Retaining the best employees requires more than just performance feedback and paychecks.

By Heather Jordan and Dr. Susan Hanold

Today's workers have clearly articulated their expectations about flexibility, opportunity, purpose and culture, investment and growth. Culture and people strategy aren't just boxes to check. These elements must be thoughtfully and consistently developed, reviewed and managed. Employees want to be part of a fair, equitable workplace, while having the technology-fueled, consumer-like tools required to maintain true work-life balance.

Eliassen Group, a staffing and consulting firm in Reading, Mass., grows its business through an active mergers-and-acquisition operating philosophy. The company's expansion strategy, in fact, is a combination of organic and mergers-and-acquisitions (M&A)-fueled growth. Despite the turmoil M&A can sometimes bring, the company has maintained a strong culture with a focus on attracting talent and minimizing turnover.

Last year, the company experienced substantial growth in a compressed time period – due to more of a merger of equals rather than a typical acquisition. The scenario made it clear the cultural impact could potentially be more disruptive than usual.

Employers like Eliassen Group are keenly aware of how expensive turnover can be. And it's especially acute with today's younger demographic, as many employees think nothing of switching jobs if they are unhappy at their current employer. It is critical for an organization to understand what is important to their workforce.

Taking the data deep dive

Eliassen Group leadership believed that to maintain its M&A track record of success, it was time to re-energize its talent management strategy. That decision was also driven by workforce data and feedback indicating that employees weren't quite sure how they could grow professionally as the company continued to expand.

The company took that data and feedback and committed to explore how it could create more visibility and access into areas such as career growth, development and training.

Management wanted employees to have a clear understanding of what makes the company tick, why it chose certain strategies, and what to expect in the future. Along those lines, it also needed to manage employee expectations.

As a result, Eliassen Group chose to pursue four key actions to change its talent acquisition strategy and retention approach:

  • Think "big picture"
  • Enhance the brand internally and externally
  • Commit to a sharper focus on the overall culture and employee experience
  • Build a people strategy to decrease turnover

What Eliassen Group's strategy represents is a holistic approach, with the clear goal of not just attracting top talent, but also keeping those high-performing employees in the fold, engaged, happy and on solid career paths.

Eliassen's leadership was already focused on the need to retain talent – a major leg up for the company's HR leadership in generating buy-in and meeting the talent challenge. But the group is private equity-owned, which means there is a specific process it follows – one that requires data and metrics to clearly show the bottom-line benefit to making changes.

Eliassen Group has already made great progress on its talent management journey. The company's leaders are gaining a better understanding of the workforce with critical data points now available, along with effective information gathering tools such as pulse surveys and other feedback channels. The group is leveraging data analytics tools and building a stronger people strategy with ADP's support and data analytics tools.

Learn more in this webcast

Jordan and Hanold will more deeply explore the working relationship between ADP and Eliassen Group – and how the latter is adapting and updating its culture to meet today's talent challenges while boosting the bottom line – in a January 9 webinar, Changing the Game to Retain Top Talent. The two will discuss talent acquisition and turnover trends, including why the candidate experience is critical as employers look to attract and recruit talent, and how the game is changing at Eliassen Group. Register now.

Heather Jordan is vice president, Human Resources, at Eliassen Group, a Reading, Mass., company that provides strategic consulting and talent solutions to drive client innovation and business results. Dr. Susan Hanold is vice president, Strategic Advisory Services, at ADP.

Tags: Performance Management Turnover and Retention Workforce Analytics Talent Acquisition Trends and Innovation Talent Workforce Planning Talent Management HR Recruiting and Hiring Articles People Management and Growth

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