Bringing new employees on board is supposed to be an exciting time for employers. Hopefully, it’s a sign your company is growing, adding additional roles, or expanding internationally. After searching for weeks, you feel you’ve found the right candidates to fill those positions.
But what if a sizeable percentage of workers start leaving? Whether it’s within 30 days or five years down the road, turnover hurts an organization. When knowledge and skill walk out the door, there’s a direct financial impact. Culture and employee morale suffer. And the projects and initiatives you have in the pipeline either get put on hold, delayed, or redistributed.
Addressing the reasons turnover happens is a more effective and profitable way for companies to function. Although some people will inevitably move on, it’s better to find ways to retain international talent than to overlook resignations. Below are four ways to prevent turnover among a global team.
1. Offer Competitive Compensation
You might think that competitive salaries and benefits play more of a role during the recruiting stage. However, pay and benefits can influence whether employees and freelancers decide to continue working with your organization. Offering benefits to international contractors and overhauling raise structures could mean the difference between keeping or losing valued workers. Be sure to look over international compensation guides to determine how to competitively compensate workers in the different areas and countries.
Compensation is one of the factors that can cause job dissatisfaction. Workers who aren’t receiving total compensation in line with their experience or what competing employers offer might start looking. Pay structures that don’t offer meaningful raises for promotions to different positions are demotivating.
Say, for example, that an organization’s IT department has four levels and pay ranges for front-line technicians. Most new hires are brought onboard as Level 1 techs. Promotions to subsequent levels involving advanced skills and increased workloads only result in a $500/year raise. This isn’t much incentive for employees to develop their skills and stay loyal to the organization. Instead, they can go to another company willing to pay them more.
2. Review Exit Interviews and Employee Surveys
Something that many organizations fail to act on is data from exit interviews and employee engagement surveys. A Harvard Business Review article reveals that roughly 25% of companies don’t conduct exit interviews at all, while others collect data without analyzing it. In some companies, HR reviews the data but fails to share the insights with senior leadership.
Companies fall short by not holding exit interviews, looking for trends, and exchanging information with those who could make changes. By squandering these opportunities, they can’t get to the bottom of why employees are leaving or address the reason(s) behind it. Organizations that don’t tackle turnover problems successfully also send the message that they’re indifferent to employee departures. Candidates and existing workers might perceive managers aren’t concerned about retention or culture problems.
Software programs that collect, analyze, and share employee feedback can identify potential issues with leadership styles and culture. You might also pinpoint insufficient training in a department or international division with a history of high turnover. Of course, by the time exit interviews occur, workers have been disengaged for some time. That’s why conducting surveys with current employees can reveal engagement problems before they escalate.
3. Create a Learning Culture With Paths for Mobility
Very few people join an organization to remain in the same position ad infinitum. With some exceptions, candidates come on board to learn new things and develop existing skill sets. They want to see opportunities with your company to advance their careers. Employees who don’t necessarily want to move into managerial roles might want to someday make lateral moves or change departments.
Creating a cohesive learning culture with training and mentoring opportunities for all employees can keep them engaged and invested. Managers can help remote workers and those in different global locations design individual learning plans. Some might want to focus on building technical knowledge and skills. Others may want to seek certification in quality control and management.
Documenting employees’ career goals and interests also helps identify shadowing and mentoring opportunities. Maybe there’s another role they can cross-train for, or they can work with someone who’s in a desired position. Just as important is removing barriers to internal mobility, such as seeking permission from direct supervisors. In a learning culture, leaders must be willing to support employees’ applications for internal positions and development programs.
4. Implement Thorough Onboarding Practices
Onboarding isn’t your company’s first chance to make the right impression, but it’s usually the second. And for new employees, it’s a more complete picture of what your organization’s about and whether you’re a good fit. A positive onboarding experience is critical for retaining international employees, especially if — as is increasingly likely — they’ll be working remotely.
Poor onboarding experiences can lead new hires to quit within the first few months. Some might even turn in their resignations the first day. In his book “The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave,” Leigh Branham reports that unmet expectations cause 4% of first-day resignations. Unmet expectations can arise from making misguided hiring decisions and not being transparent during the recruiting process. However, onboarding plays a significant role.
If new employees get the sense they won’t receive much support, they’re going to feel isolated. Onboarding is the time to reiterate the importance of the new hire’s skills and experience and how they fit in. Explain the ways their role will contribute to your company’s goals. Connect them with others within the organization they can rely on for information and mentorship. Give them the resources they need to succeed now and as they grow.
Preventing turnover is a challenge given today’s candidate-centric labor market. Keeping employees in multinational locations engaged can be more difficult when the degree of in-person interaction with leadership might be lower. Providing a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic sources of satisfaction and motivation goes a long way. But you’ll also want to uncover why employees leave your organization and implement solutions that address those causes of dissatisfaction.