In an article for HR Dive, Rilia O’Donnell cites surprising data from Gallup showing that “The overwhelming majority—93%— of U.S. adults say that the last time they changed roles, they did so by changing employers. Fewer than one in 10 (7%) say they took a new position within the same company.”
That’s a startling statistic and one that should make employers, and their training and development staffs, sit up and take notice. What could you be doing to minimize the chances of key staff members jumping shift?
A Chance to Advance
If the vast majority of employees seek career advancement at a different company, one of the first things employers should do when trying to retain their talent is to ensure that employees are aware of advancement opportunities that may exist within their current organization. How well do you communicate with employees about these opportunities? How strongly do you encourage employees to toss their hat into the ring when a new opening occurs? Are you confident that your managers and supervisors are sending the same positive messages, or might they be either inadvertently or intentionally discouraging such internal advancement?
Another best practice here: communicating broadly about employees who have taken on new roles within the organization. This can be done through company newsletters, intranets, etc.
Talk to your employees about where they see their careers in a year, 3 years, 5 years, etc. This not only lets you keep your eye out for opportunities for those employees but also lets them know that you are interested in their career advancement.
These types of discussions are becoming known as “stay interviews”—strategic discussions with key staff to let them know they’re valued and to seek their input in terms of new roles, projects, or opportunities they wish to pursue.
“Once employees are doing the work to grow and advance, they’ll need routine feedback,” says O’Donnell. “Whether it’s encouragement or realigning goals and timelines, it’s important to stay in touch.” This feedback helps employees stay on track while also helping employers make sure their staff develops the skills the employers are looking for long term.
It should seem intuitive to employers that an effective employee development strategy is key to retaining top talent within an organization. That talent will understandably seek opportunities elsewhere if they feel like they aren’t advancing quickly enough within their own organizations. If employers want to not only retain but benefit from the growth of their top talent, they should take care to nurture that development from within or risk losing the opportunity to do so to another organization.