Staff Development Strategies Are Key, Kevin Britten



Why would a recruiter, the owner of an executive search agency like me, be interested in the retention and development of staff?

Many people think that a recruiter simply wants to help staff move from one organisation to another. Surely recruiters just spend their days identifying and screening candidates for their clients, carrying out assessments and interviews and developing shortlists with the goal of supporting their clients’ talent acquisition.

All that is true, but through working as partners and vendors with numerous companies, recruiters have a special perspective on the different cultures, management styles, systems and procedures of organisations. Recruiters prefer working with the best employers in any market and we spend quite a lot of our time building our knowledge of the companies we work with; that way we can provide the best level of service to them.

We see up close the attitudes and approaches different companies have to problems—and staff turnover is always a problem.

We see every staff retention strategy being used, from the “serfdom” model where a company tries to retain its staff by simply refusing to give them permission to resign, all the way to the more modern companies retaining their staff by counter-offering (i.e. by matching the package that a potential new employer is offering).

Top Recruitment’s Kevin Britten believes valuing your staff is key to avoiding high turnover.

An increase in salary is often the reason an employee is leaving, so in this case matching the offer usually works. Paying salary at market rates in a rapidly developing economy like Cambodia is a challenge. High demand for quality staff means that pay-rates can change rapidly, so all companies have to keep an eye on what their competitors are offering. This should be a given; after all, the company accepts that it is part of a competitive economy when selling its products or services, so it has to accept that the labour market is also competitive.

However, there is plenty of research which shows that roughly only 50 percent of employees who plan to change jobs give money as the reason. The other 50 percent give the primary reason as “not being valued”.

This is something the recruiter sees very clearly. Every day we talk to people who are looking to move jobs and they all want to move to an employer who will value them. However, what exactly does being valued as an employee mean?

I would suggest that companies which have active staff development strategies and policies are most likely to be the ones that value their employees. A company that values its employees develops them, and a company that develops its employees generally has an easier task when it comes to retaining them.

Staff development policies are top-down, meaning that the highest level of management must have buy-in, and the company’s culture itself is often formed around the strategies. These are the companies which a recruiter most likes working with because they are the most attractive to the best talent.

These companies usually have a number of key features which are generally easy to spot:

  • They have a positive workplace culture, meaning that employees are trusted and empowered in a systematic way.
  • They usually have mentors in place for the junior staff and a policy which includes growth and development for all staff.
  • Generally, the staff works in a culture of collaboration and co-operate with each other on projects.
  • All the staff have discussed with their management their career path and staff development plan.
  • There is a culture of appreciation, recognition and promotion which locks into the staff development plans.
  • Management recognises the importance of work-life balance and builds this into work plans.
  • Staff training is considered central rather than peripheral to company activities.

Basically, the recruiter sees a happy, positive workplace when we have contact with the company. We see staff who are positive about their work and this positivity also generally correlates with commercial success. The positive culture of the workplace generates positive employees who build the business; the companies which have placed employee retention and development are generally the most successful in their sector.

This article was written by Kevin Britten, Managing Director at Top Recruitment. If you are also interested in sharing your business-related articles with B2B Cambodia, please send us a message to [email protected]



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