To retain and re-attract talent, culture is key differentiator

Retaining key talent: Digital investment: Zuko Mdwaba, area vice president for Salesforce South Africa. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn
Zuko Mdwaba, area vice president for Salesforce South Africa. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn

Zuko Mdwaba from Salesforce South Africa says by rethinking how employers engage with employees past and present, they can ensure the best talent is never far away. This, as the Great Resignation trend shows no sign of abating.

Despite mounting economic headwinds over the past two years, the Great Resignation trend shows no sign of abating. According to global research from McKinsey the share of workers planning to leave their jobs this year remains unchanged from 2021, at 40%.

The offer of a more senior role, better pay and more purposeful work rank high on employees’ reasons for moving elsewhere. The lure of a company’s culture is also encouraging greater rates of retention. Or re-application, as is increasingly the case.

Recruitment of so-called boomerangs – employees returning to a previous employer – is on the rise. Of all new hires among companies on LinkedIn, 4.5% were so-called boomerang workers in 2021, compared to 3.9% in 2019, according to LinkedIn data.

Amid rising inflation and costs of running a business, not least hiring, rethinking how employers engage with employees who move elsewhere has benefits for both parties. Looking at their values, the opportunities for growth they provide, and how they cultivate a culture of connection will ensure that the best talent is never far away.

Culture as a key differentiator

In today’s business climate the power of empathetic and value-driven leadership to drive better business outcomes cannot be understated.

In a recent PwC survey of 3,200 leaders and employees worldwide, 69% of respondents who said that their organizations have been able to adapt over the past year also said that their culture has been a source of competitive advantage. For those who think of their leaders as “role models of value, purpose, and culture,” 85% say their organisation’s culture provides a competitive advantage.

From encouraging diversity to enabling sustainability, how business leaders show they are acting with the interests of all stakeholders has never been more important to employees.

Since our founding in 1999, Salesforce has been grounded in our core values of trust, equality, customer success, and innovation. Those values come to life through our 1-1-1 philanthropic model and equality initiatives.

As well as wanting to feel a shared sense of purpose, people crave a sense of belonging and a more rewarding employee experience. Employers’ failure to meet new demands for autonomy and flexibility at work are among key reasons why many employees have resigned from their roles or withdrawn from full-time employment entirely.

As employee needs continue to change, employers who listen and adapt their culture accordingly will be best placed to attract and re-attract talent.

Reward ambition of top talent with skills

Every employee wants to feel valued by their manager and to envisage a clear path for career progression.

Giving employees the right opportunities and resources to expand their skill sets benefits everyone, not least to fill jobs of the future. One way companies can do this is through internal learning platforms to develop new soft and hard skills, help find ways to promote employees into new or expanded roles, or support employees to make inspiring career changes.

Company-sponsored learning is a practical and cost-effective way of getting the best out of teams and creating a work environment in which employees feel their careers can thrive. Through internal careers programs employers can match employees’ ambition for advancement and also boost talent diversity across the business.

Stay connected

As employees reassess their relationship with work and seek greater work-life balance, employers can still maintain a sense of connection with those who may wish to return.

Investing in an alumni network is a great way to keep previous employees updated on the latest company news, events and roles available. As well as giving alumni an opportunity to expand their network, providing access to useful learning tools can be important resources to help would-be boomerangs hit the ground running from day one.

Leveraging such networking initiatives is a smart strategy to ensure employees past and present remain engaged, that the company can respond fast to evolving workforce trends, better retain and re-attract the best talent.

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