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Moving From Strategy to Execution
Engagement and Retention in 2013
TalentKeepers®
is a leader in providing award-winning solutions and proven results in
increasing organizational performance through employee engagement solutions, leader
development programs, on-boarding processes, standardized or customized surveys, and
other talent management strategies. TalentKeepers helps clients around the world respond
to industry and market dynamics that create uncertainty and risk by leveraging leaders
and your organization’s talent. Let us help you build a culture that keeps your best talent,
boosts productivity, and delivers outstanding performance.
Please direct questions, comments, and press inquiries to solutions@talentkeepers.com.
Visit our website at www.TalentKeepers.com, or call us at 407.660.6041.
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of this report in whole or in part
is allowed without prior written approval of TalentKeepers. TalentKeepers and the TalentKeepers logo are
trademarks of TalentKeepers, Inc.
Table of Contents
Executive Summary
I. 	 Commit, Engage, Excel...................................................................................2
II. 	 A Slowly Rising Tide......................................................................................3
III. 	Moving From Strategy to Execution.................................................................5
IV. 	Retention Resurfaces......................................................................................8
V. 	 What’s Working, What’s Not......................................................................... 11
VI. 	Emerging Targets.......................................................................................... 15
VII. 	Increasing Your Impact: Strategies for 2013.................................................... 19
Appendix
I. 	 Research Methodology and Respondent Details............................................. 21
II. 	 Index of Figures........................................................................................... 22
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved.
The 9th Annual Employee Engagement and Retention Trends
Research Report by TalentKeepers
®
Executive Summary
Many of the assumptions that guided the beliefs and strategies for talent management prior
to the economic doldrums were based largely on the availability of an expanding and
better-educated talent pool. Those assumptions changed dramatically by 2009 when the so-
called “Great Recession” deepened, prompting major shifts in nearly every aspect of how
organizations managed human resources.
The 2013 edition of TalentKeepers’ annual research on employee engagement and retention
signals another shift is underway, and finally this time the shift is signaling a brighter outlook.
This optimism shows up in a wide range of measures as organizations gain confidence and
take a longer view in planning their talent strategies.
Viewed broadly, the trends are clear. For example, in the four year period from 2010 to 2013:
•	 Organizations reporting significant layoffs or employee downsizing dropped from 43% in
2010 to 21% in 2013
•	 Urgency in making changes in major business practices declined significantly, and broad
changes in business strategy have steadily slowed being replaced with a greater focus on
execution
•	 Fundamental human resources practices such as compensation and benefits have largely
stabilized, with just 18% planning significant changes, down from 31% in 2010.
This year’s study also highlights a more significant trend. Employee engagement and talent
retention are becoming more embedded as a core talent management practice and, more
importantly, an integral business strategy. For the first time, over 30% of the respondents are
operations executives, from sales and service to finance and manufacturing. Sixty-five percent
of all organizations now budget for engagement initiatives and another 18% are considering
formal budgets for it.
A “Best in Class” group, representing the top 10% of all organizations, is highlighted for
the first time in this year’s report. These firms have executed strategies and practices that
achieve high performance through people that can serve as models and benchmarks. They
dedicate resources, execute impactful processes and hold leaders accountable at all levels for
energizing their teams and retaining them longer. And they get results.
Welcome to the 9th Annual TalentKeepers Talent Engagement and Retention Trends report,
now the largest and longest running study of its kind.
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 1
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 2
Commit, Engage, Excel.I
The purpose of this report is to empower you with knowledge and insight on the latest trends,
strategies and practices in employee engagement and retention. There is a lot of good news to
report, several clear shifts in strategy and, yes, some areas where organizations are failing to
keep pace with changes in both the larger labor market and makeup of today’s workforce.
In 2013, for the first time, over 80% of US firms have budgeted funds for engagement and
retention or are considering doing so. It’s now widely understood that engaged employees
bring discretionary effort to the job, connect well with their leader and role, and are a
major asset in achieving business goals. Despite the recession, there were organizations that
maintained efforts to keep employees engaged. This was no easy task as budgets shrank,
customers dwindled and co-workers were let go.
Retention, for its part, is making a comeback. National unemployment statistics mask a
key problem. While the overall supply of qualified workers appears to exceed demand in a
wide array of industries, jobs and locations, the match between viable candidates and open
positions is, if anything, widening. This scenario has prompted companies to re-energize
efforts to retain valued contributors.
Best in Class
This year’s report includes data for a select group, the top 10% of all organizations that lead
the way in commitment, focus and results. They keep their employees engaged in their jobs
and create a culture where employees want to stay with them in spite of options elsewhere. As
benchmarks, we will highlight specific things they consistently do well and from which others
can learn.
Engagement and retention have become more firmly rooted in talent management practices,
but, like all practices, continue to evolve. Our goal with this report is to arm you with valuable
information and ideas that will help shape effective strategies for your organization and, most
importantly, increase your positive impact on the business and people who work there.
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 4
A Slowly Rising TideII
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 3
A Slowly Rising TideII
Every economic recovery presents an opportunity to seize momentum and become stronger
and more successful. Broad trends in the US demonstrate that the timing may be right to
re-energize and fund strategies that drive engagement and retention.
Comparing the last four years on a number of bellwether issues (Figure 1), stabilization is
the trend in key areas, including business strategy, business practices and, most significantly,
labor trends. In 2010, 43% of US organizations were making major moves in their workforce,
at times in a helter-skelter fashion with jarring results, as they sought solutions in an unstable
environment. That’s largely passed, with the number now down to 21% in 2013. Even
compensation practices, perhaps the most fundamental talent management function, are
stabilizing with only 18% making major adjustments, well below the 31% in 2010.
Fig. 1
Each month’s employment data from the Labor Department is a look in the rear-view mirror.
On any given month, the news falls somewhere between optimistic to a little disappointing.
Rather than dwell on last
month’s data, of greater interest
to readers of this report is a
longer range view. HR strategies
targeting engagement and
retention require planning and
execution over time.
For 2013, the news is decidedly
optimistic. Eighty-one percent
of companies expect to add to
their staff this year, or minimally,
remain at their current level,
replacing people who leave.
At the very heart of these
strategies is the impact
an engaged, experienced
workforce has on everything
from business performance
to customer satisfaction.
Perhaps even more significantly, employee behavior impacts a company’s brand. As a simple
example, consider a retail business. An employee’s workplace experience, and therefore level
of engagement, directly impacts the customer experience. This relationship drives a range
of customer behaviors including intent to return, spend per visit and likelihood they will
recommend the business to others.
In Figure 3, respondents
compared the performance
of engaged employees to
that of disengaged workers.
A high of 87% reported
higher productivity. And
this is across all types of
industries and roles. The
essential point here is that
regardless of the business
unit, job or industry, from
manufacturing to hospitality
or engineering to healthcare,
engagement has a direct
impact on the probability
that a team, department
or business will achieve
its goals.
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 4
A Slowly Rising Tide (continued)II
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 5
Moving From Strategy to ExecutionIII
After nine years, one trend we are happy to report is that now over two-thirds of US employers
position engagement and retention as a strategic priority. This is good news for employees and
employers. When there is a dedicated effort and committed resources to make the workplace a
positive, supportive environment, where trust trumps suspicion and collaboration is the norm,
good things happen.
This section of the report demonstrates that organizations of all kinds have moved beyond
evaluating whether or not engagement and retention are initiatives that warrant meaningful
funding and accountability, and on to sustained execution.
Best in Class
For 2013, a group of organizations stood out in a number of ways. Digging deeper, we
observed a pattern of strategies and results that led us to identify them as “Best in Class”. These
organizations represent the top 10% of all companies and provide a benchmark for talent
management practitioners.
Their ability to measurably improve performance through engagement practices was a key.
Retaining high performers and Gen Y employees, broadening leadership involvement in these
initiatives and establishing metrics to assess the impact of engagement are just a few of the
things that warranted Best in Class status.
Throughout this report, we will highlight the Best in Class group and how they approach talent
management.
When asked if employee engagement and retention is a strategic priority, responses improved
year over year to over 82%, the highest level in nearly a decade of our research. (Figure 4).
