Beyond acquisition: Fail-proof talent retention strategies

For companies around the globe, the war for talent is not on the front lines of acquisition. Instead, it’s in the discovery of how to retain your top talent. In my last article, we discussed how the key to talent retention is in building a Cohesion Culture. South Carolina Federal Credit Union has been named a “Best Place to Work” multiple times because our leadership team has cracked the code on retaining our greatest asset; our people.

Our employees require transformative leaders who value them beyond the courting process. They want more than skills training and they expect management to invest in and develop them. We know that when we implement these processes, it creates the foundation for a Cohesion Culture™ where our employees feel like they belong, have contributory value, and are able to commit freely to organizational outcomes because they are part of our overall success.

What talent retention requires

Establishing a culture that looks beyond acquisition means leadership seeks an environment for employees to function cohesively as a high-performing team. These four concepts within the larger conversation of talent retention are fundamental to sustaining a model that retains talent within the organization.

There is power in purpose

More than ever, people want to understand their purpose. They often seek connection with a higher power for the purpose of knowing they matter and what they do makes a difference. Organizations want to sound off about employees having passion, yet it’s not until senior leadership aligns an employee’s purpose with the organization’s mission that passion becomes more than a window dressing.

Passion is the emotional feeling people experience when they are doing what they know is important and has value.

Physical & mental well-being skyrocket productivity

Organizations often neglect that a healthy employee is a productive one. Peak performance is impossible without attention to well-being. When employees are healthy or have the support to sustain a wellness mentality, they are more satisfied and in turn exhibit strong behaviors consistent with cohesion.

Part of a robust HR system is having the systems in place to support more than performance evaluations. These systems must be able to support the well-being of the employees both mentally and physically.

Financial stability leads to success

Claiming financial independence and security is another important aspect of retention success. Educating employees about money management skills has powerful and positive results that extend into the employee’s personal life. Keeping an employee financially fit lessens the mental burdens of financial stress so they are able to perform at a higher level.

When an organization creates conversations that promote Financial Counseling as positive behavior—and not just a corrective action—the organization will support a mindset to encourage financial stability. At South Carolina Federal we found that teaching this type of financial awareness and acumen in the areas of savings mobilization and credit utilization moves the individual towards achieving financial success.

Cultivate intellectual stimuli and the entrepreneurial spirit

Employees stay where they feel they belong, are developed, and frequently challenged intellectually. A key characteristic of today’s workforce is the display of an entrepreneurial spirit. Employees desire autonomy and a collaborative work environment where they are asked to think and encouraged to contribute. By encouraging team building and an open exchange of ideas, the company is proving to invest in the growth and intellectual well-being of an employee and signaling to the employee “you belong here, there is a place for you.”

Getting started on building a Cohesion Culture

Now that we know what drives success, here is a quick glimpse of how to create a Cohesion Culture™ today in your own organization;

  1. Establish a standard for greetings, laughter, and handshakes: Look for how people interact with each other. Observing how employees behave in the hallways, break rooms, and within their work environment can tell you much about how cohesively they may work together. Look for a genuine sense that the people of your organization care about others and want to be part of it.
  2. Invite others to model transformative leadership behaviors: Employees want good role models to emulate. The ones who think of others first. The type of leaders who treat others with respect, accept failures and share successes with their team members. Just like with commitment, for leaders to achieve the level of engagement they seek, invest in retaining the employee with as much vigor and resolve as creating service standards for customers.
  3. Integrate organizational core values in every aspect of the business: It’s not enough to simply post the core values on the walls of the company’s common spaces or to reiterate them on the organization’s website and job descriptions. Leadership must honestly support these value statements and support activities that allow all employees to live it, breathe it and own it.
  4. Invest in the development of all employees: When leaders pour into the success of the employee and help them achieve their personal goals, then organizational success is a natural by-product. This is especially true when desired individual outcomes are consistent with organizational success.
  5. Create a Cohesion Vision Board™: Visualization remains the number one way in which people are able to accomplish goals. They see them and work toward them. A vision board is a pictorial reflection of how the employee emotionally connects with and sees the value of personal success.

Talent retention lies beyond engagement and buzzwords. It takes a deep understanding of what motivates people, how to make them understand they belong, and a shared sense of values. At South Carolina Federal Credit Union, we’ve used these strategies to create an incredible Cohesion Culture that cultivates personal and professional success within our team.

Dr. Troy Hall is the Chief Strategy Officer for South Carolina Federal Credit Union, a $1.8B financial cooperative with over 165,000 members. With a Ph.D. in Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Troy has earned the designation as an International Development Educator. As the author of Cohesion Culture: Proven Principles to Retain Your Top Talent, his book showcases how and why South Carolina Federal Credit Union has been named a “Best Places To Work” by Glassdoor, the Credit Union Industry, and State of South Carolina.