Extended Notice Periods For Key Talent Really A Retention Strategy?

Retention Strategy Key Talent

Talent retention is huge on the agenda for many HR departments across the globe especially with Gen Y’s. The need to retain the new generation of talent is plain to see. ‘They are the future of our business’ ‘Generation Y will be leading our businesses one day’. You can quite frankly insert any cliche line you want and it will be on the agenda of those working to retain key staff members.

One ‘retention strategy’ I have personally had to endure and have seen more of recently is the 3 month notice period. Sure this is common practice for management but I have seen companies implementing such notice periods on executive level staff members; particularly those of the younger generation.

You could argue this works in both directions. It’s more difficult to move roles given the extended notice period but also gives you a stronger position when it comes to redundancy. I’m not denying neither but really is this the best retention strategy we can honestly muster?

Do we genuinely believe making it more difficult for individuals to leave will promote a happier, more engaged workplace or is this strategy purely desperation from HR departments to try and meet employee retention quotas?

I see this more as imprisonment (however dramatic that sounds) as opposed to a retention strategy a company can be proud of. I ‘get’ the game the companies are playing here but I don’t understand the long term rationale.

I can rationalise that employee’s may decide against leaving given the long notice period or other companies will be reluctant to take on executives who they have to wait 3 months for when they could have someone within 4 weeks. I can understand that. But is this a retention strategy companies and HR departments are proud of? Does this REALLY earn you your stripes in the elite world of HR retention? I would hazard a guess at no.

For me retention simply boils down to time and effort into employee’s on all levels. It’s not just down to the HR department to retain key members of staff it’s down to directors, line managers and other team members alike.

If companies realistically want to retain key developing members of staff then surely emphasis should be placed on real strategies as opposed to cuffing employees to a workplace.

 

Alternative retention strategies:

The best way to emphasise retention strategies you would deem as successful is to think of the companies which drove you away. Commonly they won’t implement any of these techniques. I base these on my own experiences of receiving the opposite. If you can nail these retention strategies you won’t find a need to implement absurd notice periods.

Give a shit about a staff member:
Employer compassion goes a long way. I want to work with someone who cares about me; genuinely cares. There’s no time for half arse ‘Did you have a good weekend?’. I prefer people who take time to find out about me and show interest in me. It somebody cares about me I care about them and their business.

I remember a former manager who was a great man and it inspired me to finish work for him. I valued how he was towards me.

Show interest in developing their career:

Stagnation worries many in business particularly Gen Y. Companies and in particular line managers need show interest in developing their operatives careers. Work is about development, moving forward, showing progress and moving in the right direction skillswise (this doesn’t always mean promotions).

Show interest in those who work for you and have a clear strategy/budget for developing talent and encourage them to develop. If i’m in a business where they are keen on developing me then I am in the right role and have no thoughts of leaving.

Map out a clear route of progression for them:

We all have different aspirations but many want to see progression in a work capacity so therefore the road to progression should be clear.

Organisational structures play a huge part in this game. If the progression path is clear then it makes the retention game extremely easy. There can be blockages however like a member of staff who has been with the company for an extended amount of time and has no desire to leave. These type of situations will make the younger executives uneasy as they see no clear route to where they want to be.

Solutions for this involve retraining/re guiding the individual in a different direction or promoting from within. Giving promotion to the internal candidate breeds confidence within the organisation.

Enjoyable job role:

Pretty self explanatory but one we have been battling for years now. Make the job role enjoyable! Throwing a 3 month notice period on the laps of the younger talent sends warning signs immediately that the company is desperate to retain talent and is using the wrong methods to do so.

By making a job more enjoyable people will want to come to the office and will have no intention in leaving the company. Pretty simple right? This type of approach starts with a top down approach however. Culturally the company has to have it right.

Great place to work:

I’ve already spoke about non monetary employee benefits to increase staff retention but companies constantly seem to miss this off their strategy list. This could be because these type of things take a little bit more time to implement as opposed to changing the duration of notice on a contract.

Making the company a great place to work however is the best retention strategy you can hope for. Simple things like flexible working hours, free coffee, fruit and parking make the company instantly more attractive to an employee.  These are long term retention as opposed to narrow focused strategies like extended notice periods. By making the company a great place to work employees will enjoy the work place, enjoy been part of the establishment and work harder for the company. You scratch my back and ill scratch yours comes to mind.

Employee first,business second=Retention:

Companies are constantly safeguarding their own assets when in reality employees should be first and foremost in their minds. People leave for reasons and typically those covered above are some of the key reasons why people actually leave.

When someone decides to leave a company they have moved on already. Emotionally they have made the decision and their head is elsewhere so is having them around for 3 months potentially disrupting the company harmony a good decision? I’d say not.

By making your business more attractive to an employee you will decrease the amount of people who leave which in turn will improve retention. People will ultimately leave this happens in life but I’m sure that will be at a much lower rate if you get the key pillars correct.

 

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog GenerationY.com was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.

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