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Employee Retention: A Modern How-to for Talent Retention

Employee Retention: A Modern How-to for Talent Retention

As Recruiters, my associates and I get involved in Employee Attraction and Recruitment (Talent Acquisition), which almost all companies we work with, take it very seriously. As HR & OD Consultants, we see that a lot of organizations have not put in place a strategy for Talent Retention or even thought about it.

Just because you offer a great starting salary and benefits package and you consider your organization a great place to be, it does not imply - by any means- that your newly acquired high caliber- employees are to stay with you forever. Actually, when is the last time that you had an employee- survey 3 or 4 months after their onboarding? How do you know that they have not lost or they are not about to lose their motivation?

  1. Always offer fair and better compensation

It should be a no-brainer that when people look for a new job, they look for a better salary. And with internet getting daily more and more populated with date, they can now google the average pay for different professions in various industries.

But salary has to grow over time for employees not to start looking for a new job. Make sure that you have a clear mechanism for employee development and also well-defined pay- scales for all roles in your organization.

Also please make sure that compensation is fair and same for identical roles. Employees will speak to their peers or other employees to compare and contrast their pay; the result is that they will leverage that information in a salary negotiation either with your organization or with their next employer. The choice is yours.

  1. Offer a flexible salary & benefits package.

This is not a new or radical idea. And sure it might may your accountant or payroll specialist work a little bit harder. But allow the employees to choose what to do with their money. If someone is making for example 10.000 cedis and they want to receive only 4.000 as salary, 2.000 for car lease and fule, 3.000 for private pension contribution and 1.000 for private health insurance or something else, offer them such options.

Basically, enable them to be in charge of their salary and benefits package. You only legally need to administrate the various payments. That simple.

And if there are tax-friendly ways to reduce their tax withholdings by offering part of their 4.000 cedis in this example as lunch money or transport or clothing allowance or whatever else, please do work with them and do that.

  1. Have a Reward Mechanism in Place.

Kindly allow me to -please- refer you to my article on

  1. Set Great KPIs and stop MicroManaging.

One of the greatest issues in Talent Retention is that KPIs are not set up properly. The main reason for that is that unfortunately we historically never think of training any manager at any level on the basic or Business Process Management and on how- to set up KPIs for any Business Process. An additional obstacle to that is mediocre or inexperienced HR employees who cannot guide the organization's managers on setting up and using KPIs, nor can they set up an organizational KPI Framework.


  1. KPIs should be set for Individuals, their Teams, and their Divisions/ Departments/ Business Units.
  2. And unless you have a good monitoring mechanism in place, the best KPIs or KPI Framework, will be just a paper exercise.

Every manager should focus on the deliverables of each employee and their team contribution (teams as organizational units have deliverables) and not on micromanaging the employee. Why do you care if an employee is at their desk or sitting somewhere by the cafeteria or the reception as long as their work is done? (assuming that they are not in a customer facing or Helpdesk function). Does it make any difference if they take 1 or 2 hrs lunch if they overdeliver on their set and mutually agreed on KPIs? Do you have to 'correct their behavior' when they come 20-30 minutes late in the morning but they consistently stay 2-3 hrs working unpaid overtime every day?

MicroManagement is usually the sign of a Manager who has no clue or ability on how to measure and increase employee productivity. And maybe it has worked during the industrial revolution, but in 2017 if you think that our Millenials generation is more productive when they are confined for 8-9 hours in a set desk, then you might be out of touch with reality and enabling a generation gap.

Don't kill Employee- motivation by MicroManagement.

  1. Respect Work-Life Balance.

Sure, we all have our smartphones, tablets and similar devices and we can get work emails 24 x7. But just because you sent an email at 8 pm, don't expect a response by 8:05 pm, even if you are the CEO of the largest company in Ghana. That kind of behavior reflects only disrespect about your employees' personal life which obviously entails personal commitments and obligations. Respect their weekends too.

And there are times where there is one peak after the other and people have to work overtime; unusually with no extra or minimal compensation. But there are also moments that work can be slow for a variety of reasons. It's ok then to show your appreciation to your employees' commitment by sending them home a bit early - i.e. enable them and encourage them to maintain a Work-Life Balance.

  1. Work-Work Balance.

That might sound a bit strange, but it actually it is not and it can become a powerful employee engagement and productivity motivational tool.

