Don’t Avoid Turnover, Manage for It
Job titles are a necessary part of any business ecosystem – no matter how flat or hierarchical the organization is. They can be valuable assets carrying prestige, strong motivators for those who aspire to greater heights and at times, a more significant incentive than monetary compensation.
Along with aligning with an employee’s meaning, purpose and desire for flexibility, the value of title should be considered a top priority in today’s tight labour market to ensure an organization’s pursuit of growth and success.
So how do you retain strong performers as they progress in their career while satisfying the quest for a title change?
Understand the motivation for change:
1) Title change shows progression and accomplishment. Today’s technology powered world moves fast, and there’s an expectation, founded or not, that titles will keep pace.
2) Title shapes the perception that others may hold of you, be it a future employer, family, and/or friends.
3) Titles are a means of self-branding across social media sites like LinkedIn and reinforce the value of oneself and the value you can offer to an organization.
At one of our Advisory Board meetings this month, we discussed several ideas around using titles to your advantage in attracting and retaining talent as an employer. Below are three suggestions that you may find worthwhile in your own organizations:
· Frame the opportunity for advancement – Discuss with new hires what their next role is in the company within three years, so they have a line of sight for the title change/promotion. This is not to say that it couldn’t happen sooner, but this way you’re able to establish an attainable goal for your employees to strive for with a timeline.
· Exit them on the way in – Set up a sense of “Duty on Exit” the day you sign on that recruit. An onboarding meeting with a new employee manages their way in and can also address and establish the parameters of their way out in the future. Create a mindset that there is nothing wrong with serving x years in an organization and then progressing to something else to continue to be passionate and personally developing. Take advantage of the situation and manage your people out by assisting them with their next role and nurture the potential for a continued business relationship.
· Establish a career sightline – Encourage employees to challenge themselves and strive for various personal goals and objectives. The sightline can be extremely important when two things are present: (1) there is a limited supply of great talent in what’s required and (2) you have these employees working on elements of your business that are enablers and/or unique differentiators compared to your competition.
If you can appreciate the motivations for the desires for a title change, you can mitigate the possibility of losing great people for potentially a lesser job with a sexier title.