3 underused tools for retaining talent

May 3, 2022 | Development

There are three underused tools that employers can better use to retain talent, particularly those from underrepresented groups, explains Simon Reichwald, Strategic Lead for Talent at Connectr.

One of the keys to individuals wanting to stay with a company is progression. Progression means different things to different people. For example, it can mean a promotion or progressing from a Level 2 apprenticeship to Level 3.

Unfortunately when it comes to progression, there are some painful realities for underrepresented talent.

For those who come from a lower socio-economic background, they are less likely to progress to higher-level apprenticeships (ADCN). They also experience slower career progression, not due to under performance, but simply because of their background.

For example, in the legal sector it takes 18 months longer to reach partner level The Bridge Group. In financial services progression is 25% slower and if they also identify as being from Black Heritage, 32% slower (The Bridge Group). This debunks the myth that if you hire diverse talent, it will lead to diverse senior leaders.

There is also a class pay gap. In IT the class pay gap is £5k, in financials services it is £17.5k (ONS Labour Force survey). Would you stay in a business where those from a more advantaged background get paid more than you due to their class?

Those from under-represented groups also often believe they’ve done well do get where they are, so self-select out for applying for higher-level jobs. Plus there still exists a perception for many that career and personal development needs chunks of time or courses to attend. We all are all time poor, so too often all talent self-selects out of this perceived time sapping activity.

What works for retaining all talent?

There are three underused (low cost per head) tools that support retention of all talent, so you don’t have to focus these on your ‘chosen’ diversity group.

I suspect many employers use these tools to some extent to retain talent, but the key is to use them more widely and with more purpose:

1. Role models

This is not just about having a few role models, but also at all levels and in all parts of the company. Your role models should have a diversity of lived experiences and have progressed in different ways.

For example, not just highlighting those individuals who have reached senior roles in those that are common for that gender. Here’s a great example of a role model breaking down perceptions.

2. Storytelling

This is linked to role models – have them share their story and their lived experience. Too often when talent looks up they see people not like them, so have more people bring to life their journey through videos or podcasts like this one

3. Mentoring with purpose

Where mentoring is with purpose, mentees are five times more likely to be promoted and mentors six times more likely.

Mentoring can sometimes feel like a bit commitment for both parties so think beyond traditional formats, for example consider an hour per month for six or 12 months.

To really scale up the impact ofmentoring with purpose, it should be agile. A colleague often refers to this as ‘mentoring in the moment of need’ – quick support when needed or something longer term.

Technology is the great enabler of all of this, plus it can reduce the need for heavy resource. Smart matching means individuals don’t need their own networks to find the right mentor and they can have not just one but a few mentors/people ‘in their corner’ who can support with different needs. What can be better than that to address the challenges of progression and retention?

When to comes to all your talent, bring to life the 70:20:10 learning and development model. Share stories about those who have benefitted from the 70 and the 20, and not just the 10.

Role models, storytelling and mentoring with purpose are simple tools that, when done well, will make a big difference for all your talent.

Connectr talked about progression and retention at ISE’s Student Development Conference, catch up with the recording

Read more about retention

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