CHAPTER THREE RETENTION AS A PUBLIC HUMAN RESOURCE FUNCTION
Metcalf et al. (2005:11-12) highlight that retention is affected by the entire employment package and not by one specific element only. The package would typically include different elements of employee reward and the intrinsic aspects of the job such as academic teaching and research, job security, work autonomy, career progression, work-life effectiveness, collegiality of colleagues and an enabling working environment. For the purpose of this chapter, the reward elements of development and remuneration are excluded but are described in Chapters 4 and 5. The focus of Chapter 3 is on the intrinsic aspects of the job and their effect on retention.
Once the employee is appointed, the employer faces the challenge of creating a culture within the institution, which appeals to the employee and, at the same time, developing the potential within the employee to the advantage of the employer. The emphasis an employer places on the alignment between individual and institutional performance in strategies and investment of resources is crucial to the degree to which employers will maintain a competitive advantage in the market (Bussin, 2014:1).
The different generational groupings in the workplace were described earlier (see 18.104.22.168.1). While the workforce becomes increasingly diverse, employers are mindful of the wealth of knowledge, experience and skills leaving the institution as a result of baby boomers retiring and generation Y being quite different in terms of their mode of operation (Bussin, 2014:17; Tettey, 2006:1-20). Adequate succession planning does not appear to have taken place to enable suitably qualified and knowledgeable employees within the institution to continue with the same or higher level of competence and skill (Schramm, 2005:6). The employer is forced to consider innovative methods, including the use of technology, to manage competent employees to achieve strategic outcomes (Lawler, 2008). Before employers look for skilled and experienced employees outside the institution to address the skills deficit caused by, inter alia, a high turnover rate, they must focus inward, interrogating current retention mechanisms. Retention mechanisms could be the reward strategy, talent management strategy and the institutional culture in terms of which employers engage, encourage, empower and motivate employees to build lasting careers within the institution (Wickramasinghe, 2007:108-129).
It appears that the challenge to retain talent is being experienced across all employment sectors, including the HEI sector where academics are attracted from within the HEI market as well as from the general labour market. Academe does not appear to be an attractive career option anymore (Pienaar & Bester, 2008:32). Anderson et al. (2002:1- agree that where the profession used to be able to retain a specific calibre of individuals who were passionate about teaching, research and community engagement, the profession does not appear to be having the same effect anymore. While the crisis facing academe to retain talented academics appears to be well documented in literature, what appears to be a gap in practice is the co-ordinated and integrated effort by education leaders to retain competent academics (Netswera et al., 2005:36-40).
In Chapter 3, the researcher has reported on relevant literature pertaining to the retention of employees to identify gaps, best practices, the best fit and, most importantly, a strategic fit to the institution. How well employers manage the expectations, career needs, communication styles and learning needs of each generation in the workplace will affect their ability to attract, develop, engage and retain skilled and experienced employees
With a widening gap between the demand for and supply of skills, the successful employers look to integrate their strategies, policies and practices proactively to become the employer of choice (Bussin, 2014:25; Metcalf et al., 2005). What works in one industry, will not necessarily work in the next, requiring employers to implement a retention strategy that is sensitive to internal changes, current initiatives in the general labour market and dynamics that may be relevant to the specific industry in which the employer is located (Tettey, 2006:5-20). A one-size-fits-all retention strategy is not the answer neither is procuring additional funds to improve the retention challenge. Employers are required to understand the needs of the employee from a talent development, employee reward and institutional culture perspective, implying that racial, generational and gender segments would need to be considered. Where it might not be practical to individualise employee reward offerings, HR metrics, especially in the field of employee data, could enable the employer to customise reward offerings to suit segments within the workforce (Fitz-enz, 2010:1-368).
A significant shift away from past practices sees line managers playing an increasing role in the interdependent relationship with HR officials towards effectively managing employees, ranging from the management of their performance to recruitment, selection, training and development (Dessler, 2014:32). This implies that it is necessary for line managers who are in direct contact with employees to be empowered so that they can be an extension of the HR manager.
Employer value proposition (EVP)
The EVP was described earlier (see 1.1.3). Employers who implement strategies aimed at benefitting the employees in silos and who fail to see the competitive advantage in integrating strategies and aligning them to the core institutional strategy may not experience much success in retaining talented employees (Kochanski, 2004:26-33). Employers are often frustrated at their inability to retain talented employees in whom they have invested (Corporate Leadership Council [CLC], 2002b:5-45; Michaels, Handfield-Jones & Axelrod, 2001:25-199; Munsamy & Venter, 2009:1-9; Sartain & Schumann, 2006:1-272). It appears that what is required is for employers to improve the entire experience that is offered by the institution and make this as rewarding as possible in exchange for the employees’ contribution to the institution (SHRM, 2011:7).
