5 Resolutions Every Organization Must Make about Talent

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The New Year is beckoning even as the lights go up in preparation for the Christmas festivities.  Making New Year’s resolutions is a tradition that dates back to the Babylonians about 4000 years ago. During a ceremony known as Akitu which coincided with the crop planting season in mid-March, they would make promises to the gods to pay debts and be on their best behavior in the New Year. Romans had a similar ceremony at the beginning of the year. It was based on the belief that Janus, the two-faced god after whom January is named had links to the future and insight into the past.

Many of us look back and wonder why we made New Year’s resolutions in the first place because we have nothing to show for it. Some of us quit before we fulfilled our resolutions. Others are proud of the milestones made after making their resolutions. Regardless of your take on resolutions at a personal level, every organization that is keen on growing and sustaining its growth must make resolutions. Your talent strategy must be carefully considered as you make your resolutions at an organizational level. You do not have to wait for January to consider your resolutions when it comes to talent.

Having worked with hundreds of successful organizations over the past year, we have identified a few of key resolutions that organizations need to make and keep in the New Year:

Resolution#1: Review and update your employee handbook

This may seem trivial at first but it is not. If you have an employee handbook, now would be a good time to carefully review it and consider what needs to be revised or updated. During the review, consider any changes that have been made to the laws or regulations in the course of the year. Work with your legal counsel during the process.

Do you have flexible working arrangements for some of your employees? Include it in your employee handbook.

Do you have guidelines on how your employees need to use social media platforms? Let it be clearly articulated in your employee handbook.

Do the policies and guidelines in your employee handbook support your recruitment and employee retention efforts? The employee handbook should have them.

Are you clueless about what you need to include or exclude in your employee handbook? Talk to us today.

Resolution #2:  Foster a learning culture

Are your employees keeping up with emerging trends? Successful organizations encourage their employees to learn continuously and come up with innovative ways of doing their work. Encourage the employees who have been working for the organization for long to acquire new skills or upgrade their skills. Provide them with opportunities to learn about new technologies in their field. Provide new employees with opportunities to up-skill or work in other areas of the organization in order to enhance their skills. These efforts will boost the morale of the employees, promote productivity and business growth.

Resolution#3: Avoid delays in acting on employee performance

Delays in acting on employee performance are a result of a variety of factors. Sometimes, the organization wants to find a replacement before firing an employee.

In other instances, the organization might not have the financial muscle to compensate an employee after giving him or her a promotion.  Regardless of the reasons for the delay, organizations end up retaining underperforming employees for longer periods than they should. In other instances, organizations lose their talent to competitors because they failed to provide them with career development opportunities. This does not mean that the decision to terminate or promote an employee should be rushed. However, the decision should not be delayed as long as there is sufficient information.

Resolution#4: Review your benefits program

Millennials are looking for more than a salary. They are seeking opportunities to grow and develop in their careers, advance in their education and work in an environment that supports work-rest balance.

Are you content in offering traditional benefits such as retirement, health insurance and annual leave? It is time to reconsider the benefits you can offer to your employees.

There are other benefits that help in retaining employees such as flexible working schedule, training and friendly maternity and paternity leave packages. An organization could reap immense benefits from its employees by including some of these benefits in its benefits program.

Resolution #5: Review your annual appraisal process

In most organizations, annual appraisals are considered mundane tasks that everyone simply wants to get over and done with. As a result of this attitude, most organizations miss out on opportunities to get feedback from their employees and to give feedback that will help them become more productive. Resolve to ensure that employees do not only hear about their good performance or areas of improvement during the annual appraisal at your organization. Effective managers have regular discussions with their team members about their good performance and areas of improvement. This can be done on a monthly or quarterly basis. The performance appraisal tool should be shared with the employee prior to the appraisal. This will enable the employee to understand what he or she is expected to do in order to be considered a performing employee. Develop a 360-degree feedback mechanism by obtaining feedback about the employee from his or her colleagues or immediate boss.

We at Crystal Recruitment make it our business to find the right talent for your company as we are a leading Recruitment Agency in Kenya. Talk to us today and let us help you find the right talent.

