Competitor Intelligence: Development, Retention and Exit
How to successfully manage the employee journey
Employees are not robots with defined and static skillsets, they are humans with emotions who can be affected both positively and negatively by a whole host of factors. Some of those factors are just life, which you can’t control but need to accommodate, but other factors are within your control, such as how to develop their career, keep them happy and balanced, and if needs be how to address issues and exit them in such a way that leaves them with a positive experience of your company.
Translating your successful attraction strategy into an equally successful development and retention strategy
Often, during an interview process, a candidate will ask about future growth, be that promotions and pay reviews or developmental growth areas like training and development and upskilling their technical abilities. Or it could be a particularly impressive CSR or diversity initiative that drew them to apply in the first place. If you don’t know what motivated them to join, then you can’t possibly know how to retain them.
And once they have started in their new job they will be looking to constantly grow and will remember those exciting interview conversations and will be expecting them to be delivered on. So do you have plans in place with clearly defined time scales – and targets if appropriate – and have you communicated that clearly and in writing? Do your employees feel that they have a living, breathing career with you, or are they just turning up for work and slowly switching off?
None of us work in isolation: we are all aware of competitor brands and are often approached by recruiters to tempt us away to pastures new. The reality is that a happy, engaged and motivated employee is much less likely to leave. So ask yourself, do you fully understand what your competitors are doing to develop and retain their employees? If not, then you need to research that or ask your recruitment partners or any employees that have come from those businesses. After all, if your competitors are offering something more attractive than you, then it could be your employees tempted away in the end.
Exiting in a quiet and orderly fashion
It’s okay for employees to leave. A turnover of staff can actually be good for a company in terms of bringing in fresh ideas and letting go of people who are not committed. What you need to be aware of it that each employee who leaves will become a new starter somewhere else, and they will be asked all the same questions about your company that you ask your own new starters about their previous companies. Ideally you want their exit to be a positive experience. Of course there are situations where actions require swift and severe decisions, but hopefully that is rare.
On the whole someone leaving a company is no different to someone moving house. They’re not saying they hated their old house; they’re just saying they feel they’ve outgrown it and want a new one. Sometimes it could have been a failure of your career development strategies and retention, and sometimes they just feel drawn to something new and feel the time is right.
It’s important to take the time to communicate with them in an exit interview or one-to-one meeting, and ask the direct questions: what could we have done better, what did you enjoy about working here, what do we need to change, did we live up to your expectations, what did we do better than you expected, what was the best/worst thing about working here, how were you managed, was the pay fair, how long have you wanted to leave?
Asking tough questions may not always be easy because you may get tough answers, but it is invaluable research into why something hasn’t worked out. And that data could give you insight into how to tweak things to avoid more employees reaching the same conclusion.
From the initial employer and recruiter branding phase to successfully attracting, recruiting and onboarding new hires, to developing and retaining your existing workforce and positively exiting any leavers, there is no fool proof way to go about it. However, simple processes, open lines of two-way communications, and constant revisiting and updating of growth and career plans are some of the ways to keep on top of how your new, and also established, workforce is feeling, and to nip any issues in the bud before they become reasons for them to look for a new job.