October 17, 2008

Managing Human Capital for Long-Term Success

The past couple of years have seen a downturn in the economy coupled with uncertainties arising from downsizing and sudden acquisitions and mergers. Corporate India has been enjoying the benefits of a buyers market with good talent not moving as frequently as before, and the focus on retention of star performers has been diluted. 

Interestingly, recent Hay Group's global research shows that one in three new searches now leave within two years of joining - an increase of 25% from five years ago. 

Given this information, and the fact that a potential upturn in the economy is anticipated, companies wishing to cash in on the next cycle of opportunity, should shift their focus from rightsizing to retention. 

In today’s evolving world, with competition getting stiffer and survival becoming a daily challenge, more and more companies agree that their employees are the only source of lasting differentiation in the marketplace. Several surveys and research have proven without a doubt that a competent professional can have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line. This makes the practice of human capital management more important to accomplishing business results than ever before. 

If you view a member of your management team as crucial to your success - so will your competition, who will then have even more incentive to try to lure that executive away. These star players are the cornerstones of an organization and companies are increasingly realizing the need to hold on to these valuable employees who would otherwise be easy targets for competitors. A study by a leading multinational HR consulting firm indicated that the loss of a star performer could cost an organization up to 18 months of his/her salary. 

Today the one-shot bonus over the holidays isn’t enough to motivate productivity, particularly with the Generation X and Y workforces. The MTV generation of employees is used to receiving feedback from a computer game every 60 seconds. There has been a paradigm shift in what employees want from a career. 

In a competitive talent market, companies that help stressed employees balance work and life are the ones that retain key talent. Giving employees a sense of control over their own time can achieve this. Some companies have introduced ambitious work/life program, ranging from concierge services and fitness centers to child care subsidies and discounted ticket sales. 

While top manager’s want: 

- Full Appreciation for Work Done 
- Feeling "In" on Things 
- Sympathetic Help on Personal Problems 
- Tactful Disciplining 

By and large the old adage still holds true…. Pay people fairly, but treat them great! 

While there are several techniques, and whether these include stimulating work, the stretching of abilities, making people feel as an important part of a grand venture, the rapport with co-workers or the recognition from superiors, it is clear that companies with a long term vision must develop strong retention techniques. 

In fact, it is the quality of the work itself, and of the relationships with others at work that makes the difference.

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