Why January is Too Late for Employee Retention Planning

employee retention magnet attracting peopleThere is a good reason we spend so much time talking about employee retention and engagement  – it is quite simply fundamental to the success and growth of any business. We all seem to know the importance of learning & development when it comes to engaging and retaining employees, yet staff turnover is still on the increase. According to Towers Watson, nearly half of employers (48%) indicate that hiring activity has increased compared to last year, and more than one-third (35%) report that turnover is rising.

New Year, New Job

January is historically the most popular month for job hunting – the desire for a fresh start, and the temptation to walk away from the current daily grind (only to swap it for another, slightly different daily grind) can be strong. And the grass can seem even greener after the annual festivities have ended. You’d be naive to think that some of your top performers, who deliver results day in, day out, are immune to this seasonal phenomenon. If you wait until the New Year (and the new budgets) to start planning and implementing your employee engagement initiatives you may also have an in-tray full of resignation letters to read through as well.

Start Thinking About Employee Retention Now

Now is the time to start thinking about how to engage and retain your people, so that they greet January the 1st (well, January the 2nd!) with open arms, enthusiasm and optimism. It’s no secret that learning and development are fundamental to the successful employee retention. But you don’t necessarily need to spend vast amounts of (unavailable) budget to start the process. Planning an effective programme, and involving employees in the process, costs relatively little but can have really positive effects on engagement levels.

Start the planning process by asking what your people need to perform well in their roles. The fact that you are considering your people’s training and development needs demonstrates that the company values them. If you leave it until January, when the decision has already been made to jump ship, nothing you do is likely to change their mind.

Ask Them With a Survey

Simple employee surveys are a great, cost effective way to both identify training needs and involve staff in the planning process. Employee surveys are quick and easy to create and with today’s digital technologies, easy to deploy.

With on-line surveys providing real time results, you also have the opportunity to follow up on issues which are identified, and address them before they become critical to retention. Not only will this help to engage staff and make them feel valued, but it’s the groundwork for an effective development framework in the New Year. This means you can focus on increasing performance at the start of 2015, rather than trying to plug the flow of talent leaving your organisation.

However, all the good work is negated if the results, and a subsequent action plan, are not clearly communicated in a timely manner.  Without this it becomes a box ticking exercise to placate unrest – and that only makes matters worse!
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