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TPP HR Seminar: retaining talent and delivering learning strategy

Posted on 24/05/2017 by Nicky Sinclair

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On Tuesday 16th May, we held our latest HR seminar, with guest speaker Lara Roche from The Talent Sphere, on retaining talent and delivering learning strategy in the third sector. We were joined by almost 60 HR professionals from not for profit organisations, at the Institute for Structural Engineers.

Lara discussed why it was so important to retain talent, firstly looking at the current generation of workers, including less generation X than baby boomers, increased people undertaking freelance roles and millennials aiming for ‘gig-working’ careers. These people have several exit points, including:

  • Immediately after starting – expectations not met
  • Development path stops – after 2 years – How are you going to accelerate employees learning after 2 years?
  • Step up to Management – 4 years
  • Step up to leadership – 10 years
  • Career end – retirement.

Lara discussed bespoke initiatives for each exit point, such as a buddy for new staff, manager and leadership programmes for existing staff and the need to be flexible. Some organisations have created internal consultant roles and mentoring roles for people, these are often part-time and not office based.

At TPP we understand that investing in leadership programmes is vital. We have a huge number of staff with long service awards proving that our Investors in People Accreditation is predicated on how we invest in our staff. We have also developed our Leadership Academy; an in-house mentoring and training scheme provided for those consultants who show the ability and desire to be our future leaders.

There were some interesting statistics on the top 4 considerations for people considering ‘stay vs go’

  • Low salary = 35%
  • Want a new challenge = 23%
  • The work is boring = 22%
  • Location unsuitable/ commute too long = 20%
  • Poor relationship with boss/ manager = 18%

Initiatives to overcome these don’t have to be costly. For example, one client overcame long commutes / unsuitable location by offering flexibility with a choice of start / end time and one weekly homework day on a rolling three-month basis. It benefited the individual and meant there was more cover for longer in the office as people started earlier and finished later. At TPP we have a flexible working policy in place so consultants have control of their hours with access to later starts or finishing early.

There are also unexpected ‘stay vs go’ triggers to consider:

  • 18% of 16-24’s leave due to lack of camaraderie, work friends
  • 20% of annual migration – It’s January
  • 12% jump into job hunting on their birthday
  • 9% jump into job hunting on their work anniversary
  • 75% more likely to job hunt on return from holiday

There are groups that are more at risk of leaving: millennials (3x more regular job moves) and new parents, with mothers 50% more likely to leave in the first year if not supported.

Sometimes you have to appreciate people will leave and let them, but think about getting them back at a later date. One company set up a LinkedIn group for all their leavers, informally kept in touch with them and sent them an e-newsletter. Directors touched base every so often, updated them on opportunities and many of them came back. They were given a mentor on return, didn’t need retraining or inducting as much as new staff and they were already up to speed with what was going on through the communication they received whilst not working for the company.

Lara discussed the Credit Suisse case study, where they cold called people in ‘at risk’ groups and saved $100 million in one year. They recorded things like birthdays / annual leave and touched base with staff at trigger times. These were pre-emptive interventions.  Other ideas include employee surveys, check-ins, exit interviews.

The seminar then focused on transformational learning strategy and upskilling your staff so they are the expert leaders / game changers. Three low cost initiatives were discussed:

  • Knowledge – Create internal experts in your organisation – increases knowledge in a relevant low cost way. Spend money on training the trainer.
  • Skills – Create virtual teams to tackle an organisation project. They build new relationships, learn-on-the-job and deliver a key project. Spend money on the mentoring training.
  • Behaviours – Mentoring programme with a partnering organisation. Gives support, guidance & objective expertise, with an organisation similar to yours. 

In summary the key points from Lara were:

  • Follow a process
  • Be ambitious, despite challenges and tight budgets
  • Be creative, because of challenges and tight budgets
  • Make it bespoke for your organisation
  • Invest your budget where it has the biggest impact
  • Get the right partner/s on  board

You can read my full article on what it takes to recruit and retain talent here