Employers Attempt to Identify Retention Challenges

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When asked “What is the biggest challenge your company faces today?” the most common response by participants in the 2012 ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey was, “hiring & retaining employees.” To address the first half of this challenge, employers report using recruiting and hiring practices at rates that are fairly consistent with past years. Most organizations check an applicant’s references (90%) and more than half (57%) use some type of psychological testing as part of their selection process. Unsurprisingly, there was a noticeable uptick in the use of technology as a recruiting tool overall, with more employers routinely using tools such as internet job boards (85%) and social networking (52%) to match the right candidate with their organization’s needs.

Determining how these same employers are then “retaining employees” requires a slightly more complex explanation. From compensation and benefits, to employee engagement and communication, to work-life balance and rewards/recognition, each element of an employee’s overall experience at work plays some role in their decision to stay-on with their current employer. One specific factor that contributes to employee retention that is addressed in the 2012 Smart Business Survey is “Training & Development.” 

For example, the survey reports that employers providing financial assistance to employees to upgrade their skills, saw an 11% drop from 2011’s survey, down to 80% in 2012. While this is still a strong proportion overall, it is worth noting that this drop can be attributed entirely to non-manufacturing organizations. Manufacturers actually saw an increase in the prevalence of this benefit in 2012, with nearly all manufacturing organizations providing this benefit (96%) - a trend that is likely due to the highly technical nature of many manufacturing jobs.

Slight increases can be found in training & development practices that require the employer to incur more indirect costs or no costs at all, i.e. career development initiatives and mentorship programs for new employees. While these lower-cost activities do provide employees with valuable development opportunities, only about one-third of employers are actually offering them to their employees.

Clearly there is an opening for area employers to improve upon and ultimately leverage the training and development opportunities they offer to their employees as a retention tool. Particularly during a time when retaining existing employees continues to be a perpetual challenge for many Northeast Ohio employers, establishing strong, multi-dimensional training and development programs can help organizations stand out above the rest.

For more information on workplace trends from the 2012 ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey see the most recent issue of Smart Business or download the entire report here. For more information on the training programs offered by ERC, click here.

View ERC's Talent Management Survey Results

This report summarizes the results of ERC’s survey of organizations in Northeast Ohio on practices related to talent management including employee engagement, defining & retaining top/key talent, succession planning, and training & development.

View the Results