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Editors picks, Opinion

Using IT to maximise key employee retention

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Peter Thompson

The loss of key employees is a painful experience for most businesses. The cost of finding a replacement, training a replacement and getting them to the same level the former employee was at is truly expensive. There is also a good chance that the new employee will never reach the successful heights of the former employee. The service industries are particularly susceptible to this pain of loss as vast volumes of intellectual property remain with the employees.

Employee retention can save you a fortune

Have you ever experienced something like this – you sit in your office expecting a good day when one of your best people walks in and says, “I have to submit my resignation because I am relocating to another city”? In most cases, that’s the end of the relationship between the company and the employee. There are no hard feelings, only a sense of loss. Sometimes this move is for personal, educational or just other reasons. But surely the company must wonder from time to time why it cannot offer an alternative offer or work arrangement.

Great employees are demanding more

Great employees are hard to come by. The chances of getting great people at a good time of their lives when they are focused and organised, knowledgeable and working in the company’s interest is tough going. And when you do find those people, the last thing you want to do is lose them. But, the thing about great people is that they are in demand. There is strong competition out there for great people. Great people know they are great at what they do and understand their value. They usually earn and deserve a serious income and are inspired to do more in their life.

To some extent, the demand for more is being driven by the blur between personal and business life. For many, life has just become a single existence where golf is business and personal items are common in the workplace. A desire to spend extended work breaks or move around isn’t unusual. Work and their personal life are forever with them. The desires of an employee to see the world and live in different locations should not be the reasons for a company to lose key employees.

The future of service industries

The same profit-driving model of keeping the best employees is also driving changes in business needs. The value of office space will certainly be questioned. For all of the strengths that an office provides, it’s also a great weakness for it in theory infers that someone cannot do their job if they are not working from the company office. Office space is also expensive.

The concept of work is changing – consider retention strategies

We tend to be conditioned in a negative sense to believe if we spend more hours at the office or work more over time that we will somehow get noticed as a better employee. But, from my own view particularly when it comes to income generators, I am not too concerned what they do as long as they reach their targets. In some ways, the same applies to the vast majority of employees. It really doesn’t make any difference how many hours someone works but in the end what is important is what he or she delivers.

Flexible systems make retaining employees possible

Access to information and applications is essential for employees being able to work effectively. This can be achieved with the implementation of a hosted private network, cloud based software applications or a combination of both.

In order to maintain the best employees, companies need to provide the best conditions and the right ones are those that provide flexibility to employees with ease. These include software systems that make it simple to access information, applications and data from a fixed location in an office, an Internet access point, in a hotel room or from home.

The process of change is complex

Culturally shifting for companies is tough because everyone is impacted in some way. The project requires expertise in planning, migration, training and care. Probably one of the most noteworthy but forgotten elements is the adoption of the employees who take time to adjust to new concepts and working methods.

Maintaining your best employee is probably one of the most important steps a company can take to protect the future. Offering accessible systems will greatly increase a business’ likelihood of catering to its best current and future people.

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About Peter Thompson

Peter Thompson
Peter Thompson founded GCOMM in 1996. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering/Information Systems from Griffith University and his MBA from Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Holland. He believes in building great teams of people, both in business and socially.
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