Career structures are changing. Our retention strategies must change, too
In this week's blog: It's not enough to recruit the best talent, if you can't retain the best talent. As employees live and work for longer, the traditional career structure is changing, and companies need to change with it.
You hired James right out of university. He was the best and brightest of his peers.
He worked hard, was promoted quickly, and out-performed nearly all of his colleagues.
But when he hit his late forties, he began itching for something new.
He wanted to travel, expand his horizons, maybe start up a new business, spend more time with his family.
You begged him not to leave, but he resigned, with no other work lined up.
Every company has cases like this, of star employees who you cultivate, nurture and rely on – and then suddenly leave to do something radically different, or just take time out.
There is a crucial lesson for your business…
A while back, we discussed different ways to ensure your recruitment process does not overlook well-qualified but older candidates.
But it’s not enough to recruit the best talent if you cannot keep the best talent.
And as we live for longer – and work for longer – that becomes increasingly challenging.
The traditional career structure is changing.
The stability of full-time work with high salaries and regular promotions, followed by retirement at 65, simply isn’t as attractive as it once was.
Instead, workers like James, in the middle of their careers, want to try out different career paths… Take on new challenges… Take time out and then return to the workforce, renewed and refreshed….. And to find a good work-life balance.
And when they reach the traditional retirement age, they very often might be keen to continue working – whether in their existing positions, shifting to part-time, or taking on a new position altogether.
This cohort still has decades of experience and wisdom to offer – if only they feel supported and welcome.
To keep our best employees, we have to adjust to these new realities.
We must think harder about how to support employees of every age, as their work patterns and needs change.
And we need to consider how to create workplaces which are age-diverse, and where companies can gain all the benefits of this more flexible, older workforce.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve suggested some starting points:
Institute a mid-career review for staff in their 40s to 50s, so that they can analyse where they would like their career to go and make plans accordingly
Broaden the range of available career trajectories, introducing more options for flexible, part-time and remote work
Proactively train managers to support workers of all ages and skill levels, initiating additional training as needed
Be transparent about the age demographics in your company, so that any issues can come to light
Match younger and older workers, so they can mentor each other, sharing their knowledge and skills
But this is just the beginning of the conversation. And we’re keen to expand it, way beyond the confines of these blogs.
That’s why I have a big announcement coming up…
A way for you to bring this discussion to your company…
And develop an actionable, practical plan to keep people engaged, challenged and trained as career patterns change…
…so that you don’t have to routinely watch people like James walk out your door, never to return.
Watch out for my next few blogs.