How to Improve Retention in an Increasingly Global Talent Market

How to Improve Retention in an Increasingly Global Talent Market

This article was updated on July 26, 2018.

In an increasingly global talent market, retention is only getting more difficult. Recent studies by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) indicate that, for CHROs, considering how to improve retention is a key concern for 2016. Some 56 percent of HR professionals in the U.S. believe that strong competition for talent and wages is a major challenge, which should increase pressure on HR leadership to improve retention.

Although technological advancements have made it easy for HR departments to expand recruitment strategies to a global scale, this can also introduce risk. As employees realize their organization's talent is being sourced on a global scale, they also become aware of the wealth of opportunities available to them abroad.

Why Your Employees May Look Abroad

For young, highly motivated people, international opportunities can hold real appeal. BCG Perspectives has found that 59 percent of U.S.-based Millennials are willing to work overseas because international corporations can offer certain fiscal and non-financial benefits. For example, while Americans who accept global jobs are required to pay taxes, Reuters reports that significant tax credits are available, allowing a higher percentage of take-home income.

In addition to the possibility of higher take-home earnings, employees who accept a position overseas may increase access to niche roles, providing career growth within specific verticals. Global employees can gain rich opportunities to develop diverse communication skills, travel frequently and accelerate career growth.

Retention Strategies for a Global Talent Market

An effective talent retention strategy takes into account both risk management and employee reward. By focusing on transformation, CHROs can shape their culture and organizations to compete in a global talent market.

Here are three ways to stay competitive:

1. Facilitate Work-Life Balance

Making the move to work internationally could be a bid to establish work-life balance for overburdened employees. According to the Independent, common perceptions that European firms offer superior "resistance to working long hours" and personal time off are true. Countries outside the U.S. rank best in surveys of work-life balance; with Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway offering the shortest work weeks and best accommodation for family life.

Studies by WorkPlace Trends indicate that 45 percent of U.S. employees feel they lack time for "personal activities." CHROs should consider implementing policies that promote positive work-life balance at every level of operations, including limiting access to technologies outside of work hours. By establishing reasonable performance metrics for teams, enforcing vacation policies and offering positive parental leave programs, HR can ensure that employees don't feel overwhelmed to the point they consider leaving for an international organization.

Employers can also consider flexible work schedules or telecommuting. According to a study by the ADP Research Institute®, The Evolution of Work: The Changing Nature of the Global Workforce, 81 percent of employees surveyed associated positive emotions with the ability to work from anywhere in the world, and 78 percent felt positive toward the idea of creating their own schedule. Employers could retain current employees and draw from a larger, more global pool by allowing for more flexibility in time and location.

2. Offer Diverse Experiences

Your youngest employees are most likely to prioritize the types of challenging, multicultural experiences associated with working for an international firm, so it makes sense that 58 percent of Millennials consider themselves "global citizens," according to WattTime. That generation has a clear desire to seek out authentic travel experiences, international education and cross-cultural experiences.

That's why it's important for CHROs to understand what the Harvard Business Review refers to as the distinction between "inherent" diversity, which includes traits employees may be born with, and "acquired" diversity, which are skills gained by working with diverse groups in any setting. Providing employees with inherently diverse work environments in which "leaders value differences" can replicate the cross-cultural experience Millennials could be seeking when they consider a global role. As an additional bonus, diverse organizations are 45 percent more likely to report growth in market share.

3. Encourage Employees' Desire for Growth

If your employees believe their natural curiosity and desire for professional improvement isn't being supported by your organization, you are at risk of defection to a global talent market who may support those lofty goals. ACCA Global reports that nearly 60 percent of modern finance executives believe that international work experience will "improve greatly" an individual's chances of earning promotions and better job titles.

Establishing leadership training initiatives can allow CHROs to retain highly motivated talent who may be attracted to a global job market as a tool for accelerating their career. By offering mentorship programs and formal management training, you can prevent employees from considering an international move as their only way to secure a seat in the C-Suite.

Retaining talent and dissuading that talent from seeking opportunities abroad should be a driving factor in today's HR strategy. By initiating a cultural shift in your approach to work-life balance, educational opportunities and autonomy, CHROs can turn the tide of international defections and keep those employees happy right where they are.