Several companies are experiencing difficulty retaining talent and also facing talent supply shortages. To address this some organizations are taking a closer and broader look at what they are doing to build talent from within. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, Wal-Mart is planning to make a significant investment of both time and dollars “upskilling” their entry-level employees. The idea is that most organizations, including Wal-Mart, have historically invested heavily in grooming college-educated workers and managers. But few have been making significant investments in front-line leadership development and additional skills training. There are several reasons why companies are taking a closer look at the in-house talent and focusing on building a deeper bench.
Numerous enterprise organizations are challenged and, in some cases, bewildered at the quickness in which newer employees are voluntarily leaving. They are seeing the highest percentage of turnover in the first eighteen months of employment and struggling to apply the correct measures to retain and engage new talent. To remedy this some large retail companies are starting to take entry-level employees through a more rigorous training and leadership development program. The hope is that more development could not only be a solution to a lack of employee engagement, but could also help companies better identify who their high potentials actually are. Firms are discovering that stellar resumes, glowing recommendations, and nailed interviews are not always the best indicators of how employees will actually pan-out once hired. Yet companies typically invest most of their engagement and training dollars on college-educated workers, managers or people who have been identified as high potentials through the hiring process. Companies are now looking at developing the bench across all work groups and giving entry-level line workers more responsibility and training from the get-go. By investing more time, training, and even wage increases based on merit to entry-level employees, companies are taking a proactive approach to the current and looming talent concerns. By applying some of these measures companies are greatly increasing employee retention and also saving a ton of money to boot. Statistics show that when employees are fully engaged and feel valued they work harder, stay longer and contribute more. With solid employee training and learning programs where employees feel intrinsically valued, attrition naturally decreases. With a decrease in attrition, companies can shift even more dollars from recruiting and on-boarding new employees to developing the internal workforce.
It is worth mentioning how technology can enhance and support employee development initiatives. Several companies now have technology that can track, analyze and predict the most effective measures for best results. Companies can apply different measures to different segmented populations all the way down to the individual employee. Armed with a sophisticated view of their talent they can now be significantly more effective deciding whether to build or buy. Running a new population through new training and development programs will also allow companies to better meet and plan for future supply targets. For industries like retail, getting a firm grip on skills readiness provides an increased confidence to open new stores or launch new products. This kind of data will also help companies increase their hiring effectiveness as key attributes of success emerge. Companies will be able to track all similar attributes and traits of high potentials and high performers across any employee segmentation. This can also be coupled with a predictive forecast of attrition and retention driver analysis. Organizations can now forecast for volatility in the marketplace and determine what the best supply ratios are to accurately meet fluctuating demand and seasonality. Being able to plan for and anticipate growth and having a better understanding of the workforce talent composition translates into a plethora of efficiencies and benefits.
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