Employee engagement is an even greater priority for Best in Class organizations. Figure 5
shows that 100% of this group views employees as a strategic asset which is a fundamental
precondition to achieving improved business results through people. Furthermore, it is a
critical step that provided impetus for planning, funding and implementing specific strategies. 
For the Best in Class, below, twice as many organizations make this a top priority.
Fig. 4 Fig. 5
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 6
Fig. 6
Management 101 taught us that with responsibility there also must be accountability. A strong
indicator that engagement and retention are more embedded in ongoing leadership practices
is the shared accountability from top to bottom of leadership ranks. (Figure 6)
In addition to shared
accountability, a number of
organizations set specific
retention goals for leaders at all
levels, a practice we advocate,
and tie a commensurate portion
of executive bonuses and
incentives to goal attainment.
In today’s belt-tightened world,
it’s nearly a given that the
likelihood of implementing
an initiative that lacks funding
has about the same odds as
winning the lottery. What gets
funded (usually) gets done.
Funding for engagement
has steadily risen and now a
clear majority budget funds
for engagement. For the Best
in Class, every one reported
formal budget funding. (Figure 7)
On Strategy: Broadened,
senior level involvement
and accountability and the
institutionalization of funding
are linked in an important
way, invariably leading to the
expectation that an investment
of time, effort and money
is only justified based on
improved business metrics.
These are the “three legs of
the stool” that form a solid
foundation for building a
sustainable culture that fuels
engagement and engenders
retention.
Fig. 7
Moving From Strategy to Execution
(continued)
III
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 7
Establishing metrics that demonstrate the success of an engagement effort can be challenging.
This requires cross-functional support (and perhaps some political capital) to get organized
and agreed on. But data will be your best friend when it comes time to report the value and
benefit to the organization. Figures 8 and 9 clearly demonstrate the connection between
winning during budget season and the stipulation that you will measure and report the
outcome during the year.
Simply put, get your leaders actively
involved, recruit them to help sell your
budget and set up at least basic metrics
that demonstrate progress. As a Best in
Class practice, these three things more
than any others validate that engagement
and retention have moved beyond the
formulation stage and into execution
as a talent management practice area.
(Figure 10)
One of the more subtle but important
trends for 2013 is the resurfacing of
retention as an organizational priority.
As the economy stabilizes, organizations
have an outlook of confidence and
growth as opposed to survival. The same viewpoint cascades down to the individual level
where more employees, especially high performers, are no longer content with the status quo.
Fig. 8
Fig. 9 Fig. 10
Moving From Strategy to Execution
(continued)
III
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 8
Retention ResurfacesIV
Employees have been waiting patiently for options and 2013 may be their time, as 59% of
organizations expect job and career factors to be the main reason employees leave this year,
an 11% increase from 2012. (Figure 11) Fortunately, as noted earlier, 100% of Best in Class
organizations and 85% of all others have made employee retention a strategic priority, which
is the first step in combating attrition.
Making retention a priority
is important, but the large
majority has overlooked
a vital metric in the fight
to win internal support
to retain employees – the
cost of turnover. This is
powerful and relevant data
in building the foundation
for leadership involvement,
garnering budget dollars for
interventions and reporting
return-on-investment.
Only 17% of organizations
know the direct cost
of attrition for frontline
employees. Just as
surprising, only 9% of
organizations know
attrition’s indirect costs,
which typically are more
expensive and include lost sales, poor customer service, project delays, increased safety
violations and an array of job/company variables. To effectively implement any strategy, the
cost of the problem must be known to
understand its magnitude, set realistic
measures of success and track
progress. For retention specifically,
the big area of opportunity is
determining the cost of attrition for
key roles and making that cost a
regularly monitored business metric.
(Don't know your cost of turnover?
The most widely used turnover cost
calculator can be found at www.
talentkeepers.com. Check Research/
Cost Calculator.)
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 9
Retention Resurfaces (continued)IV
Fig. 13
Early Turnover
It is well understood that attrition can and does occur with varying frequency at different
points in the employee lifecycle. Determining these high-risk points - time periods of
employment where employees
are most likely to leave the
organization – can help build
period-specific tactics. By
tracking when employees are
most apt to leave, organizations
can determine why employees
are leaving. This information
provides a guide for critical
attrition time periods and
instruction on developing
interventions to uniquely
address each time period.
A perhaps surprising statistic is
that the majority of all attrition,
52%, occurs, on average, in
the first year of employment.
Year one attrition peaks right
around the 12-month mark
at 27%. Ineffective selection
and onboarding processes
contribute to this early attrition
spike. Poor fit based on the skills required (37%) and missed expectations on job duties and
work schedules (30%) lead the way for reasons why. (Figure 13)
Improving retention in the first year can add big savings. When a new employee shows up
for the first day, that person represents pure cost and a lot of potential. A time-to-productivity
analysis, usually done by job category, can give you an indication of when that employee’s
productivity has increased to a point where their contribution exceeds their cost. For example,
if threshold productivity occurs on average at the 6 month mark, anyone who leaves with less
time on the job is, to some degree, a financial loss.
In order to manage the turnover spike at one year, retention-based strategies must focus on
selecting the right people and effectively onboarding them so they commit and engage to
the organization within the first year. This is especially important as half of the organizations
surveyed expect growth in their labor forecast for 2013.
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 10
Retention Resurfaces (continued)IV
The Three Year Itch
After the first year of employment, the next tipping point for 54% of organizations is the three
year mark. (Figure 14) Research shows that the main reason employees leave then is a lack of
upward career advancement opportunities (50%), an increase of 7% from 2012. Plus, 21% of
organizations cite a lack of career growth experiences as a reason for the increase in attrition.
(Figure 15)
Although advancement and growth are primary concerns for those at the three year mark,
starting a career growth conversation now is likely too late. Discussions with new employees
about career preferences and aspirations need to start early on, at best during the onboarding
process. This helps leaders manage employee expectations, gives employees themselves a
realistic understanding of available options, and starting this process early is one more way to
build trust, open communication and engagement with new and experienced employees.
On Strategy: As retention resurfaces, organizations should be prepared with the cost of
attrition, retention tipping points and the reasons employees choose to leave. Gathering
this kind of information is a fundamental element of good employee surveys and should be
gathered at least twice a year and reported to all leaders at all levels. Together, those three
metrics provide critical elements of a roadmap for developing retention strategies that have the
makings for success.
But there’s a caution in the data: Going from strategic priority to implementation poses a new
set of obstacles in the effort to not only retain, but engage employees.
Fig. 14 Fig. 15
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 11
What’s Working, What’s NotV
The good news for 2013 is that organizations are viewing engagement and retention efforts
as a strategic priority. The bad news is that many of those strategies are not perceived as very
effective when translated to an operational reality. In turn, the ability for employees to excel in
their roles is hindered. Two of the most concerning issues are the ability to fully leverage job
and career factors and leadership factors.
While job and career factors are the number one reason employees will leave in 2013, 56% of
organizations are not at all effective or only slightly effective at turning whatever options they
do have into a retention tactic. Unfortunately, organizations have gotten worse at leveraging
job and career factors, with only 5% stating they are "very effective" compared to 15% in
2012. (Figure 16) Given the improving job market, organizations need to focus creative energy
on how to position with employees whatever future opportunities may exist, both long and
short term. Not doing so will likely lead to the loss of some valued contributors.
Fig. 16
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 12
What’s Working, What’s Not
(continued)
V
What can organizations do to improve their job and career strategies? Based on an analysis
of verbatim comments in the 2013 survey, 52% cite career pathing as the key, followed
by training and development at 28%.  These two areas closely align, given the path to
advancement often includes training
and development on the skills required
to advance in an organization.
The concept of a “career lattice” also
arose, which can be a helpful way
for people to understand that today’s
reality is that careers and “careering”
more often than not take a circuitous
path.
On Strategy: It’s worth a reminder here
that retention of high performers, for
example, is not necessarily to keep
them forever. The goal is to extend
their length of stay as long as they
add high value. If a high performer
stays one year longer than he or
she might have otherwise stayed,
for some additional training, for
example, that’s one full year of high
value productivity for the company.
That matters. Career pathing and
development strategies don’t have
to be, and should not be, focused
only on long time horizons. They are
designed to keep people longer.