A common mistake by employers is not considering the effect of the entire work experience on the employee. This ranges from how conducive the work environment is to collegial relationships in the workplace. The termination of employment is not necessarily a bad thing especially if employees consistently perform poorly. However, the risk of dysfunctional turnover is significant when the EVP is perceived to be less competitive than that of other institutions (Munsamy & Venter, 2009:1-9). A differentiated EVP might appeal to different segments in the workforce (Sartain & Schumann, 2006:50-100). Bussin (2014:125) adds that a differentiated EVP not only motivates talented employees to join the employer but also encourages current experienced and skilled employees to stay.
This implies that the link between the EVP and retention is the talent management of the employee.
The talent management strategy
With the immense competition for talented employees, employers appear to have shifted their focus from recruiting talent in the labour market to exploring the management of talent in employees at the institution. This implies that employers seek to optimise internal processes so that the right talent is available at the right time in the right place in the right capacity to achieve the strategic and operational goals of the institution (Bussin, 2014:19). CIPD (2012:1) defines talent management as a cyclic process involving the identification, recruitment, development, engagement, deployment and, ultimately, the retention of competent employees who add value to an institution. This implies that retention is only one aspect of talent management; other dimensions may include the attraction, development and deployment dimensions (see 1.1.3). Dessler (2014:45) defines the talent management process as the employer being focused on how high-performing and high-potential employees in the institution are managed towards their retention for as long as possible.
Employers often overlook key opportunities to affect the retention of talented employees. Bussin (2014:19) encourages employers to be strategic in their policies and procedures and to utilise every opportunity to convince the employee that they are employed by a competitive institution. This implies that employers need to consider the effect of the institutional brand that is projected, the effectiveness of the recruitment and selection process, and the valued-add of integrating new employees into their workplace.
On a practical level, Bussin (2014:20) argues that employers often invest heavily in recruitment and selection processes but do not extract the full return on investment. A case in point is that employers may appoint a suitable candidate, possibly from outside the institution, but neglect to capitalise on internal candidates who were interviewed and who might have shown competence. It is suggested that competent internal candidates could be mentored and coached in their current position towards the filling of vacancies for which they might be suitable. Dessler (2014:45-50) suggests that the employer should consider minute details involved in engaging employees, such as a nurturing environment, supportive line managers and adds that a regular measurement of whether employees are engaged with their work as well as an analysis of exit interviews would assist the employer to identify gaps in the talent management strategy.
There is no formula for the successful management of talented employees (Lee, 2001:1-9). Employers are required to be flexible in their policies and practices to adapt to the changing needs of talented employees. Employers must distinguish between best practice and best fit. A best practice in managing talented employees within the HR field will not necessarily suit the climate of a particular employer (Torrington et al., 2009). This implies that retention mechanisms may need to be customised to suit the unique profile of talented employees in an institution. Bussin (2014:19) points to talent management not being a new concept, as employers have been developing the potential within employees for years. What employers are now required to do is to adapt their thinking and processes slightly to suit the current climate in the workplace. Bussin (2014:19) explains that where HR managers might have managed talent-related initiatives in the past, collaboration was now required between the HR official and the line manager to nurture the talent in employees and expose experienced and skilled employees to developmental assignments, which enable him or her to exercise his or her hidden potential. Such assignments may include, amongst others, mentorship, coaching, shadowing and job coaching (Unisa, 2013d).
Due to the increase in life expectancy, different generations of employees might be employed at the same time in an institution (Lancaster & Stillman, 2003:1-384). Salkowitz (2008:47) emphasises the need for employers to understand the unique life experiences and aspirations of the baby boomers, generation X and generation Y employees as the understanding could present opportunities to gain a competitive advantage in the market. Salkowitz (2008:3) highlights the advantage of researching the strengths and weaknesses of the different generations in the workplace and adapting the retention strategy to suit the needs of the different generations. The younger generation may benefit from coaching and mentoring by the older generation while the older generation in the workplace could gain from generation Y’s practical knowledge and understanding of technology (Zemke et al., 2000:153). (This implies that the management of talent within an employee is prioritised within the workplace. If the workforce consists of a mix of younger and older employees, there would be complementary and conflicting engagements in the workplace, and young employees could have a positive effect on a competitive employer, again elevating the talent management of the employee (Macky et al., 2008:857-861; Underwood, 2007a:43).
Torrington et al. (2009:16-18) point to the effect that talent management processes have not only on the employment contract between the employer and the different generations of the employee but also on the psychological contract between parties.
