Optimism and Confidence Cannot Guarantee Talent Retention

BY Tim Londergan
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The Harvard Business Review claims we are in the middle of a work revolution. Author Margaret Rogers blames globalization and artificial intelligence, among other factors, for this quandary. Clearly, even successful companies are now forced to rethink their approach to talent management as skilled, capable employees are in huge demand. The thought of losing qualified employees and the cost and inconvenience of replacing them causes managers to focus on talent retention in addition to their other responsibilities. However, optimistic managers who are confident in their elaborate training programs can still struggle to keep good people.

Improve talent retention with user-​centered skills training

The one-​size-​fits-​all skills training program does not cut it! Obviously, by virtue of their purpose, these training programs are meant to cast a wide net to bring many employees up to speed on several topics. Further, they are often designed for the convenience of the employer rather than the education of the team member. In today’s business climate, talent retention is too important to rely on cookie-​cutter programs that may miss the mark and fail to engage the subject.

Personalized training is manageable and effective

Margaret Rogers advocates individualized training conducted in a learning environment. First, begin with discovery questions to gain insight just as you do for your customers. In one-​on-​one meetings, ask about their apparent skills and inquire as to which skills they would like to develop. Further, ask about their career goals and additional responsibilities or projects they would like to be a part of.

Second, create on-​the-​job opportunities or establish a mentorship program that could help in their personalized development. Amazingly, these moments of engagement can help workers step out of their comfort zones and build confidence, self-​esteem and loyalty. Also, talent retention increases when employees have strong relationships with co-workers.

Finally, Rogers suggests designing a program that offers varied learning experiences suited to the personality traits of the respective employee. Also important is the feedback loop. For example, set aside time to recognize their efforts and discuss their progress along with the success and the failures they have experienced. Ultimately, a user-​centered skills training program can set the stage for astounding employee growth and retention of top talent.

Sometimes, skills training is not the answer

Your workers are not naïve. They have confidently met the challenge of the pandemic and are aware that traditional employment will not be around in the future. Furthermore, they realize that few people will have stable, long-​term employment soon. Justifiably, these are but a few of the takeaways from the Hopes and Fears 2021 study conducted by PwC Global. This massive global survey, with a stated purpose of determining worker attitudes, contained 2,000 U.S. participants.

Gaps in opportunities and inclusion

Of the U.S. study respondents, 60% are confident they can adapt to new technologies and are excited about the world of possibilities. Similarly, 50% are less afraid of automation putting them out of work than their global counterparts (61%). However, American workers, particularly young workers, see discrimination as a negative factor to career advancement. Likewise, older workers feel they are getting fewer training opportunities especially in critical digital skills.

Perception is reality

Leaders must attempt to stand back and look objectively at their places of work from all perspectives. For instance, walk in the shoes of the newest hire or sit in the chair of the oldest person on staff. Increasingly, try to see possible career opportunities with your company through the lens of race, gender, social class, or sexual orientation. Then, combine these observations with the insight you gain from the personalized training interviews. Collectively, this assessment will let you to determine your chances of talent retention among your staff. In this way, you can help your workers shape their long-​term contribution to your company.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash