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CSR as retention tool

April 28, 2011 Comments off

Performance  Appraisals are up in most of the Indian organisations and it is time to handle the tricky issue of post-appraisal employee attrition.  A recent report in The Hindustan times pointed out that attrition is Indian firms New worry .

Another report in Mint based on the Aon Hewitt survey puts the average attrition figure at around 18%. Leading the pack is the ITeS sector with 27%. Pharmaceuticals & BFSI ( excluding Insurance) stand at 21%.  This inspite of 12.9%  salary hike in 2011 ( following up on 11.7% for 2010).

An Economic times article  published last week proclaimed that organisations are offering handsome bonuses and larger roles to retain talent. Interestingly the same article points at another study by BTI consultants highlighting that “…Indian CEOs are becoming more focused on talent retention than acquisition…”

This sets one thinking as to what could  be some non-conventional methods for employee retention. is salary, role, designation etc enhancement the only way ? is there a non-materialistic option too?

On talking to a few colleagues, i came across certain methods being used by organisations to enrich lives of their employees and making the relationship sticky. The focus is on providing avenues for employees to engage in various activities where they can be themselves. These range from organizing informal family events, time-off to pursue personal interests, idea incubation to social involvement.

DnB transunion ( http://www.idotrust.org/) started a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative in 2007  and chose to call it as Individual Social Responsibility initiative for the simple reason that they realized that CSR was nothing but a sum of all Individual social efforts of its employees. The organisation created a trust which was included as a stake holder in the company. Weight-age is given for employee participation in such activities in their annual appraisals. The corpus fund of the trust is made up of voluntary contribution from employees. The activities are all conducted by the employees themselves and cover healthcare, education & other social welfare projects. From simple activities like tree plantation to organizing large medical camps, employees participate whole heartedly and as per the testimonials on the site, it gives them a lot of fulfillment.

With more & more organisations actively encouraging their employees to take time out for such initiatives, Can such initiatives be translated into some sort of culture building & retention strategies ?

Welcome Aboard

March 2, 2010 1 comment

How do you feel when you join a new company ?

Unless you are one of those who change jobs the way one changes the innerwear, getting associated and separated from an organisation is an emotional matter. It is like leaving a neighbourhood and getting inducted into another. unknown people, new surroundings, a different culture and way of working. Imagine, being left alone to find ones way in this new maze.

Do you go and introduce yourselves to everyone in sight ? or wait for people to come to know about you as and when they interact ? How does it feel when the dispatch boy comes and asks your neighbour ” do we have anyone named M in our office?”.

Emotional, did i say ? This is not an exaggerated scenario. Even some of the most people friendly organisations spend little time in ushering in a new employee, forget about the less friendly ones. In the name of induction, one has to go through a 3-4 day crash session where everything – ranging from org chart, products, policies, processes, key people , so on and so forth is downloaded and then… If one were to administer a surprise quiz at the end of induction, most of the new joinees would flunk even the most basic questions about the organisation.

Where is the effort to make the employee feel welcome and more importantly, wanted ? If we can have freshers’ party in colleges, why cant we have a fun filled induction in organisations ? From my experience and interactions with senior managers and HR people, induction is nothing but a formality. In their words, a platform to communicate the organisations vision and to showcase the top brass ( who never even talk to the lesser mortals once the induction is over).

In my recent interactions with some of the team managers in a “sales oriented” organisation, it was shocking to note that none the managers could talk anything about the families or background of their team members. That their relationships are absolutely “official” was obvious and this reflected in the performance of the teams. I was told that the attrition levels in the team was very high and that most people left in first 2-3 months. Bad welcome ?

There have been many studies which say that most people leave because of bad bosses. While that may be true, i would say many people leave even before they come to know that the boss is bad. Any organisation cannot succeed in long run if it fails to welcome its people. and not just ones, but continues to do it all through, even during the process of separation ( more about it later).

How can an employee be inducted and welcomed in an organisation that he feels charged up right from the first moment ?

First posted in my Personal Blog in August 2008

Categories: Induction, Retention Tags: ,

Key to Retention

February 1, 2010 Comments off

Everyone wants a raise and employees can shift to competitors if they are offered better pay packets. Does that mean that higher compensation is the key to retention ?

 Not Really. The employees do not remain satisfied for long with the extra money- says a study conducted by Villanova School of Business and Right Management, a human resources consulting subsidiary of Manpower Inc.

Started in 2007, a team of researchers “embarked on a project to learn more about the nonpecuniary rewards that drive employees to stay with a company. Looking at the Indian labor market, they examined the talent management practices of 28 companies operating in India. The researchers surveyed 4,811 of those companies’ employees about their attitudes toward their employers, including their intentions to stay or leave.”

Despite salary increases averaging more than 15% annually in some industries, annual turnover rates among young professionals was fund to average 15% to 30% and go as high as 50%. 

While there were many factors that were beyond the control of employers,Of the factors that an employer can control, four emerged as most important: performance management practices, professional development practices, the quality of supervision and the company’s socially responsible posture. In turn, the researchers discovered that these four factors drive two key employee attitudes: an employee’s satisfaction with and pride in the organization. When satisfaction and pride are at a high level, employees are likely to stay.

The study also showed that employers should target high-potential employees extremely early in their tenure and create accelerated development plans for them. Young, high-potential employees demand active management support — something first-line managers are often not equipped to provide, but which is critical to employees’ decisions to stay or go. The authors recommend that companies also invest in training front-line managers so they can help employees thrive.

This research is pertinent not just for companies in India, but for managers everywhere. “We’re in a global war for talent,” Doh says. “Any company interested in accessing the labor force in India or another developing country needs to pay attention to these findings.” That applies to companies in slower markets, too, such as the current U.S. economy. “No matter what the environment, employees care about nonpecuniary rewards — pride, satisfaction, the support of the management team,” Doh says. “In slow times, it’s a mistake to cut back on those aspects.”

Source: Financial Post, Dec 22, 2008. Article Courtesy- MIT Sloan Management review, full text available at  http://sloanreview.mit.edu/smr/

Categories: Retention, Survey Tags: ,
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