5 Reasons Why the Best Employees Leave Organizations

pexels-photo-1563355.jpegEvery organization takes pride in having an employee who is passionate, disciplined, industrious and keen on going the extra mile. Most organizations would want to keep such an employee for life because their performance at work is guaranteed. It often comes as a surprise when one of your best employees decides to leave the organization. While most bosses will not admit it, a notice from such an employee can be devastating news. It is common for managers to blame everything and everyone under the sun whenever a good employee leaves. A manager who is keen on learning from such an experience will take time to critically examine the reasons why his or her best employee is leaving.

If your organization is struggling to retain its best employees, here are some of the most common reasons why this might be the case:

Lack of work-rest balance

We call it work-rest balance because referring to it as work-life balance would be an indication that work is not part of life. In a quest to maintain healthy bottom lines, some organizations push their employees out of their jobs. They demand more than is humanly possible within unrealistic timelines. Even the best employees struggle to keep up with the workload as the managers demand more and more from them. A job that is supposed to be done from 8am -5pm with breaks for lunch and tea ends up becoming a twelve-hour job with no breaks. The employees barely have time to eat, interact as normal human beings or even take breaks that would enable them to acquire a new perspective on the tasks that they are handling. The overall effect of this becomes visible in their physical, social and mental well-being. An organization that treats its employees as mere “resources” without taking their well-being into account will end up losing its best employees.

Overworking employees is counterproductive. A research study carried out by Stanford University showed that the productivity of an employee decreases sharply as the working hours per week exceed 50 hours. It is important for all the leaders in an organization to create a realistic workflow that will help the organization meet its goals while ensuring that the workers are not overworked. It is equally important for line managers to learn how to respect the personal boundaries of the employees they work with. An employee does not have to be on call on weekends, holidays and after working hours unless it is utterly necessary. Organizations seeking to maintain the productivity of their employees should insist on creating a culture in which working late is not considered an indicator of good performance. This will ensure that all employees manage the tasks for the day effectively hence maintaining a healthy work-rest balance.

Failure to Tailor the Talent to the Tasks

going.pngSome of the most talented employees in organizations end up using only 10% of their potential because their talent has not been matched to their jobs. As a result of this, the best employees gradually become discontented and begin to seek other avenues where they will realize their full potential. The mismatch between an employee’s tasks and talent happens as a result of “straight line” mentality. This mentality believes that an employee who is employed in one department should stay in that department. It fails to have a comprehensive view of what the employee is good at and finding ways of providing an opportunity to make use an employee’s talent.

Lies, Lies, Lies

There are organizations that have perfected the art of dangling carrots in front of their employees. For instance, employees can be told by their manager that they will receive a bonus once a certain project has been completed or if they meet their sales target. Employees strive to attain the goal but once they do, the goal post is shifted. Then, the management of the organization provides a long, winding explanation as to why it cannot keep its promise. There are organizations that give their employees contracts that enumerate several benefits but once the employees start working for the organization, the benefits mysteriously fail to show up. Whenever an employee tries to find out why he or she is not getting the benefits as promised, the explanation that is provided is barely sufficient. An organization that lies to its employees loses credibility among its employees. This eventually demotivates the best talent and makes them leave the organization.

Unaddressed Concerns

Addressing the concerns raised by employees is an essential aspect of ensuring that the employees can trust their organization to look out for their best interests. In some organizations, leaders have created a culture in which they remain detached and unapproachable. Issues such as discrimination, unethical practices and sexual harassment can remain unaddressed in such an environment. This leads to widespread fear among the employees. Eventually, leaving the organization becomes the best option.

Poor Pay and Benefits

employee leavingAn organization does not have to offer an employee a bucket load of money in order to retain the employee. An organization just needs to work towards offering fair compensation in line with market rates for a particular type of job. Additional benefits such as flexible working hours for young mothers help in retaining an organization’s top talent. An organization that does not pay its employees on time or fails to pay after several promises is setting itself up for failure because it will eventually suffer from talent drain. It may be easy for an organization to get away with failing to compensate its employees as expected but in the long run, it ruins the organization’s reputation and has an effect on its bottom line. Employees need to know that their financial well-being is not secondary to the company’s profit. They need to see the results of their productive days become tangible benefits.

Do you need help with identifying and retaining talent in your organization? Talk to us at Crystal Recruitment, a leading talent solutions provider in Kenya.

