Powerful Tips To Retain Your Best Employees

Powerful Tips To Retain Your Best Employees

LinkedIn recently released its new analysis data that leads to many HR Managers believe or suspected that the Millennials change their jobs like a lot. The analysis shows that an average of one shift 2.5 years during the first decade straight out of college or university to be precise. Compared to the Millennials predecessors which is Gen X, that figure itself double.

From our observations, nowadays, candidates don’t just switch jobs, they often switch the entire industries.

employeesThe golden question remains unanswered on the real actual reason why all this is happening—a lingering post-Recession hangover, youthful wanderlust, or shifting values. However, the consequences, at least for employers, are profound. Turnover continues, and training and recruiting costs remain huge.

For professional roles, training can cost as much as RM 25,000 to hire a new employee. And this accounts for neither productivity losses while the position is waiting to be filled nor the time and expense it takes to train a new employee.


Most important factor for Millennials

Hootsuite, a remarkably well ranked company by employees in their annual satisfaction survey, still see a sizeable chunk of their staff turn over each year. Their company isn’t immune to this trend altogether.

According to a UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School study, 65 percent of Millennials say that personal development is the most important factor on the job.  Companies are losing A players, in other words, because they are bored. This is because personal development is far more than just a buzzword to Millennials.

However, this doesn’t mean just levelling up an existing skill set. It means being able to explore and internalize different skills entirely and learn something new.

I can relate. As a CEO & entrepreneur, I know what’s the feeling and excitement like, of moving from one (business) venture to another. But that same dynamic doesn’t always work within a company, where people are hired for discrete roles and are expected to excel within clear boundaries. For example, if one of our developers decides he or she is bored with coding and wants to pursue a love of blogging instead, that person probably needs to find a new place to work.

Or maybe not.

Stretching employee possibilities

The more we talk about this idea, the more I realised a general hiring truth. Great employees are great employees. It’s not the particular skill set that sets them apart, but rather their intrinsic attitude, focus, and dedication.

All of these things can transfer readily from role to role. So why not give these exceptional employees a chance to try out new positions within the company, rather than risk losing them altogether?

Luckily, I had Google to turn to for some inspiration. For some time, Google has operated a unique “bungee program,” which empowers employees to plunge into an entirely different department for a brief period.

After learning about the program from my HR team, I wondered if we could flesh out a more robust version of this — with clear rules and guidelines — in our own company.

The goal was straightforward: to keep good employees in the company. However, the mechanics proved a bit tricky. Which employees would be eligible? Who would fill in for them when they leave? How do we ensure that real learning is going on and that this isn’t just a waste of time?

We ultimately settled on some ground rules for a “stretch program” of our own.

First, participants need to be performing at or above expectations based on performance reviews. Success in a previous role is a powerful predictor of success elsewhere, after all . These participants must also  have been with the company for at least a year.

Assignments to other divisions are capped at three months, giving participants up to a full quarter to test the waters.

To avoid disruption during the 90-day period, “stretch” employees spend roughly one day a week with their adoptive team and the remaining time in their official role. Their existing manager has to sign off on the move and the reduction of the employee’s job duties.

Most importantly, participants are required to draft learning plans in advance and get approval from both their current and rotational manager.

How we’re beta-testing our new stretch program
Here at Hootsuite, this program is still in the pilot stage. We kicked it off earlier this summer with roughly half a dozen participants, but we’re already seeing some positive results.

A leading salesperson, originally focused on large, enterprise-level companies, has stretched over to an assignment in our product management group. He’s now working alongside our VP of operations to come up with ways of standardizing the life cycle for our products.

A social-media marketing specialist, with experience using Facebook and Twitter as promotional tools, has jumped over to our corporate development team. He’s taking his tactical, hands-on knowledge of social media and using it to incorporate newly acquired products into our larger business strategy.

Win-win situation
Whether our stretch employees end up transitioning full-time to their new roles or deciding to return to their home teams, the program still represents a win-win in many respects.

Employees who participate get a chance to try out a new calling without the risk of leaving a company. They build a professional network that extends beyond their team and add a new skill to their toolkit. In the best-case scenario, they find a brand new career.

On the other hand, Hootsuite gets to retain smart, passionate employees who want to grow and evolve. Corporate silos are broken down and employees gain insight  and empathy into other areas of the business.

Ultimately, the desire to learn and evolve isn’t just a Millennial virtue — it’s a universal one. Giving employees a chance to truly grow  without having to pull up stakes and leave the company  is a common sense tactic to attract and keep great talent.