The Impact of Leadership
Leaders and their approach to leading
directly affect employees’ perceptions
of other organizational factors, such as
job and career, compensation, culture,
teamwork and more. Data show
that an improvement in leadership
strategies will have the greatest impact
on employee engagement, as reported
by 44% of organizations. (Figure 18)
There is room for improvement as leadership factors are “very effectively” leveraged by only
11% of organizations, the same percentage as 2012. Furthermore, those who are not at all
effective or only slightly effective at leveraging leaders to drive engagement and retention
comprise nearly half of the organizations surveyed at 45%. (Figure 16)
Fig. 18
Fig. 17
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 13
What’s Working, What’s Not
(continued)
V
On Strategy: Communication, at 31%, is the highest ranked leadership factor that, if
improved, would have the greatest impact on engagement and retention. It is what builds
or breaks trust, shapes opinions and beliefs about the company, and creates optimism and
pride. Leaders are the face of the company for most employees. TalentKeepers’ research has
proven that leaders, and how they lead, have more influence on engagement and retention
than any other single factor. Communicating with transparency, sharing information, having
open discussions about careers and avoidance of “blaming up” by taking responsibility for
organizational decisions all make a big difference.
According to 24% of
organizations, training
and developing
leaders will have the
second greatest impact
on engagement and
retention. (Figure
19) Aligned with the
need for improved
communication,
soft skills are an
area of focus for
leadership training.
The management of
people, including
delegation, coaching
and the willingness
to lead are other
“hot topics” for
development.
Current Practices to
Engage and Retain
What specific strategies are organizations planning to use in 2013?  Onboarding is the most
frequently cited strategy at 54%. (Figure 20) This is a positive trend considering organizations
only have one chance to make a lasting first impression and create a sense of commitment
from the employee. Research has shown that an effective onboarding strategy provides new
hires with consistency and opportunities for relationship building.
A specific strategy that creates consistency and relationship building is the Retention
Roadmap™. A roadmap process provides a similar onboarding experience for each new hire
and clearly outlines the responsibilities of stakeholders in the process. The strategy typically
outlines the first 90 days of employment with “touch points”, or scheduled events, with the
new hire, for each stakeholder group, such as recruiting, training, operations and executives.
The roadmap provides consistency and opportunities for the new hire to build relationships
throughout the organization.
Fig.19
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 14
What’s Working, What’s Not
(continued)
V
Fig. 20
On Strategy: The use of anonymous employee engagement surveys (44%) is key strategy
organizations plan to use in 2013. (Figure 20) Well-executed surveys provide current, relevant
and actionable data that guides planning and implementation. However, if done poorly or
incorrectly they can have the opposite effect. Best in Class organizations don’t simply conduct
a survey in a vacuum. They use surveys as part of an integrated, structured system of gathering
data, reporting results to all key stakeholders, including frontline leaders sharing applicable
information with all employees, requiring action plans and accountability tied to the results,
and repeating the cycle to measure progress.
Another commonly missed
opportunity is the analysis of
sub-groups based on attributes
that are vital to organizational
success, such as high performers or
specific groups like Gen Y employees.
Sub-groupings help to identify
strategies that will increase the
organization’s ability to engage and
retain the most crucial “talent targets”
and help them excel.
One major component of an
effective survey system is consistent
implementation. Building momentum
is imperative to creating sustained
positive change. The Best in Class
understand the importance of
regularly listening to the "Voice
of the Employee." 100% of Best
in Class organizations conduct
surveys at least once a year, a
large contrast to 35% of remaining
organizations. A common misstep
is taking a “one and done”
approach. (Figure 21)
Fig. 21
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 15
Emerging TargetsVI
Fig. 22
Strategies geared toward affecting the organization as a whole certainly can be effective.
However, broad-based initiatives may be less successful with engaging select groups that
represent important current
or future contributors.
Specific groups have different
motivations, work styles, job/
career aspirations; catering
engagement and retention
efforts to fit those groups may
prove beneficial for these
“talent targets.”
Two important targets are
worth singling out based on
the research. High performers,
those highly valued consistent
contributors are one, and
members of Generation Y,
the future of our workforce,
being the other. Organizations
that have strategies in place
to engage and retain these
individuals will have a distinct
advantage in competing for
top talent in today’s labor pool.
With the economy recovering
and more employees seeking jobs that match their skills and interests, in addition to providing
a steady paycheck, retention of these groups is a key piece of the performance puzzle.
Excel by Engaging High-Performers
High performers add value in a variety of ways. Often exceeding performance expectations
and goals, they motivate and support those around them while contributing to a positive
culture. They can improve the functionality of teams as a whole and can help to diagnose
or even solve performance issues in low-performers. Often this group of employees offers
personalized feedback to colleagues, models commitment and serves as an example of what it
means to excel for other team members.
Budgeting funds for employee engagement and retention is the first step to keeping an
organization strong and performing at its peak. Of the organizations stating that they have
allocated money in their 2013 budget to support employee engagement, 82% rate their
organization as at least moderately effective at retaining high-performers. This is considerably
higher than the 67% of organizations rating themselves this way that have not budgeted for
employee engagement. (Figure 22)
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 16
Emerging Targets (continued)VI
A sound investment is expected to provide a positive return. For the Best in Class, 70%
report having a strategy in place specifically for engaging and retaining high performers and
their results illustrate the benefit. (Figure 23) This effort shows, with 100% of Best in Class
organizations rating their organization as at least moderately effective at retaining their best
contributors, with 35% rating their organization as Very Effective. (Figure 24)
High-performers often are recognized and reinforced for their contributions, but having an
effective engagement strategy targeted specifically for them will go far in keeping this high-
value group delivering results for your organization instead of somewhere else.
Welcoming Generation Y
Tech savvy, energetic, socially conscious and hard-working, Generation Y is the largest
generation in American history. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in less than a decade
they will make up about half of the working-age population in the United States. Today they
make up about 26% of the workforce, and have a strong, pent-up desire to either get started or
get on with their careers.
This generation, commonly referred to as Millennials, comes with its own styles and
preferences that may prove difficult for leaders who are not prepared for the change.
Generation Y tends to require precise instruction, frequent feedback and coaching , check-ins
and praise, and transparency in communication. These work styles are at odds with some of
the more traditional leadership styles and workplace cultures.
Fig. 23 Fig. 24
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 17
Emerging Targets (continued)VI
The confluence of multiple generations in today’s workforce makes it easy to see that knowing
how to adapt leadership techniques to suit specific generations is a highly valuable leadership
skill. When asked if their leaders are challenged by leading employees of different generations,
a surprising 76% of the survey respondents agreed. This is a leadership trend heading in the
wrong direction, with 65% agreement in 2012 and only 39% in 2011. (Figure 25) Gen Y is
likely the complicating factor and their entry into the world of work is quickly growing.
On Strategy: A manager well-trained in dealing with Generation Y knows the importance
of adapting management practices to allow these team members to work hard and achieve
their goals without sacrificing established practices of the organization. These managers show
concern for the wellbeing of their team by allowing millennials to learn while they work,
challenging them with work they find interesting, incorporating the use of new technology in
their tasks, and using familiar language to make these members feel comfortable.
Generation Y employees are very much aware of their career aspirations and opportunities, yet
those aspirations don’t always fit common career paths. Leaders of Generation Y employees
need to be informed of career and job information and proactive but realistic when it comes
to helping Gen Y evaluate personal career goals and how to achieve them. Adaptation and
flexibility will be required on both sides of the career equation as this generation floods the
workplace.
Fig. 25
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 18
Emerging Targets (continued)VI
Fig. 26
Why Tailor Your Efforts?
With the well-documented challenges that arise with this group of employees, it’s reasonable to
expect that training on how to manage employees of different generations would be standard
practice. Not so. When asked if their leaders have been trained to manage Generation Y
employees, 72% of organizations
provide no training of this type.
(Figure 26) When considering the
effectiveness of simply having
engagement strategies in place,
this is an issue where organizations
could easily see improvement by
implementing training to prepare
their leaders.
This is even more surprising when
you consider that most leaders
today belong to a group other
than Generation Y. Effective and
meaningful interactions between
a leader and an employee
facilitates the sharing of skills and
organizational knowledge, creates
stronger commitment for both
parties, and promotes engagement.
