Staff retention means looking to the future.
Competitive salary, good benefits and a friendly office environment were once the pillars of keeping talent happy and in place. Then came the social committees with big budgets to burn, stocked kitchens, flexible hours, liberal Facebook policies and playrooms set aside for spontaneous inter-office Wii tournaments.
What more could employers do to keep employees from perusing the job boards? According to several of the organizations on the Best Companies to Work for in B.C. list, one of the biggest retention carrots is a future. Career growth and job fulfilment appear to be the keys to hanging on to staff.
Steer Davies Gleave North America Inc. is a U.K.-based global transportation planning organization with 30 employees in its downtown Vancouver office. In the seven years it’s been in Vancouver, only one employee has left. Ian Druce, President of SDG North America, explains why he believes turnover is so low: “We put quite a bit of emphasis on personal career development, setting targets for yourself. And everyone’s got a personal supervisor. You sit down with them once a month, go through goals and objectives, and decide what you want to do and then between you and your personal supervisor, it’s your responsibility to go and do it.”
For Wow-1Day! Painting Inc., a franchise painting company, the key is to encourage staff to take advantage of growth opportunities. Managing director Craig Jooste shares a recent example: an employee was working in the call centre, but had an interest in digital marketing. She shared this desire with management and they were able to arrange for her to split her time between the call centre and training in the digital marketing department.
Few industries can trump the tech sector in providing bells and whistles for employees. But even here, where “work hard, play hard” is still the mantra, the focus is shifting to career development and longevity.
West Pacific Consulting Group Managed Services Inc. is a recruiting agency that services IT companies. Interviewing candidates for its clients has given WPC an excellent understanding of what professionals are looking for. While many of the jobs in IT are contracts, WPC also places people in permanent positions, and sales and recruitment manager Jonathan Sumner has noticed a big difference between these two groups: “Contractors are seeking that high-profile project with that high-dollar figure attached, where the permanent mentality is a little more risk-averse. And, they are looking longer term, saying ‘This is an investment in my career, I can see getting some value out of this organization.’”
That isn’t to say that organizations on the Best Companies to Work for in B.C. list are doing away with the perks. In fact, Clevest, the software development company behind BC Hydro’s smart meters, continues to invest in employee extras. In addition to switching to healthier snacks in the stocked kitchen and adding a fancy coffee machine, it now offers employees a nap room featuring gurgling water and soft music.