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CCH® HR MANAGEMENT 11/14/07

Survey shows employers use coaching and mentoring to retain high-potential, front-line workers

Employers are using coaching and mentoring more often as ways to retain high-potential and front-line employees, according to a survey on the most popular ways to retain these types of employees conducted by ClearRock, an outplacement and executive coaching firm headquartered in Boston. In addition, monetary incentives such as better compensation and benefits are also a top retention method for high-potential and front-line employees, according to the survey.

High-potential employees are workers who employers have identified as future leaders based on their background, testing, and performance. Front-line employees are workers who are usually a customer's first contact with a business, such as salespersons, customer service representatives and other sales and support staff.

The top five ways employers are trying to retain high-potential employees are: selecting them more carefully (63 percent), providing better training (61 percent), coaching (54 percent), better compensation and benefits (52 percent) and improved orientation and assimilation programs (51 percent). The top five methods employers are using to retain front-line employees are: selecting them more carefully (69 percent), better orientation and assimilation programs (57 percent), exit interviews (56 percent), improved training (54 percent) and better compensation and benefits (44 percent).

Of the 94 organizations with operations nationwide that participated in the survey, 56 percent have implemented new or revised retention programs for high-potential employees, and 52 percent have implemented new or revised retention programs for front-line employees.

"Companies today are using coaching and mentoring more often as ways to retain high-potential and front-line employees than they did in our 2005 retention survey on the top ways to retain senior-level executives and middle managers," said Annie Stevens, managing partner for ClearRock. "More companies today have decided to grow their future leaders internally, rather than recruiting from outside their organizations, and are making opportunities for employees to develop in their careers further down the organizational ladder and sooner in their careers," said Stevens.

Mentoring is also being used more often as a method to retain high-potential and front-line employees than it was as a way to retain senior-level executives and middle managers in ClearRock's 2005 survey. Mentoring is being used by 43 percent of employers as a way to retain high-potential employees, and by 36 percent of employers as a way to retain front-line employees. In ClearRock's 2005 retention survey, 14 percent of companies were using mentoring as a way to retain senior-level executives, and 22 percent were using mentoring as a retention method for middle managers.

"Mentoring is another example of how more companies are investing in the development of their employees sooner," added Greg Gostanian, managing partner for ClearRock. "Pairing experienced employees with high-potential employees helps to quicken the development of tomorrow's leaders, in addition to promoting retention."

For additional information on this and other HR topics, consult CCH Human Resources Management or Personnel Practices/Communications.

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