You tell an employee to do some task and how you want them to do it, and they propose what they think to be a better way, or they have a new idea that they want to try out.

Offer them that possibility by giving them 2 hrs 'play/ try it' time, if they finish the work you planned for them for 8 hrs in 6 hrs for example. Obviously, their deliverables for those 6 hrs of over-productivity should not be of subpar quality.

Try it. You might be amazed by the results - both you and your employee(s)!

  1. MOOC- up your Employees

I see organizations offering expanded salary and employee benefits in their Talent Retention efforts, but somehow few African organizations offer additional training opportunities (or at least, it's not the norm yet).

Enriching your employees with new relevant education/ learning opportunities and tools is definitely one of the best ways to boost Talent Retention.

In 2017, the pragmatic value of a company-sponsored Masters or MBA might be questionable for most instances. But in 2017, there is a good selection of high-quality affordable MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) even 'taught'/ offered by the most prestigious Universities worldwide.

So, why don't you proactively encourage your employees to attend some of them and allow them to use the corporate internet 1-2 hrs daily after work so they can successfully attend the relevant MOOCs?

Keep in mind that these employees are learning on their own personal time; so think of offering them a temporary internet credit to continue their learning during the weekend and pay for certified MOOCs if possible.

You can also use MOOCs as part of your Employee Rewards Program. I.e. if a software engineer outperforms, let him/her -as a special treat- take a MOOC in Organizational Design or even in HR or Marketing; allow people to learn and understand every function and business process in your organization.

Strive for well- rounded employees - our Millenials do want to understand how your organization works and how they can add value to it.

MOOCs can help your organization companies not only just with Employee Retention, but also with possibly developing your next generation of Leaders.

  1. Increase Employee Engagement

That should be obvious. Google it or allow me the time to write a future article on it please.

  1. Encourage Bottom-Up Communication.

Encourage open transparent communication between employees and from employees to Managers.

Set up a modern Internal Communications Framework.
(again, kindly allow me to refer you to my article on

  1. Promote Career Lattices not just Career Ladders

Whether one is a Millennial or a Generation X employee, people will sail for new opportunities if they perceive that are unable to advance in their organization.

The notion of Career Ladders cannot stand on its own any longer. Career Ladders might provide vertical career growth but not an 'integrated holistic' employee growth. They are also limited by existing 'tenured' senior employees and any available opportunities if any. That always creates a growth- bottleneck for all Talent and forces all high-potential employees to leave for lack of growth opportunities.

Putting Career Lattices in place, allows your organization to continually reposition/ re-recruit your employees and even (re)develop them for new roles. This is again not a radical idea - for example, it has been the standard in Japanese organizations for several of decades.

Our Millenials love and embrace the Career Lattice Frameworks, because it enables them to have an exploratory phase of their career instead of been directly 'locked' into some sort of a vertical Career Ladder. On the practical point of you, such a practice allows an organization to reduce any niche skills- gap challenges they might face during recruitment.

Case studies- although relatively few, show that Career Lattices create a better quality of Talent in your organization while increasing its retention. For example: Cisco and Future Workplace, found out that this careermobility helps increase engagement, productivity, and teamwork. FYI: MasterCard and Intel post available projects and encourage all types of employees to contribute (another old 'PMI' concept).

In Conclusion
Unfortunately, a lot of organizations tend to over-emphasize hiring and under-emphasize development of all both new and existing employees, leading to retention issues and creating a constant endless loop of new employee-recruiting.

  • Organizations are now paying more attention to:
  • improving their employee experience,
  • their ongoing interactions with their office environment, customers, supervisors, and peers
  • and anything else that influence employees’ behaviors, interactions, well-being and satisfaction at work.

FYI: GE, L’Oreal, Cisco and other companies are now starting to have managers with titles such as “Director of Employee Experience”, 'Head of Employee Retention', etc.

Just remember that:

  • any Talent Retention activity starts with a plan, and
  • Talent Retention is just one part/ phase of the Employee / Talent Management Lifecycle.

Good Luck and Thank you,
About the Author: Irene Gloria Addison is the owner of HIREghana [Human Intelligence Recruitment], a Leader Ghanaian Recruitment Agency and also a HRM & Organizational Development Consultancy, based in Accra.

Irene welcomes your feedback/ comments/ remarks/ suggestions via your email message to Press [at ] HIREghana can be reached at +233 50 228 5155 or +233 266 555 907

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