Overcome Retention Challenges In A Diverse Environment
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The Special Challenges Of A Diverse Work Force

Retention gets more challenging when there is a high diversity in work force consisted of different ages, races, part-time versus full-time status, physical abilities, etc. Companies have both advantages and struggles through differences of the work force. “One size fits all” strategies to keep the good people are not efficient anymore and companies need to construct creative and specialized strategies to raise their retention rate.

The Contingent Work Force

Contingent work force members including part timers, contractors and temporary employees, bring some advantages and challenges for managers and HR departments.

One of the two primary advantages, flexibility occurs as the companies can customize the workers’ schedules according to the workflow and demands. Other advantage of affordability ensures companies to save money on payroll tax, health benefits, compensation and some other expenses.

On the other hand, high turnover which causes unpredictability and instability; a low level of loyalty and growing demand within these workers for the same benefits that regular employees have are the most significant challenges.

Now, many companies are developing programs to retain contingent work force as it is a valuable resource for companies.

Younger Workers

Younger workers usually bring energy, freshness and state-of-the-art technical knowledge for the company. Some workers who are often referred to as “Gen-Xers” pose some difficulties.

One of these difficulties is that young workers usually see their current companies as a stepping-stone to their next jobs. Another issue may occur due to the misunderstanding between two generations at work as younger generations may easily adapt to the rapid changes and flat management structure than the older ones. Lastly, many young employees want their employer to define a career ladder for them that will let them build up to a level of compensation.

Surely, there are strategies to fulfill younger workers’ needs and retain the valuable ones:

  1. Understand their background and customize their work accordingly
  2. Young people are aware of the downsizing possibility and the truth that nothing is certain in corporate world; as a result, they are loyal to their own skills than any other factor. These people see job adjustment and stretch assignment as essential. At the same time, they are comfortable with instant-communication devices such as e-mail, instant messaging or Internet so tend to perform task quickly. Short-deadline, multifaceted projects may be especially more charming for them.

  3. Include professional development in your value proposition to the group
  4. You can show commitment to support and clarify career paths of the younger workers.

  5. Lead through learning
  6. Younger workers attach importance to learning and developing new skills. You should provide teaching & coaching on a regular basis as well as mentoring & internship programs and let the new recruits learn about the rest of the company with presentations about organization’s departments and jobs.

  7. Seek continuous, independent feedback from all employees
  8. Benefit from their everyday learning by gathering continuous feedback through new online tools.

Test Invite’s Online Feedback Solutions can support your company to create such tools.

50+ Employees

Employees over 50 years old draw interest for two specific reasons. First, as they represent a sizeable amount of the total company’s employees, secondly as these employees have outstanding knowledge and experience and therefore they represent the company’s major intellectual capital.

Most of these mature workers possess hard-won life skills such as reliability, patience, objectivity that one can gain over years of experience; nevertheless, they pose several challenges for companies. As they are reaching their retirement day, the whole departments may be decimated or reconstructed. Older workers tend to seek for an early retirement, a second career or a better job in regions with blooming economy. Some tips to keep these employees on your patrol and productive are:

  1. Ask mature workers what they need
  2. Open a conversation to find out their needs. Many 50+ employees care more about a long-term good health insurance than a big pay rise.

  3. Support flexibility
  4. Many employees prefer to be work part-time, job-share or telecommute as well as interested in sabbaticals or unpaid time off, allowance to do community projects. You may consider letting them reduce their working hours by phased retirements.

  5. Make their work interesting
  6. Many boomers want autonomy, a sense of meaning and continual learning so you can consider redesigning the way tasks are done. Let them work on their own and provide training to develop new skills, especially on technology.

  7. Tailor your compensation system
  8. You do not have to apply the same payment system for everyone in your company. While younger employees may want cash, the older employees may prefer extra contribution for their retirement fund.

Female Employees

The rise of women in corporate world is declining as many women are discouraged by the “glass ceiling” effect which hinders their improvements, eventually it results in a brain drain. Four strategies to use against this brain drain are:

  1. Analyze the current situation
  2. Be acquainted with the women in upper-management positions and talk to them to find out what they care about and to find ways to answer their needs.

  3. Eradicate “invisible” barriers to women’s success
  4. Be aware of your corporate environment and of the barriers for the female employees. Provide them career-enhancing opportunities such as line positions, special project assignments, committee leadership and appointment to high visibility teams.

  5. Cultivate support throughout the organization
  6. Hold a supervisor to achieve company’s gender equality goals, assign an ombudsman to deal with bias problems, send a word to draw attention of a broad range of leadership styles and invitation to top talents.

  7. Promote the understanding that women’s ways of managing are good for business
  8. Today’s study argues the old that says women should behave like men in order to succeed. Numerous female entrepreneurs particularly offer more flexibility, understanding and open management style that provides a vital competitive edge.

Within many ways to tackle with gender concerns, communication, creativity and a proactive approach will be always helpful.

Race, Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, and Other Differences

Unfortunately, discrimination because of differences in race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical appearance or other characteristics has being an issue in the workplace and it carries a high price for businesses.

Retaining every high skilled employee will provide a good business sense so it is important to sustain a diverse work force and benefit from it. Keep in mind that the nonmainstream people are alert to any insincere behaviors aimed at mollifying them and will be watching if your organization keeps the promises that are given or not. Following the four steps identified with respect to woman will be useful regarding this issue. Also, beware of promoting unqualified nonmainstream employees to avoid alienating of others in the company.

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