As the job market heats up, hiring managers are faced with a new hiring challenge – how to retain the new hires they have invested heavily in within a competitive job market? Meghan M. Biro, Forbes Contributor, offers 4 keys to retaining talented hires and insuring an ROI for your company.
Develop Soft Skills: In terms of overall talent development, a recent LinkedIn survey of 2,000 business leaders found that more than half (57%) put soft skills over hard skills when it comes to what they need their employees to develop. The top four soft skills are leadership, communication, collaboration and time management. While these may be innate in many of your shining stars, they can always be improved upon. For those who seem lacking, it may simply be a matter of learning how to execute, not the concepts themselves.
There are plenty of courses for developing soft skills on learning platforms. And soft skills development is a clear instance in which employees perceive you are interested in their growth and overall success — not just how quickly they can accomplish a task in their present position.
Offer Micro-Learning: There’s a reason employees groan when offered seminars to develop their skills. Such courses can eat up a load of time. Long-duration seminars may dump a lot of information on participants, but they can also drive a wedge between employer and employee needs. If they are attended within the workday, that eats into productivity. If the employer requires learning after work hours or during lunch (“Learn at Lunch” programs), the perception may be that employers don’t respect employees’ boundaries or their need for personal time.
LinkedIn’s report also found that the top reason employees feel held back from learning is that they don’t have the time to learn. The solution: offer learning opportunities in small, bite-sized time increments that can be manageably tucked into a workday. Youtube has changed the way we take in information — in digestible chunks that consider our busy lives and shorter attention spans. The average length of a Youtube video is around four minutes and 20 seconds. Take a cue.
Get Managers Involved: The LinkedIn learning report also spotlighted a monkey wrench for many companies invested in employee learning — managers. Fifty-six percent of employees would take a manager-suggested course, but getting managers involved in employee learning is a major challenge. It’s not that managers don’t want employees to learn. It’s that they’re usually already overloaded, and occupied with the daily and more pressing challenges of managing their teams and tackling the to-do list.
“What managers must understand is that developing their people and teams is a key responsibility, and it’s what helps to keep their teams engaged,” notes Emily Poague, vice-president of Marketing at LinkedIn Learning. Four suggestions: spotlight the managers who are successfully encouraging learning by circulating their success stories; collaborate with managers on the best times to incorporate learning into the day, have managers add a discussion on what skills employees want to learn into performance reviews, and then enlist managers to assign the applicable courses.
Integrate Learning Into Employee Experience: Consider the question, “Which would be more likely to make your next employer a great workplace?” It’s the first question in the “What Makes a Great Place to Work” quiz — and the first choice of answers is “Training that helps me grow my skills and knowledge.” In the grand scheme of talent management, it’s easy to overlook the employee point of view. But learning opportunities enable employees to maintain an upward trajectory despite staying in one position. They integrate growth opportunities into the employer experience without necessitating a bit for a different position.
They also help employees better integrate the demands of work and life, allowing that we want to learn far more than just the singular skills our present job descriptions require. Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends Report, which focused on the importance of employee experience, was a game-changer for many in HR — and providing growth opportunities was identified as one of the key factors in providing a great employee experience. That hasn’t changed in one year. If anything, it’s intensified.
For the foreseeable future, the job market has evolved into a marketplace where companies must offer more than just a paycheck to get, and retain the talent they need. Creating a positive work experience with opportunities to learn and grow are often the tolls successful companies wield when competing for top talent.