How 11 Fortune 500 Global Companies Retain their Top Talent

One of the biggest challenges for organizations is employee retention. Finding replacement hires for outgoing employees is an expensive and time-consuming process. Here’s how 11 top companies keep their talent.

Recently, Time Doctor, a productivity SaaS company, in partnership with Peter Banerjea of SuccessIsWhat, a leadership blog, published an article on how some of the world’s best workplaces retain their talent. 39 companies across the world sent their contributions as part of the research for that article. I asked Peter Banerjea to share a few employee retention strategies of the Fortune 500 companies who contributed to his research.

Which aspects of culture and leadership will have the maximum positive impact on engagement and retention?

Jenn Saavedra, SVP, Talent & Culture, says, “I believe every aspect of a company’s culture, talent and leadership strategy should be led by rigorous analysis.” For instance, Dell has discovered through surveys and analysis that out of seven leadership principles, vision and selflessness are the two principles that currently matter most to its employees.

But knowing what truly matters to its people, Dell is consciously shaping its culture and leadership in ways that engage people and give them reasons to stay on.

Airbus’s business model is evolving from only aircraft to big data, drones, machine learning and software development. According to CHRO Thierry Baril, the company’s innovation expansion is now a major factor in attracting as well as retaining people, who are enthusiastic about building cutting edge technology.

Airbus also encourages people to grow their skill sets by working across different business units – another key retention measure.

Microsoft believes that the company of talented and driven colleagues plays a vital role in encouraging people to stay longer in a company.

Kathleen Hogan, Chief People Officer, says, “While pay and benefits are table stakes to keep great talent, we believe working alongside amazing peers to realize your own personal mission is the most powerful retention strategy.”

Sam Ladah, HR VP, IBM Cloud and Talent, says, “Our recent focus has been on using our own cognitive technologies, like Watson, to deliver personalized learning and career guidance that’s based on the employee’s role, skill profile and goals.”

When employees get personalized learning and guidance to support their ambitions and abilities, they are far more likely to stay over the long term.

Daniela Lohre, Director Personnel Marketing and Talent Relationship Management, says, “Our core retention driver is meaningful jobs.” People are excited to be part of a company that is working on cutting-edge technology such as the future of mobility and the internet of things (IoT).

Another key retention strategy is the opportunity to “effectively change jobs without changing their employer”. Bosch’s 390,000 employees have the opportunity to work across different functional areas, industries, and organizational structures.

One key retention measure for Bayer is matching employees’ personal strengths and goals with the organization’s leadership requirements.

Richard Caldera, SVP, Human Resources says that Bayer uses Assessment and Development Centers, to evaluate employees in several situations reflective of a variety of leadership challenges. “This provides employees with a comprehensive view of their potential and readiness for future leadership roles, helping them chart their best career path at Bayer.”

Jennifer Hulett, Head of HR at Ericsson North America says that work-life balance and employee wellness are key aspects of the company’s retention strategy.

In addition, Ericsson’s “career framework allows our employees to have a global career spanning countries and functions.”

Luciana Amaro, VP Talent Development & Strategy, says that BASF retains people by offering them excellent opportunities for growth and development. All employees across every function can access a comprehensive portfolio of learning opportunities, such as “mentoring, training programs, business simulations, project opportunities, employee resource groups and many others.”

Flexibility is a key retention driver for Manulife, one of the world’s largest insurance and financial services companies.

Flexible programs like remote work and adjustable schedules go a long way in helping employees achieve their personal as well as professional goals.

Lisa Butler, Chief Talent & Diversity Officer says, “We invest in technologies that enable collaboration and facilitate instant communication no matter where the employee chooses to work.”

Stefan Ries, Member of the Executive Board and CHRO points out that retention is all about making sure that employees have the right experiences. “Delivering a positive people experience is critical to attract, develop and retain talent in digital times.”

One key element of SAP’s retention strategy is to invest in employee learning and development. In 2017 SAP is investing 187 million euros in its L&D programs. Part of this is mandatory training for leaders across all levels.

Schneider Electric
One retention strategy for Schneider Electric is to have ‘mirror group’ programs for their early-career employees, which provides them with an opportunity to exchange ideas with senior leaders. Olivier Blum, CHRO, says “this establishes an open, trust-based platform for cross generational dialogue.”

These programs make employees feel more valued and engaged. Moreover, they also allow senior leaders to identify their best talent.

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