These are vital things to
consider as they advance in
the organization. Figure 27
demonstrates how important
frequent, formal dialog is to
keeping employees engaged.
The case for targeting specific
groups, referred to as role
segmentation, is embodied in
the understanding that not all
employees and groups add
the same value in achieving
business goals. Specialization
of strategies to match specific
groups like high performers
and Generation Y can give an
organization the edge it needs
to excel in the ever-changing,
ever-competitive world.
Fig. 27
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 19
Increase Your Impact: Strategies
and Recommendations
VII
This year’s theme, Moving from Strategy to Execution, emerged from the survey data. It
became clear that organizations believe the time is right to capitalize on what’s been learned
over the last few years and seize some momentum, and try to get out in front of the inevitable
churn.
There is a lot of good news in this year’s report. Riding the economy, employment has steadily
improved (albeit not evenly spread), budgets for talent management are rebounding, optimism
is growing and engagement/retention is on the minds of senior executives. Talent management
largely has arrived as a core strategy for most organizations, with the value of an engaged
employee, the one who also sticks with you, is now widely embraced.
Employee engagement and retention is good business. Like any major business practice,
getting leaders and executives engaged and accountable is important for a sustained effort to
strengthen your culture. Start with advocates to build a strong base and focus on these three
strategies work in harmony:
Leader Involvement: Actively engage leaders and executives at all levels and hold each•	
accountable through specific goals
Formal Budget: Leverage senior leaders to ensure engagement and retention strategies are•	
formally budgeted
Performance Metrics: Determine a small number of business and/or operations metrics that•	
demonstrate the impact of a more engaged workforce that stays with the company longer.
These can be sales, service, safety, productivity, or whatever measures for your workplace
that are key performance indicators.
Recommendations
Isolating the Best in Class group took us beyond simply highlighting generalizable “best
practices.” Now, we were able to determine an array of strategies and tactics that, when
executed systematically, greatly increase the likelihood of achieving the targeted outcomes.
There is synergy among particular strategies that warrants close attention when planning your
next steps.
Here are seven strategies and tactics we learned from the Best in Class.
Size the Problem1.	 by calculating the cost of poor performance and low engagement; know
the attrition rates for target positions and determine the direct and indirect costs to build
the business case for action
Actively Engage Senior Executives2.	 to drive accountability for engagement and retention in
all levels of leadership
Work from Data3.	 through internal metrics and well-designed employee surveys which yield
highly valuable data and make sense for your organization and culture, and will resonate
with executives in your company; hold stakeholders accountable for improving key
engagement metrics just as you do sales, service and productivity metrics
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 20
Increase Your Impact: Strategies
and Recommendations (continued)
VII
Link Engagement and Retention Metrics to Business Results4.	 to build sustainability and to
negotiate for resources; recruit accounting or other internal support teams to develop a
small number of metrics that everyone can agree on
Educate Leaders5.	 on the value of engagement and retention, their strong influence on their
individual team members and overall teams, and develop their engagement skills
Target Your Best Performers6.	 to keep them motivated and productive, and retained; talent
strengthens your culture, fuels team performance and ensures results
Focus on High-Impact Areas7.	 including onboarding, job/career discussions, strong
relationships with leaders and co-workers
A Final Lesson from the Best in Class
As you read this report, many or maybe most of the strategies and tactics described to engage
and retain talent are things you are doing, planning to do or are considering. That’s all good.
Selecting the right set of initiatives that fit your organization, culture and business environment
is essential.
Yet, the most important lesson we can learn from the Best in Class has less to do with selecting
strategies and everything to do with systematic, sustained execution over time. This is the hard
part. Building and strengthening an engaged culture where retention is the norm is a process
that requires a well-grounded foundation and continuous reinforcement over time. Meaningful
cost savings and performance gains require vision and tenacity. And those attributes will take
you well down the road to best in class results.
Appendix
2013 Survey Respondent Metrics
This study details the responses from both operations and HR executives representing 618
organizations from 22 industries. Company size is spread almost equally between large (5000
employees or more), medium (500-5000) and small (25-500) organizations. A detailed breakout
of the industries and respondents included in the study are summarized below. (Figure 28)
“Operations,” including finance, services,
sales, logistics and other non-HR roles, is
taking a greater role in engagement and
retention issues, representing over 30% of
the survey respondents. (Figure 29)
Over 60% of the respondents have
Director, VP or above titles, another
signal of greater interest in talent
management strategies, particularly those
that impact business results. (Figure 30)
 
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 21
Fig. 28
Fig. 30
Fig. 29
Appendix
Figure Index
Figure 1: 	 Organizations are Stabilizing as the Economy Improves
Figure 2: 	 2013 Forecast for Labor Growth
Figure 3: 	 Engaged Employees in Our Organization, When Compared to Disengaged Employees
Figure 4:   	Employee Engagement is a Strategic Priority for My Organization
Figure 5: 	 For Best In Class, the Strategic Priority is Clear
Figure 6: 	 Who is Accountable for Employee Engagement and Retention?
Figure 7: 	A Majority Now Budget Funds and Resources to Support Engagement Initiatives in 2013
Figure 8: 	Best In Class Makes the Budget Commitment
Figure 9: 	Do You Link Engagement Metrics to Performance and Profitability?
Figure 10: Linking Engagement Metrics is a Best In Class Standard
Figure 11: Why are People Leaving? Job and Career are Rising in Importance
Figure 12: Do you know the cost of attrition and lack of engagement for your organization?
Figure 13: 	The Biggest Reasons New Hires Leave Organizations within the First 12 Months
Figure 14: 	Attrition After One Year of Employment: High Risk at 3 Years
Figure 15: 	The Biggest Reasons Employees with More Than One Year of Tenure Leave
Figure 16: 	How effective is your organization at leveraging the following Employee Engagement Factors?
Figure 17: 	If Improved, What Can Organizations Do to Positively Impact Job and 	 	 	 	
	 Career Issues in 2013?
Figure 18:	 If Improved, Leadership Strategies Would Have the Greatest Impact on Employee Engagement
Figure 19: 	What Should Leaders Do to Have the Greatest Impact on Engagement and Retention?
Figure 20: 	Most Frequently Cited Practices for 2013 to Engage and Retain Talent
Figure 21: 	Employee Engagement Surveys are Administered at Least Once a Year
Figure 22: 	How Effective is Your Organization at Retaining High Performing Employees?
Figure 23: 	Best in Class: Strategies are in Place to Engage and Retain High Performers
Figure 24: 	Best in Class are More Effective at Retaining High Performing Employees
Figure 25: 	Are Your Leaders Challenged When it Comes to Leading Employees of Different Generations?
Figure 26: 	But, Few Leaders Are Being Trained to Manage Generation Y Employees
Figure 27:	 Excluding Performance Reviews, How Often do Planned Meetings to Discuss
	 Engagement Occur
Figure 28:	 Participating Industries
Figure 29:	 Job Function of Survey Respondents
Figure 30:	 Job Roles of Survey Respondents
Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 22
Commit. Engage. Excel.
TalentKeepers®
offers proven, award-winning employee engagement and retention
solutions that span the employee performance continuum. From igniting engagement
during on-boarding and creating an energized culture that promotes high performance, to
comprehensive employee and leader survey and development tools, we will help you create a
thriving culture built on mutual trust and collaboration.
Here are some of our award-winning products and services:
•	 TalentWatch®
: TalentWatch is a structured employee engagement system that includes
custom surveys, detailed analyses, reporting by user-defined attributes, a dynamic
executive dashboard, online action planning and much more.
•	 OnBoard Connection®
: A unique and highly successful employee engagement tool
designed to engage new employees and build strong commitment to their new leader and
your organization.
•	 Handshake Connection®
: Strengthen the relationship between your leaders and their
team members with this simple yet powerful employee engagement tool designed to open
communication and build trust between leaders and their employees.
•	 Co-Worker Connection: Support and mutual respect among co-workers is critical to
creating and maintaining an engaged workforce. Co-worker connection promotes mutual
understanding and open communication among team members.
