Investment in employee education, technology, and practising internal mobility have been identified as key strategies for retaining talent in an organisation.
Companies and countries that place a high emphasis on education and training stand a statistically proven 85 percent better chance of retaining talent, according to Olatunbosun Alake, commissioner of Innovation Science and Technology for Lagos.
Alake said this on Thursday at the Talent Management Conference and Exposition 2023 organised by BusinessDay in Lagos with the theme ‘Talent in the Age of Mobility’.
“In an age where talent is the most important resource and the world is smaller due to mobility, talent goes to where it is valued,” he said, highlighting the critical role of education in nurturing talent amidst a dynamically changing workforce landscape.
The commissioner said that the percentage of a company’s or country’s annual budget allocated to education can directly impact its retention rate.
According to him, there is a direct correlation between education investments and talent retention.
Alake cited Nigeria as an example, saying the percentage of education to the national budgets in 2019-2020 was about seven percent, in comparison to developed countries like the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, and United States, where it ranges between 15 and 25 percent of the budget.
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“If education is not prioritised, there’s little our talent can do,” he said.
Uche Lotana-Anajemba, manager of business, partnering diversity and inclusion at Seplat Energy Plc, said that in a survey carried out on what employers think employees want, money came fifth, with learning and growth as employee’s top priority.
“The survey shows data from different organisations, and they said what employers think people want. The survey actually showed that money came in fifth place. People want a place where they have opportunities to learn and to grow,” she said.
Lotana-Anajemba said people want a place where they have opportunities to learn and where they see what they do as meaningful work.
Similarly, a 2022 national survey by Strategic Education America showed tuition benefits could help improve employee loyalty and retention, she said.
“62 percent of those who took the survey were likely to change jobs if recruited by another employer that offers better tuition benefits – even if pay and other benefits were the same,” it said.
“Technology is a key driver for talent retention because it reduces manual processes, helps in better collaboration, and provides a broader view of the organisation,” Lotana-Anajemba said.
She highlighted the significance of video conferencing tools in facilitating virtual meetings, eliminating the need for extensive travel while maintaining real-time connections.
“Technology enables collaboration between organisations, particularly in places where you have people working in multiple regions or multiple locations,” she said.
She pointed out the efficiency gained through collaboration tools and the broader organisational view facilitated by technology.
Moyowa Uranje-Odueso, lead, talent acquisition at SeamlessHR, proposed a retention strategy, encouraging employees to express their interests and explore different departments within an organisation.
“You have employees who can serve you in multiple departments, but you need to open up. Obviously, it might not happen immediately because that might disrupt business but there’s a leeway of two to three months for them to prepare the business for them to be able to explore other departments,” she said.
Speaking on diversity and inclusion in talent management, Uranje-Odueso highlighted the importance of hearing every voice, urging companies to adopt collaboration and ensure gender balance and equality.
“It is important that every voice is heard as much as possible, so that you have the gathering of the best opinions in the room,” she said. “Every forward-thinking company needs to adopt diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging.”
During a fireside chat at the event, Deji Adebola, HR director at Guinness Nigeria (Diageo), spoke on the evolving role of HR. “HR has transitioned from being merely administrative to becoming a strategic business partner, offering trusted business advice.”
Adebola also emphasised the increasing importance of HR in driving business objectives, saying: “Companies have realised they cannot relegate the people part of their growth and strategy to the back end, so it’s crucial to work closely with HR to drive the business objectives.”