Coming out of COVID, we have seen a lot written about how to bring employees back into the office and accounts of the Great Resignation.
Together these movements have created a hot job market, and as a result, we are seeing more employees flexing this recently-acquired advantage in the workplace.
Ultimately managers will have to navigate these tricky waters. What we’re seeing among our clients and in the market in general, is that some organizations are better prepared than others to help their managers deal with the challenges of retention and strategic recruitment.
We’ve prepared the following list of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ to help you manage the shifting demands of the current job market.
Go it alone as a manager trying to retain an employee that has come into your office with an offer to leave in hand. Leverage your organizational specialists in human resources to ensure that any counteroffer you might be considering is fair and sustainable to your team and the broader organization. Here are three things to keep in mind in this situation:
- Offering a pay increase outside the corporate pay structure and policies as a counteroffer can have equity implications and may negatively affect overall wage and salary budgets. Also, you might be creating the perception of fairness issues on your team and/or across the organization, which may negatively affect employee engagement resulting in further cost pressures within your organization.
- Offering a more senior title change without redesigning the role to incorporate more complex work will not challenge or satisfy the development needs of the employee in the long run. We have seen how a poorly designed role can drive employee disengagement and potentially increase organizational costs of coordination. You’re better off to find a true promotion opportunity outside your team for the individual than to counter with just a new tile. Appointing someone as a “senior” without changing their work or accountabilities doesn’t fool anyone for long.
- The first counteroffer often leads to the need for more counteroffers, as other employees interpret these actions as a cue to renegotiate their current employment contract.
Initiate proactive organization-wide assessments of internal people, policies, and programs. Here are six suggestions for a more comprehensive framework for managing talent for engagement and retention:
- Partner with your human resources specialist to proactively go to market to understand shifts in total reward offerings. Request these reviews be prioritized to job families that are at highest retention risk.
- Review and update your succession, promotion, and development plans for your team today (not when you have a counteroffer in hand).
- Seek employee input where appropriate to demonstrate your commitment to fairness and transparency in developing your team (e.g., return to office plans, promotions, learning and development plans).
- Exercise your managerial strength by leveraging more frequent one-on-one sessions with team members to better understand retention risk and to demonstrate your proactive interest in creating internal opportunities for all.
- Initiate strategic recruitment activities for “high retention risk” job families.
- Coming out of the last two years, your strategy may have changed. A change in strategy signals that it is time for an organization structure review. Make sure your structure, role accountabilities and aligned decision authorities will deliver on expected outcomes.
Finally, assume that any counteroffer will soon be shared at the virtual water cooler. You’ll want to get ahead of this before you see a mushrooming need for counteroffers across your organization. Getting ahead of the job market challenges with broad people-planning initiatives and immediate proactive interventions (specifically with your “high retention risk” individuals) may not save every employee looking to leave, but it will solidify your position going forward in the market as an “employer of choice”.
Sylvia Klarer, Partner with COREinternational specializing in creating organization designs structured to deliver strategy and improve performance.
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