•	 Leadership Development Series: A comprehensive engagement and retention leadership
skills development program that included 11 topics and won HR Executive Magazine’s Top
Training Product of the Year Award
Increase your impact. Call or email us today.
407.660.6041 ext. 124 Solutions@TalentKeepers.com
www.TalentKeepers.com
Employee Engagement | Employee Retention | Onboarding | Leader Training | Employee Lifecycle Surveys | Exit Surveys | Research
407.660.6041 Solutions@TalentKeepers.com
www.TalentKeepers.com
Commit. Engage. Excel.
SM
Three words.They capture the essence of employee engagement and the intent of every engagement and
retention strategy. For more than a decade TalentKeepers has been helping organizations and winning awards
with solutions that ignite engagement, boost retention and improve business results.
Increase your impact. Energize your engagement and retention efforts. Contact us today.

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2013 Engagement and Retention in 2013 by TalentKeepers

  • 1. Moving From Strategy to Execution Engagement and Retention in 2013
  • 2. TalentKeepers® is a leader in providing award-winning solutions and proven results in increasing organizational performance through employee engagement solutions, leader development programs, on-boarding processes, standardized or customized surveys, and other talent management strategies. TalentKeepers helps clients around the world respond to industry and market dynamics that create uncertainty and risk by leveraging leaders and your organization’s talent. Let us help you build a culture that keeps your best talent, boosts productivity, and delivers outstanding performance. Please direct questions, comments, and press inquiries to solutions@talentkeepers.com. Visit our website at www.TalentKeepers.com, or call us at 407.660.6041. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of this report in whole or in part is allowed without prior written approval of TalentKeepers. TalentKeepers and the TalentKeepers logo are trademarks of TalentKeepers, Inc.
  • 3. Table of Contents Executive Summary I. Commit, Engage, Excel...................................................................................2 II. A Slowly Rising Tide......................................................................................3 III. Moving From Strategy to Execution.................................................................5 IV. Retention Resurfaces......................................................................................8 V. What’s Working, What’s Not......................................................................... 11 VI. Emerging Targets.......................................................................................... 15 VII. Increasing Your Impact: Strategies for 2013.................................................... 19 Appendix I. Research Methodology and Respondent Details............................................. 21 II. Index of Figures........................................................................................... 22 Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. The 9th Annual Employee Engagement and Retention Trends Research Report by TalentKeepers ®
  • 4. Executive Summary Many of the assumptions that guided the beliefs and strategies for talent management prior to the economic doldrums were based largely on the availability of an expanding and better-educated talent pool. Those assumptions changed dramatically by 2009 when the so- called “Great Recession” deepened, prompting major shifts in nearly every aspect of how organizations managed human resources. The 2013 edition of TalentKeepers’ annual research on employee engagement and retention signals another shift is underway, and finally this time the shift is signaling a brighter outlook. This optimism shows up in a wide range of measures as organizations gain confidence and take a longer view in planning their talent strategies. Viewed broadly, the trends are clear. For example, in the four year period from 2010 to 2013: • Organizations reporting significant layoffs or employee downsizing dropped from 43% in 2010 to 21% in 2013 • Urgency in making changes in major business practices declined significantly, and broad changes in business strategy have steadily slowed being replaced with a greater focus on execution • Fundamental human resources practices such as compensation and benefits have largely stabilized, with just 18% planning significant changes, down from 31% in 2010. This year’s study also highlights a more significant trend. Employee engagement and talent retention are becoming more embedded as a core talent management practice and, more importantly, an integral business strategy. For the first time, over 30% of the respondents are operations executives, from sales and service to finance and manufacturing. Sixty-five percent of all organizations now budget for engagement initiatives and another 18% are considering formal budgets for it. A “Best in Class” group, representing the top 10% of all organizations, is highlighted for the first time in this year’s report. These firms have executed strategies and practices that achieve high performance through people that can serve as models and benchmarks. They dedicate resources, execute impactful processes and hold leaders accountable at all levels for energizing their teams and retaining them longer. And they get results. Welcome to the 9th Annual TalentKeepers Talent Engagement and Retention Trends report, now the largest and longest running study of its kind. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 1
  • 5. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 2 Commit, Engage, Excel.I The purpose of this report is to empower you with knowledge and insight on the latest trends, strategies and practices in employee engagement and retention. There is a lot of good news to report, several clear shifts in strategy and, yes, some areas where organizations are failing to keep pace with changes in both the larger labor market and makeup of today’s workforce. In 2013, for the first time, over 80% of US firms have budgeted funds for engagement and retention or are considering doing so. It’s now widely understood that engaged employees bring discretionary effort to the job, connect well with their leader and role, and are a major asset in achieving business goals. Despite the recession, there were organizations that maintained efforts to keep employees engaged. This was no easy task as budgets shrank, customers dwindled and co-workers were let go. Retention, for its part, is making a comeback. National unemployment statistics mask a key problem. While the overall supply of qualified workers appears to exceed demand in a wide array of industries, jobs and locations, the match between viable candidates and open positions is, if anything, widening. This scenario has prompted companies to re-energize efforts to retain valued contributors. Best in Class This year’s report includes data for a select group, the top 10% of all organizations that lead the way in commitment, focus and results. They keep their employees engaged in their jobs and create a culture where employees want to stay with them in spite of options elsewhere. As benchmarks, we will highlight specific things they consistently do well and from which others can learn. Engagement and retention have become more firmly rooted in talent management practices, but, like all practices, continue to evolve. Our goal with this report is to arm you with valuable information and ideas that will help shape effective strategies for your organization and, most importantly, increase your positive impact on the business and people who work there.
  • 6. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 4 A Slowly Rising TideII Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 3 A Slowly Rising TideII Every economic recovery presents an opportunity to seize momentum and become stronger and more successful. Broad trends in the US demonstrate that the timing may be right to re-energize and fund strategies that drive engagement and retention. Comparing the last four years on a number of bellwether issues (Figure 1), stabilization is the trend in key areas, including business strategy, business practices and, most significantly, labor trends. In 2010, 43% of US organizations were making major moves in their workforce, at times in a helter-skelter fashion with jarring results, as they sought solutions in an unstable environment. That’s largely passed, with the number now down to 21% in 2013. Even compensation practices, perhaps the most fundamental talent management function, are stabilizing with only 18% making major adjustments, well below the 31% in 2010. Fig. 1
  • 7. Each month’s employment data from the Labor Department is a look in the rear-view mirror. On any given month, the news falls somewhere between optimistic to a little disappointing. Rather than dwell on last month’s data, of greater interest to readers of this report is a longer range view. HR strategies targeting engagement and retention require planning and execution over time. For 2013, the news is decidedly optimistic. Eighty-one percent of companies expect to add to their staff this year, or minimally, remain at their current level, replacing people who leave. At the very heart of these strategies is the impact an engaged, experienced workforce has on everything from business performance to customer satisfaction. Perhaps even more significantly, employee behavior impacts a company’s brand. As a simple example, consider a retail business. An employee’s workplace experience, and therefore level of engagement, directly impacts the customer experience. This relationship drives a range of customer behaviors including intent to return, spend per visit and likelihood they will recommend the business to others. In Figure 3, respondents compared the performance of engaged employees to that of disengaged workers. A high of 87% reported higher productivity. And this is across all types of industries and roles. The essential point here is that regardless of the business unit, job or industry, from manufacturing to hospitality or engineering to healthcare, engagement has a direct impact on the probability that a team, department or business will achieve its goals. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 4 A Slowly Rising Tide (continued)II Fig. 2 Fig. 3
