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ATD Blog

Retention Strategies


Mon Apr 15 2013


Valuing human capital as an asset in an environment that is nurturing, supportive, and promotes growth and develop is having a “talent point of view.” Executives’ belief that they have the best available talent, who need to be kept engaged and satisfied, is vital to effective and efficient retention practices. Rapid changes, including the global economy, new technologies, and a diverse and multigenerational workforce, impact the challenges organizations face as they investigate talent retention figures and develop retention strategies to remain competitive in the marketplace.

Meet and resolve the challenges of turnover by implementing strategies such as these:

  • Conduct a “stay” interview, a session conducted face-to-face with an employee when he or she is clearly engaged, to help learn what can be done to avoid losing talent. Its purpose is to learn about employee’s interests, motivations, skills, fit regarding short-term and long-term goals, and what help is wanted to improve performance and career opportunities.

  • Ask managers and leaders to do a self-assessment and gain a sense of how their attitudes and behaviors impact retention in their departments, services, or programs. They should assess their relationships with employees, communication styles, and how they socialize in the workplace, listen to and address employees’ concerns, and acknowledge contributions.

  • Initiate onboarding practices focused on nurturing new hires, integrating them quickly and effectively into their unfamiliar work arenas, and setting up ways to connect with their co-workers. Successful onboarding activities result in trust, motivation, identifying with the organization, and most importantly, the feeling that they made the correct employment decision for themselves and their future.

  • Establish a retention practice committee with members representing HRD departments, senior executives, managers, front-line supervisors, and workers. Their objectives are to review turnover issues and situations, exit interview data, assess turnover costs, institute retention polices and goals, and build evaluation and accountability systems.

  • Develop an organization brand whose message is “a great employer of choice.” It is a complete overall image with such elements as logo, mission statement, employee value proposition, and talent stories. A clear authentic brand attracts qualified candidates who will fit into the organization’s culture, have similar values, and bond with other workforce members.

  • Evaluate alignment of organization’s expectations with employees’ expectations by involving employees from different functions, backgrounds, and experience levels in discussions about engagement and performance factors. Results should indicate adjustments needed to return to a more harmonious balance and increase retention rates.

  • Conduct, on a regular basis, a review of talent management policies, procedures, programs, and services—check-ins with employees across the organization including leaders, managers, first-line supervisors, and workers “on the floor.” Survey employees about experiences with their direct managers. Based on results, appropriate changes are made.


These tips are excerpted from the Infoline “Talent Engagement Across Generations” (March 2013).

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