January 9, 2023

Why Competency Science is the Key to Solving the Retention Crisis

The Great Resignation of 2021, left a gaping hole in the labor force that remains a persistent issue to this day. Just in January 2022, 4.3 million people quit voluntarily. The number is down since its all-time high of 4.5 million in November 2021, however, this is still a high number of people resigning in droves. 

With such a high overall turnover rate in the US, companies are scrambling to find more effective methods to solve for the employee retention crisis.

Companies are experiencing a retention crisis due to a lack of data on their current employees’ competencies

When a company creates a granular database of the abilities of their current employees, they gain an understanding of where there are gaps in the firm. With Claira, they can also identify which employees can be utilized to fill those gaps. This, on top of employee engagement, makes it so employees are less likely to churn. When slotting people into roles where they are positioned to succeed, they will quit less.

The key to employee retention is to have “utility players” - employees that are cross-functional and can be utilized across different areas of work. Employee turnover rates have risen 50-75% higher since pre-pandemic. In addition to this, it also takes 18% longer for companies to fill roles. Currently, there is a gap between vacant roles that require certain talents, and candidates to fill them. If companies had access to their employees’ competencies, it would make it much easier to determine the best fit matches for these vacant positions. 

Once companies identify the utility players in their workforce, the next step is to maintain and sustain them at the company. One of the major reasons employees quit is due to lack of career growth opportunities. To ensure employee longevity, it’s important to identify career development issues through strength spotting, encouraging career experimentation, and rewarding managers for retaining people and supporting potentials within the organization (not just within their team). It’s easier to understand as well as make use of employee strengths when there is awareness of their competencies and how they can be applied within the company. 

Instead of the expensive and time consuming external hiring process, it is more effective to undergo career experimentation with current employees by deconstructing vacant roles into a competency profile that highlights what is needed, and can be split between the current workforce. Not only does this save on time and money, this gives an opportunity to make use of the current company’s talents that previously went unused. Managers who keep an active profile on their teams’ abilities and are able to match those abilities to company projects, and support employees in growing beyond their teams.

Once companies have a diverse workforce with full data profiles on their competencies, it becomes easier to utilize cross-functional talents and to fill in vacancies through skills set division. 

But how do companies sustain these talents? 70% of today’s top performers lack critical attributes essential to their success in future roles. These critical attributes include, ability, engagement, and aspiration. The level of employee engagement and aspiration has to be discerned separately. Their level of engagement and their desire for recognition should be encouraged by company culture. By encouraging a culture that emphasizes employee competencies and values upskilling, employees feel supported in their career growth and even high-achievers will choose to stay rather than feeling isolated and resigning for better opportunities.

Data is crucial when it comes to solving the employee retention crisis. The more data companies have on their employees’ competencies, the better the chance of employee retention. It’s important to make use of employees who are “utility players” and hold flexible competency sets that can be used to plug vacant positions. Using competency science to profile the competencies of current employees, companies can fill in current gaps within the company while at the same time, encouraging internal employee career growth, development and ultimately, employee retention.

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