Age is a Number, not a Sentence

One of the questions that was raised following the tragic accident involving a bus at Fort Ternan, Kericho was the age of the driver. According to reports in the newspapers, the driver of the ill-fated bus was 72 years old. He had, according to his employer, been a competent employee until then. Questions as to whether his age affected his capacity to perform his duties will remain unanswered. Every organization has to consider the age of its employees. Section 58 and 59 of the Employment Act of 2007 recognize that the minimum age for any industrial undertaking is 16 years. Most employees are required to retire by the age of 55 years but in some instances, an employee can continue working up to the age of 70 years.

As technological advances shift the nature of work, jobs are continually evolving. There are jobs such as digital asset manager which did not exist twenty years ago while there are others such as typists that have become obsolete. The ratio of Kenya’s youth to the population stands at 20.3%, which is above the world’s average of 15.8%. A 2016 World Bank report stated that the unemployment rate in Kenya among the youth stands at 17.3%.  This is higher than the unemployment rates in Uganda and Tanzania which stands at only 6%. It is against this backdrop that organizations have to find the right balance in order to attain diversity in terms of age in their organizations.

There are stereotypes that are associated with both the young and the old that do not necessarily apply to everyone in these groups. Many hiring managers consider millenials a good fit for certain roles because it is often assumed that they are “energetic,” “digital natives” and “agile learners.” These assumptions have driven a shift in terms of considering the criteria for labelling an employee as “too old.” In certain industries, anyone above the age of 40 years is considered “too old,” hence certain roles are reserved for employees below the age of 40 years. In other organizations, those who are below the age of 40 years do not stand a chance because most positions are occupied by those who are 40 years and above. Both extremes create an imbalance in the work place and stifle the rich experiences that would be created as a result of having a diverse workforce comprised of workers of different ages. Organizations can take the following active steps towards ensuring that they create a diverse workforce:

Have a talent acquisition strategy that spells out skills/background required for each role

Having a talent acquisition strategy ensures that you hire the right talent for the right job. It forecasts the organization’s need for talent in line with its growth strategy and helps in planning in advance for talent acquisition. Having such a strategy in place can help in eliminating some of the age inclined biases because the skills and background of the required talent is clearly outlined in the strategy. Some cliché words used in describing talent are regarded as ageist. For instance, “highly energetic” is regarded as a euphemism for “young”.  Avoid using such words in your strategy. Instead, focus on attributes that would make a candidate valuable regardless of their age. The talent acquisition strategy should be shared with external recruiters to ensure they understand the organization’s needs when it comes to talent.

Create interview templates that are related to candidates’ skills and work experience

A good interview should be an opportunity to delve deeper into a candidate’s competencies and work experience. All the questions that the interview panel intends to pose to the client should be geared towards ensuring that the hiring team has a clear picture of the value that the candidate would bring to an organization if given an opportunity to do so. Experience is valuable and it often comes with age but this does not mean that a candidate who does not have many years of experience would not be of value if given an opportunity to put their skills to use.

Make training opportunities available to all employees

Learning, as they often say, is the only way to avoid rusting. Training is an essential part of your organization’s growth hence it should be offered to all employees on a regular basis. Organizations often assume that they will not benefit much by offering their older employees opportunities for training since the older employees are on their way to retirement. This assumption results in a huge skills gap between the older and younger employees.  Training offers an opportunity for the older employees to share the wealth of the experience they possess with the younger employees. It offers the younger employees an opportunity to share the new developments in the field with older employees in an environment that is interactive and friendly.

There are three ages to consider according to psychologists. Which age are you focusing on?

Psychologists argue that there are three “ages.”

Chronological age is determined by one’s date of birth. It is subject to the clock and seasons on earth hence there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Biological age is determined by one’s lifestyle. A 20 year old can have the heart of a 90 year old due to bad eating habits, lack of exercise and a bad attitude towards life. A 60 year old can have the heart of a 30 year old due to proper eating habits, regular exercise and a good attitude towards life.

Psychological age is determined by how an individual views himself or herself as he/she advances in age. As Henry Ford, the American business magnate and founder of Ford Motor Company rightfully observed: Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.

Are you stuck in a rut when it comes to talent acquisition? We at Crystal Recruitment make it our business to find the right talent for your company as we are a leading Recruitment Agency in Kenya. Talk to us today and let us help you find the right talent.