

2. Review career plans regularly with your staff. Employees welcome the chance to talk over ways they might strengthen their competencies to prepare for eventual advancement.

3. Think beyond the department. Many core skills are transferable and the challenge of working in a new department and learning a new function can re-energize a valuable employee.

The top employers in the GTA allow and encourage their best talent to move between departments. Interestingly, a recent survey within the British accounting and finance industry showed that 83% of respondents feel that non-finance related experience is key to becoming a senior executive or CEO.

At The Bagg Group, we talk to our clients about their staffing issues today, and tomorrow. And in that conversation, we remind them that at some point, a valued employee, in whom you’ve invested training and knowledge, will look around the office and wonder, “What’s next for me?” That’s a fair question, and it’s one that committed relationships are founded on.

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