  • 8. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 5 Moving From Strategy to ExecutionIII After nine years, one trend we are happy to report is that now over two-thirds of US employers position engagement and retention as a strategic priority. This is good news for employees and employers. When there is a dedicated effort and committed resources to make the workplace a positive, supportive environment, where trust trumps suspicion and collaboration is the norm, good things happen. This section of the report demonstrates that organizations of all kinds have moved beyond evaluating whether or not engagement and retention are initiatives that warrant meaningful funding and accountability, and on to sustained execution. Best in Class For 2013, a group of organizations stood out in a number of ways. Digging deeper, we observed a pattern of strategies and results that led us to identify them as “Best in Class”. These organizations represent the top 10% of all companies and provide a benchmark for talent management practitioners. Their ability to measurably improve performance through engagement practices was a key. Retaining high performers and Gen Y employees, broadening leadership involvement in these initiatives and establishing metrics to assess the impact of engagement are just a few of the things that warranted Best in Class status. Throughout this report, we will highlight the Best in Class group and how they approach talent management. When asked if employee engagement and retention is a strategic priority, responses improved year over year to over 82%, the highest level in nearly a decade of our research. (Figure 4). Employee engagement is an even greater priority for Best in Class organizations. Figure 5 shows that 100% of this group views employees as a strategic asset which is a fundamental precondition to achieving improved business results through people. Furthermore, it is a critical step that provided impetus for planning, funding and implementing specific strategies.  For the Best in Class, below, twice as many organizations make this a top priority. Fig. 4 Fig. 5
  • 9. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 6 Fig. 6 Management 101 taught us that with responsibility there also must be accountability. A strong indicator that engagement and retention are more embedded in ongoing leadership practices is the shared accountability from top to bottom of leadership ranks. (Figure 6) In addition to shared accountability, a number of organizations set specific retention goals for leaders at all levels, a practice we advocate, and tie a commensurate portion of executive bonuses and incentives to goal attainment. In today’s belt-tightened world, it’s nearly a given that the likelihood of implementing an initiative that lacks funding has about the same odds as winning the lottery. What gets funded (usually) gets done. Funding for engagement has steadily risen and now a clear majority budget funds for engagement. For the Best in Class, every one reported formal budget funding. (Figure 7) On Strategy: Broadened, senior level involvement and accountability and the institutionalization of funding are linked in an important way, invariably leading to the expectation that an investment of time, effort and money is only justified based on improved business metrics. These are the “three legs of the stool” that form a solid foundation for building a sustainable culture that fuels engagement and engenders retention. Fig. 7 Moving From Strategy to Execution (continued) III
  • 10. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 7 Establishing metrics that demonstrate the success of an engagement effort can be challenging. This requires cross-functional support (and perhaps some political capital) to get organized and agreed on. But data will be your best friend when it comes time to report the value and benefit to the organization. Figures 8 and 9 clearly demonstrate the connection between winning during budget season and the stipulation that you will measure and report the outcome during the year. Simply put, get your leaders actively involved, recruit them to help sell your budget and set up at least basic metrics that demonstrate progress. As a Best in Class practice, these three things more than any others validate that engagement and retention have moved beyond the formulation stage and into execution as a talent management practice area. (Figure 10) One of the more subtle but important trends for 2013 is the resurfacing of retention as an organizational priority. As the economy stabilizes, organizations have an outlook of confidence and growth as opposed to survival. The same viewpoint cascades down to the individual level where more employees, especially high performers, are no longer content with the status quo. Fig. 8 Fig. 9 Fig. 10 Moving From Strategy to Execution (continued) III
  • 11. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 8 Retention ResurfacesIV Employees have been waiting patiently for options and 2013 may be their time, as 59% of organizations expect job and career factors to be the main reason employees leave this year, an 11% increase from 2012. (Figure 11) Fortunately, as noted earlier, 100% of Best in Class organizations and 85% of all others have made employee retention a strategic priority, which is the first step in combating attrition. Making retention a priority is important, but the large majority has overlooked a vital metric in the fight to win internal support to retain employees – the cost of turnover. This is powerful and relevant data in building the foundation for leadership involvement, garnering budget dollars for interventions and reporting return-on-investment. Only 17% of organizations know the direct cost of attrition for frontline employees. Just as surprising, only 9% of organizations know attrition’s indirect costs, which typically are more expensive and include lost sales, poor customer service, project delays, increased safety violations and an array of job/company variables. To effectively implement any strategy, the cost of the problem must be known to understand its magnitude, set realistic measures of success and track progress. For retention specifically, the big area of opportunity is determining the cost of attrition for key roles and making that cost a regularly monitored business metric. (Don't know your cost of turnover? The most widely used turnover cost calculator can be found at www. talentkeepers.com. Check Research/ Cost Calculator.) Fig. 11 Fig. 12
  • 12. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 9 Retention Resurfaces (continued)IV Fig. 13 Early Turnover It is well understood that attrition can and does occur with varying frequency at different points in the employee lifecycle. Determining these high-risk points - time periods of employment where employees are most likely to leave the organization – can help build period-specific tactics. By tracking when employees are most apt to leave, organizations can determine why employees are leaving. This information provides a guide for critical attrition time periods and instruction on developing interventions to uniquely address each time period. A perhaps surprising statistic is that the majority of all attrition, 52%, occurs, on average, in the first year of employment. Year one attrition peaks right around the 12-month mark at 27%. Ineffective selection and onboarding processes contribute to this early attrition spike. Poor fit based on the skills required (37%) and missed expectations on job duties and work schedules (30%) lead the way for reasons why. (Figure 13) Improving retention in the first year can add big savings. When a new employee shows up for the first day, that person represents pure cost and a lot of potential. A time-to-productivity analysis, usually done by job category, can give you an indication of when that employee’s productivity has increased to a point where their contribution exceeds their cost. For example, if threshold productivity occurs on average at the 6 month mark, anyone who leaves with less time on the job is, to some degree, a financial loss. In order to manage the turnover spike at one year, retention-based strategies must focus on selecting the right people and effectively onboarding them so they commit and engage to the organization within the first year. This is especially important as half of the organizations surveyed expect growth in their labor forecast for 2013.
  • 13. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 10 Retention Resurfaces (continued)IV The Three Year Itch After the first year of employment, the next tipping point for 54% of organizations is the three year mark. (Figure 14) Research shows that the main reason employees leave then is a lack of upward career advancement opportunities (50%), an increase of 7% from 2012. Plus, 21% of organizations cite a lack of career growth experiences as a reason for the increase in attrition. (Figure 15) Although advancement and growth are primary concerns for those at the three year mark, starting a career growth conversation now is likely too late. Discussions with new employees about career preferences and aspirations need to start early on, at best during the onboarding process. This helps leaders manage employee expectations, gives employees themselves a realistic understanding of available options, and starting this process early is one more way to build trust, open communication and engagement with new and experienced employees. On Strategy: As retention resurfaces, organizations should be prepared with the cost of attrition, retention tipping points and the reasons employees choose to leave. Gathering this kind of information is a fundamental element of good employee surveys and should be gathered at least twice a year and reported to all leaders at all levels. Together, those three metrics provide critical elements of a roadmap for developing retention strategies that have the makings for success. But there’s a caution in the data: Going from strategic priority to implementation poses a new set of obstacles in the effort to not only retain, but engage employees. Fig. 14 Fig. 15
  • 14. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 11 What’s Working, What’s NotV The good news for 2013 is that organizations are viewing engagement and retention efforts as a strategic priority. The bad news is that many of those strategies are not perceived as very effective when translated to an operational reality. In turn, the ability for employees to excel in their roles is hindered. Two of the most concerning issues are the ability to fully leverage job and career factors and leadership factors. While job and career factors are the number one reason employees will leave in 2013, 56% of organizations are not at all effective or only slightly effective at turning whatever options they do have into a retention tactic. Unfortunately, organizations have gotten worse at leveraging job and career factors, with only 5% stating they are "very effective" compared to 15% in 2012. (Figure 16) Given the improving job market, organizations need to focus creative energy on how to position with employees whatever future opportunities may exist, both long and short term. Not doing so will likely lead to the loss of some valued contributors. Fig. 16
