3 Ways to Scale Retention Strategies Across a Global Workforce

HIGHLIGHTS

1. Retention of top global talent starts with a solid compensation strategy.
2. Build a learning program.
3. Double-down on equality, diversity and inclusion programs.

I recently read about a company that earned a 98 percent employee retention rate by implementing three key steps related to culture, improved interviewing techniques and enhancing its onboarding program.

It seems so simple, right?

Unfortunately, increasingly global processes and business practices — combined with the specific visa stipulations that accompany hiring and transferring global employees — require savvy HR departments to create bespoke retention strategies that scale across an enterprise while feeling customized to local markets.

Here are three retention strategies for your global workforce that will have you considering the needs of all employees — in your home office and beyond.

1. Retention of top global talent starts with a solid compensation strategy.

You only get one chance to make a first impression. If you hire expats in America or have employees beyond the U.S. borders, your HR department should be staffed with a global compensation analyst.

Ideally, the compensation analyst is knowledgeable about visa requirements and the necessary methods to hire and onboard a foreign worker in a local market. At a bare minimum, this person will be your guide and help you craft a compelling offer that includes the right level of bonus and perks without giving away the farm.

If you do not have a global compensation analyst on your team, make the case for change and hire one. A competitive offer that highlights all aspects of your total rewards plan will help you retain your best and brightest workers in the long run.

2. Build a learning program.

Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte and a noted thought leader in the HR industry, believes that learning is a perennial issue that will perpetually challenge human resources professionals and executives alike.

“The research shows that companies with high-performing learning environments rank in the top for employee engagement — demonstrating how important learning is to engaging and empowering people,” Bersin wrote.

If your workers cannot see a future within your organization, their tenure is limited to their current job.

When thinking about retention, think about how your workforce needs to learn and grow. Partner with a consulting firm to audit your current professional education offerings. Benchmark your organization against the competition. What do you offer beyond immediate, task-related courses? How can you do better for your workers?

There’s also global mobility: Millennials, in particular, value the opportunity to travel around the world for work. A 2016 Deloitte survey shows that the chance for international travel is among the most important factors for Millennials in deciding which company to work for. Consider how you might be able to formalize a rotational program that opens up opportunities for your employees to live all over the world.

Also, remember that you are an employee. What possibilities are there for you to learn and grow in your company? HR can look to its experience to benchmark how you might be serving your employees.

3. Double-down on equality, diversity and inclusion programs.

People do not quit jobs, they quit toxic cultures. Many hiring managers and leaders have assumptions about expats and foreign nationals that appear in subtle and unhealthy ways during the interview process. Those assumptions may also drive a recent hire to exit an organization too quickly.

If you want to improve retention, it is time to look in the mirror. I believe that everyone deserves a bias-free interview process — as much as that is possible. Once hired, our employees must feel enabled and appreciated at work. It is why I encourage HR leaders to invest in training that will help their colleagues examine how they might be subconsciously stereotyping applicants, candidates and employees.

Global workforce retention starts with sensitivity and an appreciation of everyone who participates in the workforce. All employees — from the CEO to the security guards who work the overnight shift at your remote locations — must understand how their individual actions make an impact on their fellow employees.

Start small, define your retention goals, and try having conversations with your staff and leaders about their ideas to retain the best and brightest workers in your organization. The chances are good that someone in your company has three smart ideas on how to keep global employees that deserve immediate consideration.