Firms' Staff Retention Efforts Should Focus on People, Projects
The good news is that an increasing percentage of your employees plan to stay put in 2013. According to a recently released Deloitte survey, 80% of employees do not plan to change jobs over the next year, representing a significant increase from 2011, when only 65% were planning an exit.
The bad news, however, is that an alarming number of the 20% who plan to leave are either high-performing or high-potential employees.
Smart employers have always recognized that top performers want recognition and an opportunity to positively influence and impact the organization, but as the economy sank in recent years and survival and stabilization took precedence, even some well-led organizations have been neglecting the needs of key employees.
Our informal survey of human resources managers at some leading healthcare design firms suggests they each face unique challenges and opportunities to help keep top talent.
Many healthcare project managers and architects associate their happiness and identity with projects and clients as much as with their employer. If projects are interesting and challenging, and the relationships that are developed during the project are positive, top talent will be far less likely to seek greener pasture.
A fulfilling relationship with a client that has a five-year project or several smaller projects over the same duration, as are common in healthcare, will minimize the risk of departure.
Smart healthcare design firms monitor the perceptions that employees have of their employer as well as with their projects and clients.
One client of ours, a leading healthcare architectural firm, recently developed a retention task force to proactively address and understand the drivers of retention. The firm’s findings strongly suggested that the needs of individuals were often determined by the generation of each individual.
Gen X and Millennials want to learn; they thirst for continuing education; they want to grow, collaborate, leverage technology, and practice lean and evidence based design. They measure their progress not by how much they have earned, but how much they have learned.
Mid-career individuals want perks and benefits that provide career flexibility, work from home, time off, and other work-life balance opportunities.
Mid- and later-stage career individuals want to know how to achieve ownership and equity, and how to optimize job security.
And, finally, all of the HR managers we spoke to about retention cited the importance of communication. Each confirmed that the relationship between the supervisor and the subordinate will often trump all other factors in retention.
In highly volatile and uncertain times, those managers who have built trusting and open relationships have benefited their organization dramatically by helping to keep key talent. For example, a healthcare design firm that recently reduced its staff is having its senior leadership play a key role in communicating to the entire staff that the future is still bright for the organization.