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Human Resources

Susan Rousseau (South Africa) - How Smart Companies Retain Top Talent

Thomas J. Watson Junior said ‘I believe the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can be very often traced to the question of how well the organization brings out the great energies and talents of its people.’

Prolonged economic volatility has lulled many employers into believing that, as staff turnover rates are down, retention efforts do not need to be a top priority.
However, as our IT skills shortage is set to worsen with economic recovery, the time to focus on retention is now.

How do smart companies retain top IT talent?

Firstly, smart companies pay top talent well…

They understand that remuneration is the foundation of a good retention strategy – and that, particularly if they kept salaries static through the economic downturn, they now face losing key IT skills as recovery improves. Increases are a priority.

Smart companies commit to flex time...

In 2010, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Employment Trends Survey showed that 97% of all British employers offered some form of flexible working solution – up from the less than 50% who indicated the same in the first CBI Survey, conducted in 1998.

Smart companies acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that suggests that flexible working solutions are a powerful lure for top talent – and that these solutions offer many benefits, including better work/ life balance, cost savings and reduced traffic congestion.

As such, they offer a range of options that include flexitime, part-time work, job sharing, annualised or compressed working hours and remote working.

Smart companies have a succession plan…

They use succession planning to combat turnover among key IT staff, understanding that it creates a ‘climate of possibility’ where career prospects are clear and transparent and where disruption is minimized in the event of a resignation.
At senior levels, they identify and groom high potential leaders early.
At more junior levels, they assign ‘understudies’ to key roles and mentor them closely.

Smart companies reduce ‘time to productivity’ for new employees…

Rising turnover means that complex internal processes that act as a barrier to new employee productivity are not efficient. Smart companies find creative ways to reduce ‘time to productivity’ using technology and training.

And, finally, smart companies are ‘talent developers’, often bringing education in-house...

They understand that education is the key to ‘talent development’ and implement formal programmes focused on training, upskilling and mentorship.
For global companies, like Samsung and IBM, this means creating universities to train staff internally.

For smaller companies, this means using CBT and online training programs, setting up internal knowledge and skills transfer programs and mentoring.

Smart companies regularly measure the success of their retention efforts, using anything from software tools to employee engagement surveys, recognising that ‘bringing out the energies and talents’ of their key people is important if they are to get ahead of their competition in the coming ‘war for talent’.

Each year, Insource.ICT hosts an annual IT Salary Survey Breakfast, focused on providing current information on salaries earned and trends in the South African IT space. Our 2012 Breakfast is taking place on 24 May 2012 and we have a limited number of seats still available. If you would like to attend, please contact Susan Rousseau on srousseau@insource.co.za

By Susan Roussea, Client Development Manager, Insource.ICT.

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