As we emerge into a post-pandemic world, we are re-evaluating our jobs, careers and lives – and to keep staff, companies need to adapt, writes Nikolas Kairinos, CEO of Soffos.

Still, we are in the midst of the so-called ‘Great Resignation’. With 4.3 million Americans quitting their jobs in January this year alone, there has never been a more appropriate time for businesses to re-evaluate their approach to managing their talent pool. Indeed, it’s important that businesses recognise why the current resignation rate is at a 20 year high and how they can retain their most talented employees.

Of course, the reasons behind workers’ decisions to resign are often complicated – but as the majority (63%) of U.S. workers who left their roles cited a lack of opportunities for advancement in their companies, it’s clear that many workers feel like they need to find new opportunities to develop their careers further.

Add to that the 57% who said they quit because they felt disrespected at work it is obvious that employers are not doing enough to appreciate or make the most of the skills that are available to them within their workforce.

According to recent research from Soffos, a staggering two in five people are ready to quit their jobs in 2022 – make no mistake, the ‘Great Resignation’ looks set to continue. Businesses must take note. In January, there were 11.3 million vacancies in the labour market, reflecting the wealth of opportunities available to employees who don’t see a future at their current company.

As such, if firms wish to retain their most talented employees, they must demonstrate how valued their skills are by supporting their career development within the company and providing stimulating opportunities to enhance their skills.

Allow data to inform decision making

It's difficult to offer employees a tailored professional development plan without having a clear picture of their individual goals, as well as their key skills and competencies. With this in mind, a good place to start to support workers would be to evaluate their skillsets and build a database of their various aptitudes and competencies.

Using what is known as a skills audit, businesses should harness the power of AI-powered learning management systems (LMS) to gain extensive insights on individual employees, their unique training needs, and their areas of expertise. Such a platform will collect data on the courses that users are engaging with the most, as well as their performance on particular tasks and assessments, which should give training managers a helping hand when it comes to devising their strategies.

Paired with questionnaires and one-on-one meetings, companies can utilise highly accurate data analytics to inform their training and recruitment decision-making. In short, a company with a clear image of the skills available to them in the workforce can improve its skills management processes, develop their employees on a personalised basis, and boost staff satisfaction and their retention rates as a result. As such, better informed decisions can be made about where further training might be needed, or where new recruits could add value.

Talent retention and recruitment

Armed with data analytics, businesses can also retain their most talented employees by implementing a clear policy of internal promotion where possible. After all, nobody will know your company better than an existing member of staff.

Beyond this, businesses who hire from within see a 50% reduction in staff turnover and employees are twice as likely to try harder than if they were to work for a company where hiring from outside the workforce is the norm, making this a much smoother process than onboarding new members of staff.

In the current climate, this is a simple way in which employers can entice their most accomplished workers to stay loyal to their business and keep moving up the career ladder. Employees are therefore more likely to see a future at their current organisation, making it harder to persuade them to seek new opportunities elsewhere.

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That said, sometimes hiring from within is not always viable, and companies might need to recruit new workers for a particular role that cannot be filled by an existing member of the workforce. But with the skills audit data, companies can detect skills gaps within their current workforce to determine what should be required from a new starter.

Recruiters can then base their decisions beyond just ‘gut feel’ and covering letters, allowing their business to save time and money on interviews with candidates without the required proficiencies and can streamline the recruitment process.

It’s also important for organisations to recognise how the pandemic has changed the working habits of many workers across the globe. The rise of hybrid working and the flexibility that it entails is not something that many people are keen to give up – in fact recent research from Soffos’ found that 50% of employees want their next job to offer flexible working conditions.

It almost goes without saying, but the benefits of online working are vast from an employee’s perspective. From spending more time with family to saving money on the daily commute, working remotely can have a vast and positive impact on the mental wellbeing of employees.

As a result, their motivation and productivity at work is likely to improve, benefitting the business overall as well as the individual employee. As such, businesses who want to attract or retain the best talent would do well to implement flexible working conditions – it’s a win-win.

With training, consistency is key

As I have already mentioned, learning management systems and skills audits can be incredibly useful when it comes to identifying the areas in which an employee might need further training or support. However, perhaps the greatest benefit of utilising AI and machine learning-powered (ML) learning management systems, is that these platforms are able to learn from their interactions with employees to build made-to-measure training schemes.

Rather than wasting money on blanket company-wide training days, employees will have their own bespoke plan of action, allowing them to improve their skills in a meaningful way, while enhancing their contributions to the business. Moreover, companies can even save money on unnecessary training days, if the data analytics show that development is not required on the planned topics and areas of focus, allowing learning managers to better allocate their budget elsewhere.

To state things more plainly, it’s important that businesses provide employees with year-round training in order to keep their skills, knowledge and training as up to date as possible. As well as improving their job performance, employees will see that the company culture is one that rewards loyalty with constant opportunities for development and growth – as such, they will be less inclined to seek advancement elsewhere.

Ultimately, businesses would do well to use data to inform their training and recruitment decisions. Doing so provides a firm basis for decision-making and improving employee satisfaction, as well as boosting their business overall. Those who do so successfully can expect a more steadfast, skilled and spirited workforce overall, which should do some good when it comes to guarding against the negative effects of the ‘Great Resignation’.

About the author

Nikolas Kairinos is the chief executive officer and founder of SoffosTM, which is building the next generation of educational technology solutions. Whether you’re a trainer, teacher, or individual app user, the SoffosTM Cognitive AI Engine puts knowledge locked away in all your files and resources straight into the palm of your hand.

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