  • 15. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 12 What’s Working, What’s Not (continued) V What can organizations do to improve their job and career strategies? Based on an analysis of verbatim comments in the 2013 survey, 52% cite career pathing as the key, followed by training and development at 28%. These two areas closely align, given the path to advancement often includes training and development on the skills required to advance in an organization. The concept of a “career lattice” also arose, which can be a helpful way for people to understand that today’s reality is that careers and “careering” more often than not take a circuitous path. On Strategy: It’s worth a reminder here that retention of high performers, for example, is not necessarily to keep them forever. The goal is to extend their length of stay as long as they add high value. If a high performer stays one year longer than he or she might have otherwise stayed, for some additional training, for example, that’s one full year of high value productivity for the company. That matters. Career pathing and development strategies don’t have to be, and should not be, focused only on long time horizons. They are designed to keep people longer. The Impact of Leadership Leaders and their approach to leading directly affect employees’ perceptions of other organizational factors, such as job and career, compensation, culture, teamwork and more. Data show that an improvement in leadership strategies will have the greatest impact on employee engagement, as reported by 44% of organizations. (Figure 18) There is room for improvement as leadership factors are “very effectively” leveraged by only 11% of organizations, the same percentage as 2012. Furthermore, those who are not at all effective or only slightly effective at leveraging leaders to drive engagement and retention comprise nearly half of the organizations surveyed at 45%. (Figure 16) Fig. 18 Fig. 17
  • 16. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 13 What’s Working, What’s Not (continued) V On Strategy: Communication, at 31%, is the highest ranked leadership factor that, if improved, would have the greatest impact on engagement and retention. It is what builds or breaks trust, shapes opinions and beliefs about the company, and creates optimism and pride. Leaders are the face of the company for most employees. TalentKeepers’ research has proven that leaders, and how they lead, have more influence on engagement and retention than any other single factor. Communicating with transparency, sharing information, having open discussions about careers and avoidance of “blaming up” by taking responsibility for organizational decisions all make a big difference. According to 24% of organizations, training and developing leaders will have the second greatest impact on engagement and retention. (Figure 19) Aligned with the need for improved communication, soft skills are an area of focus for leadership training. The management of people, including delegation, coaching and the willingness to lead are other “hot topics” for development. Current Practices to Engage and Retain What specific strategies are organizations planning to use in 2013? Onboarding is the most frequently cited strategy at 54%. (Figure 20) This is a positive trend considering organizations only have one chance to make a lasting first impression and create a sense of commitment from the employee. Research has shown that an effective onboarding strategy provides new hires with consistency and opportunities for relationship building. A specific strategy that creates consistency and relationship building is the Retention Roadmap™. A roadmap process provides a similar onboarding experience for each new hire and clearly outlines the responsibilities of stakeholders in the process. The strategy typically outlines the first 90 days of employment with “touch points”, or scheduled events, with the new hire, for each stakeholder group, such as recruiting, training, operations and executives. The roadmap provides consistency and opportunities for the new hire to build relationships throughout the organization. Fig.19
  • 17. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 14 What’s Working, What’s Not (continued) V Fig. 20 On Strategy: The use of anonymous employee engagement surveys (44%) is key strategy organizations plan to use in 2013. (Figure 20) Well-executed surveys provide current, relevant and actionable data that guides planning and implementation. However, if done poorly or incorrectly they can have the opposite effect. Best in Class organizations don’t simply conduct a survey in a vacuum. They use surveys as part of an integrated, structured system of gathering data, reporting results to all key stakeholders, including frontline leaders sharing applicable information with all employees, requiring action plans and accountability tied to the results, and repeating the cycle to measure progress. Another commonly missed opportunity is the analysis of sub-groups based on attributes that are vital to organizational success, such as high performers or specific groups like Gen Y employees. Sub-groupings help to identify strategies that will increase the organization’s ability to engage and retain the most crucial “talent targets” and help them excel. One major component of an effective survey system is consistent implementation. Building momentum is imperative to creating sustained positive change. The Best in Class understand the importance of regularly listening to the "Voice of the Employee." 100% of Best in Class organizations conduct surveys at least once a year, a large contrast to 35% of remaining organizations. A common misstep is taking a “one and done” approach. (Figure 21) Fig. 21
  • 18. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 15 Emerging TargetsVI Fig. 22 Strategies geared toward affecting the organization as a whole certainly can be effective. However, broad-based initiatives may be less successful with engaging select groups that represent important current or future contributors. Specific groups have different motivations, work styles, job/ career aspirations; catering engagement and retention efforts to fit those groups may prove beneficial for these “talent targets.” Two important targets are worth singling out based on the research. High performers, those highly valued consistent contributors are one, and members of Generation Y, the future of our workforce, being the other. Organizations that have strategies in place to engage and retain these individuals will have a distinct advantage in competing for top talent in today’s labor pool. With the economy recovering and more employees seeking jobs that match their skills and interests, in addition to providing a steady paycheck, retention of these groups is a key piece of the performance puzzle. Excel by Engaging High-Performers High performers add value in a variety of ways. Often exceeding performance expectations and goals, they motivate and support those around them while contributing to a positive culture. They can improve the functionality of teams as a whole and can help to diagnose or even solve performance issues in low-performers. Often this group of employees offers personalized feedback to colleagues, models commitment and serves as an example of what it means to excel for other team members. Budgeting funds for employee engagement and retention is the first step to keeping an organization strong and performing at its peak. Of the organizations stating that they have allocated money in their 2013 budget to support employee engagement, 82% rate their organization as at least moderately effective at retaining high-performers. This is considerably higher than the 67% of organizations rating themselves this way that have not budgeted for employee engagement. (Figure 22)
  • 19. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 16 Emerging Targets (continued)VI A sound investment is expected to provide a positive return. For the Best in Class, 70% report having a strategy in place specifically for engaging and retaining high performers and their results illustrate the benefit. (Figure 23) This effort shows, with 100% of Best in Class organizations rating their organization as at least moderately effective at retaining their best contributors, with 35% rating their organization as Very Effective. (Figure 24) High-performers often are recognized and reinforced for their contributions, but having an effective engagement strategy targeted specifically for them will go far in keeping this high- value group delivering results for your organization instead of somewhere else. Welcoming Generation Y Tech savvy, energetic, socially conscious and hard-working, Generation Y is the largest generation in American history. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in less than a decade they will make up about half of the working-age population in the United States. Today they make up about 26% of the workforce, and have a strong, pent-up desire to either get started or get on with their careers. This generation, commonly referred to as Millennials, comes with its own styles and preferences that may prove difficult for leaders who are not prepared for the change. Generation Y tends to require precise instruction, frequent feedback and coaching , check-ins and praise, and transparency in communication. These work styles are at odds with some of the more traditional leadership styles and workplace cultures. Fig. 23 Fig. 24
  • 20. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 17 Emerging Targets (continued)VI The confluence of multiple generations in today’s workforce makes it easy to see that knowing how to adapt leadership techniques to suit specific generations is a highly valuable leadership skill. When asked if their leaders are challenged by leading employees of different generations, a surprising 76% of the survey respondents agreed. This is a leadership trend heading in the wrong direction, with 65% agreement in 2012 and only 39% in 2011. (Figure 25) Gen Y is likely the complicating factor and their entry into the world of work is quickly growing. On Strategy: A manager well-trained in dealing with Generation Y knows the importance of adapting management practices to allow these team members to work hard and achieve their goals without sacrificing established practices of the organization. These managers show concern for the wellbeing of their team by allowing millennials to learn while they work, challenging them with work they find interesting, incorporating the use of new technology in their tasks, and using familiar language to make these members feel comfortable. Generation Y employees are very much aware of their career aspirations and opportunities, yet those aspirations don’t always fit common career paths. Leaders of Generation Y employees need to be informed of career and job information and proactive but realistic when it comes to helping Gen Y evaluate personal career goals and how to achieve them. Adaptation and flexibility will be required on both sides of the career equation as this generation floods the workplace. Fig. 25