In managing employees, the employer tends to concentrate on the deliverables agreed to in the written contract that is negotiated between parties. However, Gomez-Mejia et al. (2010:16-17) point to employees’ expectations being especially aligned to the psychological contract with the employer, which is what the employee understands to be the reciprocal commitments in the employment relationship, which started during the recruitment process. Once the employee settles into the position, he or she might experience unfair practices in his or her workplace or different departments working in silos. This might result in the employee’s expectations changing, which will influence his or her behaviour in the workplace (Lee, 2001:1-12; Rousseau, 1989:121-139). Rousseau (2004:120-127) highlights that employees create their own psychological contract through their recruitment experience, career development opportunities exposed to and reward received for the work that is performed. In the psychological contract, the employee tries to align his or her expectations of the employer with what the employer offers in the negotiated employment contract. Since the fundamental nature of the psychological contract is unspoken between parties and somewhat subjective, the employer might be challenged in managing the employee’s expectations. To limit the misalignment between the psychological contract and the written contract, Lee (2001:1-9) emphasises that the employer would need to communicate a consistent message to the employee to build a relationship of trust with the employer
CHAPTER ONE GENERAL OVERVIEW
1.2 BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY
1.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.4 MAIN RESEARCH QUESTION
1.5 SUB-RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.6 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
1.7 RESEARCH DESIGN
1.9 COLLECTION OF DATA
1.10 ANALYSIS OF PERTINENT STATUTORY AND POLICY-RELATED DOCUMENTS
1.11 LIMITATION OF STUDY
1.12 ETHICS CLEARANCE
1.13 STRUCTURE OF THE CHAPTERS
1.14 KEY TERMINOLOGY
CHAPTER TWO RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION AS A PUBLIC HUMAN RESOURCE FUNCTION
2.2 THE RESEARCH RECORD
2.3 THE PLACE OF PUBLIC HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN THE DISCIPLINE OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
2.4 A REVIEW OF LITERATURE ON RECRUITMENT
CHAPTER THREE RETENTION AS A PUBLIC HUMAN RESOURCE FUNCTION
3.2 RETENTION STRATEGY
3.3 REGULAR REVIEW OF THE RETENTION STRATEGY
CHAPTER FOUR TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT AS A PUBLIC HUMAN RESOURCE FUNCTION
4.2 DEFINING TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
4.3 PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL
4.4 MOTIVATIONAL THEORIES
4.5 EMPLOYEE TRAINING
4.6 DEVELOPING EMPLOYEES
CHAPTER FIVE REMUNERATION AS A PUBLIC HUMAN RESOURCE FUNCTION
5.2 DEFINITION OF REMUNERATION
5.3 BEHAVIOURAL EFFECT OF EMPLOYEE REWARD
5.4 OBJECTIVES OF REMUNERATION
5.5 INFLUENCE ON REMUNERATION POLICIES
5.6 BEST PRACTICES IN REMUNERATION MANAGEMENT TOWARDS EMPLOYEE RETENTION
CHAPTER SIX ANALYSIS OF STATUTES AND POLICY PROVISIONS
6.2 UNIT OF ANALYSIS AND OBSERVATION
6.3 STATUTORY FRAMEWORK
6.4 POLICY FRAMEWORK
6.5 HUMAN RESOURCE-RELATED POLICIES: UNISA, UP AND WITS
CHAPTER SEVEN RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
7.2 RESEARCH PARADIGM
7.3 DATA COLLECTION INSTRUMENT AND PROCESS
7.4 SECONDARY DATA
7.5 RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY OF THE RESEARCH STUDY
7.6 MANAGEMENT OF POTENTIAL RISKS
7.7 APPLICATION FOR ETHICAL RESEARCH CLEARANCE
7.8 LIMITATION OF RESEARCH STUDY
CHAPTER EIGHT ANALYSIS OF DATA OBTAINED FROM THE SELECTED INSTITUTIONS
8.2 DATA COLLECTION AT THE SELECTED INSTITUTIONS
8.3 ANALYSIS OF THE SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE 1
8.4 ANALYSIS OF SURVEY RESULTS PERTAINING TO RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION
8.5 ANALYSIS OF SURVEY RESULTS PERTAINING TO RETENTION IN ACADEME
8.6 ANALYSIS OF SURVEY RESULTS PERTAINING TO TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
8.7 ANALYSIS OF SURVEY RESULTS PERTAINING TO REMUNERATION
8.8 ANALYSIS OF SURVEY RESULTS PERTAINING TO TURNOVER INTENTION
8.9 ANALYSIS OF THE INTERVIEW DATA
CHAPTER NINE RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION
9.2 LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH STUDY
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