  • 21. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 18 Emerging Targets (continued)VI Fig. 26 Why Tailor Your Efforts? With the well-documented challenges that arise with this group of employees, it’s reasonable to expect that training on how to manage employees of different generations would be standard practice. Not so. When asked if their leaders have been trained to manage Generation Y employees, 72% of organizations provide no training of this type. (Figure 26) When considering the effectiveness of simply having engagement strategies in place, this is an issue where organizations could easily see improvement by implementing training to prepare their leaders. This is even more surprising when you consider that most leaders today belong to a group other than Generation Y. Effective and meaningful interactions between a leader and an employee facilitates the sharing of skills and organizational knowledge, creates stronger commitment for both parties, and promotes engagement. These are vital things to consider as they advance in the organization. Figure 27 demonstrates how important frequent, formal dialog is to keeping employees engaged. The case for targeting specific groups, referred to as role segmentation, is embodied in the understanding that not all employees and groups add the same value in achieving business goals. Specialization of strategies to match specific groups like high performers and Generation Y can give an organization the edge it needs to excel in the ever-changing, ever-competitive world. Fig. 27
  • 22. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 19 Increase Your Impact: Strategies and Recommendations VII This year’s theme, Moving from Strategy to Execution, emerged from the survey data. It became clear that organizations believe the time is right to capitalize on what’s been learned over the last few years and seize some momentum, and try to get out in front of the inevitable churn. There is a lot of good news in this year’s report. Riding the economy, employment has steadily improved (albeit not evenly spread), budgets for talent management are rebounding, optimism is growing and engagement/retention is on the minds of senior executives. Talent management largely has arrived as a core strategy for most organizations, with the value of an engaged employee, the one who also sticks with you, is now widely embraced. Employee engagement and retention is good business. Like any major business practice, getting leaders and executives engaged and accountable is important for a sustained effort to strengthen your culture. Start with advocates to build a strong base and focus on these three strategies work in harmony: Leader Involvement: Actively engage leaders and executives at all levels and hold each• accountable through specific goals Formal Budget: Leverage senior leaders to ensure engagement and retention strategies are• formally budgeted Performance Metrics: Determine a small number of business and/or operations metrics that• demonstrate the impact of a more engaged workforce that stays with the company longer. These can be sales, service, safety, productivity, or whatever measures for your workplace that are key performance indicators. Recommendations Isolating the Best in Class group took us beyond simply highlighting generalizable “best practices.” Now, we were able to determine an array of strategies and tactics that, when executed systematically, greatly increase the likelihood of achieving the targeted outcomes. There is synergy among particular strategies that warrants close attention when planning your next steps. Here are seven strategies and tactics we learned from the Best in Class. Size the Problem1. by calculating the cost of poor performance and low engagement; know the attrition rates for target positions and determine the direct and indirect costs to build the business case for action Actively Engage Senior Executives2. to drive accountability for engagement and retention in all levels of leadership Work from Data3. through internal metrics and well-designed employee surveys which yield highly valuable data and make sense for your organization and culture, and will resonate with executives in your company; hold stakeholders accountable for improving key engagement metrics just as you do sales, service and productivity metrics
  • 23. Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 20 Increase Your Impact: Strategies and Recommendations (continued) VII Link Engagement and Retention Metrics to Business Results4. to build sustainability and to negotiate for resources; recruit accounting or other internal support teams to develop a small number of metrics that everyone can agree on Educate Leaders5. on the value of engagement and retention, their strong influence on their individual team members and overall teams, and develop their engagement skills Target Your Best Performers6. to keep them motivated and productive, and retained; talent strengthens your culture, fuels team performance and ensures results Focus on High-Impact Areas7. including onboarding, job/career discussions, strong relationships with leaders and co-workers A Final Lesson from the Best in Class As you read this report, many or maybe most of the strategies and tactics described to engage and retain talent are things you are doing, planning to do or are considering. That’s all good. Selecting the right set of initiatives that fit your organization, culture and business environment is essential. Yet, the most important lesson we can learn from the Best in Class has less to do with selecting strategies and everything to do with systematic, sustained execution over time. This is the hard part. Building and strengthening an engaged culture where retention is the norm is a process that requires a well-grounded foundation and continuous reinforcement over time. Meaningful cost savings and performance gains require vision and tenacity. And those attributes will take you well down the road to best in class results.
  • 24. Appendix 2013 Survey Respondent Metrics This study details the responses from both operations and HR executives representing 618 organizations from 22 industries. Company size is spread almost equally between large (5000 employees or more), medium (500-5000) and small (25-500) organizations. A detailed breakout of the industries and respondents included in the study are summarized below. (Figure 28) “Operations,” including finance, services, sales, logistics and other non-HR roles, is taking a greater role in engagement and retention issues, representing over 30% of the survey respondents. (Figure 29) Over 60% of the respondents have Director, VP or above titles, another signal of greater interest in talent management strategies, particularly those that impact business results. (Figure 30)   Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 21 Fig. 28 Fig. 30 Fig. 29
  • 25. Appendix Figure Index Figure 1: Organizations are Stabilizing as the Economy Improves Figure 2: 2013 Forecast for Labor Growth Figure 3: Engaged Employees in Our Organization, When Compared to Disengaged Employees Figure 4: Employee Engagement is a Strategic Priority for My Organization Figure 5: For Best In Class, the Strategic Priority is Clear Figure 6: Who is Accountable for Employee Engagement and Retention? Figure 7: A Majority Now Budget Funds and Resources to Support Engagement Initiatives in 2013 Figure 8: Best In Class Makes the Budget Commitment Figure 9: Do You Link Engagement Metrics to Performance and Profitability? Figure 10: Linking Engagement Metrics is a Best In Class Standard Figure 11: Why are People Leaving? Job and Career are Rising in Importance Figure 12: Do you know the cost of attrition and lack of engagement for your organization? Figure 13: The Biggest Reasons New Hires Leave Organizations within the First 12 Months Figure 14: Attrition After One Year of Employment: High Risk at 3 Years Figure 15: The Biggest Reasons Employees with More Than One Year of Tenure Leave Figure 16: How effective is your organization at leveraging the following Employee Engagement Factors? Figure 17: If Improved, What Can Organizations Do to Positively Impact Job and Career Issues in 2013? Figure 18: If Improved, Leadership Strategies Would Have the Greatest Impact on Employee Engagement Figure 19: What Should Leaders Do to Have the Greatest Impact on Engagement and Retention? Figure 20: Most Frequently Cited Practices for 2013 to Engage and Retain Talent Figure 21: Employee Engagement Surveys are Administered at Least Once a Year Figure 22: How Effective is Your Organization at Retaining High Performing Employees? Figure 23: Best in Class: Strategies are in Place to Engage and Retain High Performers Figure 24: Best in Class are More Effective at Retaining High Performing Employees Figure 25: Are Your Leaders Challenged When it Comes to Leading Employees of Different Generations? Figure 26: But, Few Leaders Are Being Trained to Manage Generation Y Employees Figure 27: Excluding Performance Reviews, How Often do Planned Meetings to Discuss Engagement Occur Figure 28: Participating Industries Figure 29: Job Function of Survey Respondents Figure 30: Job Roles of Survey Respondents Copyright © 2013 TalentKeepers, Inc. All rights reserved. 22
  • 26. Commit. Engage. Excel. TalentKeepers® offers proven, award-winning employee engagement and retention solutions that span the employee performance continuum. From igniting engagement during on-boarding and creating an energized culture that promotes high performance, to comprehensive employee and leader survey and development tools, we will help you create a thriving culture built on mutual trust and collaboration. Here are some of our award-winning products and services: • TalentWatch® : TalentWatch is a structured employee engagement system that includes custom surveys, detailed analyses, reporting by user-defined attributes, a dynamic executive dashboard, online action planning and much more. • OnBoard Connection® : A unique and highly successful employee engagement tool designed to engage new employees and build strong commitment to their new leader and your organization. • Handshake Connection® : Strengthen the relationship between your leaders and their team members with this simple yet powerful employee engagement tool designed to open communication and build trust between leaders and their employees. • Co-Worker Connection: Support and mutual respect among co-workers is critical to creating and maintaining an engaged workforce. Co-worker connection promotes mutual understanding and open communication among team members. • Leadership Development Series: A comprehensive engagement and retention leadership skills development program that included 11 topics and won HR Executive Magazine’s Top Training Product of the Year Award Increase your impact. Call or email us today. 407.660.6041 ext. 124 Solutions@TalentKeepers.com www.TalentKeepers.com
  • 27. Employee Engagement | Employee Retention | Onboarding | Leader Training | Employee Lifecycle Surveys | Exit Surveys | Research 407.660.6041 Solutions@TalentKeepers.com www.TalentKeepers.com Commit. Engage. Excel. SM Three words.They capture the essence of employee engagement and the intent of every engagement and retention strategy. For more than a decade TalentKeepers has been helping organizations and winning awards with solutions that ignite engagement, boost retention and improve business results. Increase your impact. Energize your engagement and retention efforts. Contact us today.