Schneider Electric New Zealand HRD shares six tips for better employee retention

The Great Resignation is coming – here's how to hold onto your staff

Schneider Electric New Zealand HRD shares six tips for better employee retention

Thanks to the war for talent and New Zealand’s closed borders, many businesses are focusing their efforts on within. By switching strategy to existing, underutilised talent and investing in upskilling, the result may be a more cost-effective and resilient workforce.

Speaking to HRD, Jared Dinneen, HR & business operations leader at Schneider Electric New Zealand, said high retention rates are generally associated with a healthy company culture, plenty of internal opportunities, and a benefit to the business’s bottom line. Of the 145-strong team at Schneider Electric New Zealand, 48% have a tenure of at least 10 years. He shared six key tips for improving retention in times of uncertainty.

Make flexibility a core company practice

The pandemic has made the option of flexible working a necessity, rather than a perk, in industries where employees can work from home. Not only does flexible work improve engagement, offer more autonomy, and a better work/life balance, it also opens the door to a more diverse workforce.

“Workplace flexibility makes companies more agile and attractive, enabling a high-performance culture based on behaviours and results, as long as it is part of a wider wellbeing programme,” Dinneen said.

“One of our managers recently shared their experience of encouraging parents in their team to take the morning off to be with their children on the first day of each term, or to attend special moments at school.

“This kind of opportunity eliminates any anxiety from the team about spending important time with family, and it supports a healthy culture in which talented people want to remain.”

Schneider’s approach to flexibility was recognised in this year’s HRD Awards New Zealand, scooping excellence awardee in the Workplace Flexibility Program category.

Read more: Flexible working: Is it given or is it earned?

Focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion

Thanks to Schneider’s global targets, the company is striving for women to make up 50% of all hires, 40% of frontline managers and 30% of leaders by 2025. Dinneen said a comprehensive flexibility program is essential to shift the dial on diversity.

“It is in line with a wider social perspective that there should not be any gender-based limits on opportunity in work – and combined with a well-structured flexibility policy, it means people, more often women, who have stepped out of the workforce to care for others can re-enter and be retained in work on terms that are more favourable to personal responsibilities,” he said.

The company is also doubling the opportunities to bring millennial and Gen Z workers into the business through intern, apprenticeship and graduate programs.

Invest in internal talent

Schneider relies on its own digital Open Talent Market platform to share expertise, mentor opportunities and projects among the 130,000-strong workforce. The tool uses AI to match an employee’s profile with internal opportunities, opening the door to grow their career without leaving the company.

“We can tap into our global team of 130,000 to work on a specific project, taking expertise, thought leadership and experiences from around the world to help us expedite and work with agility on a business opportunity in New Zealand,” he said.

“It is an excellent resourcing tool for the business and a development tool for people, who can take charge of their own career, grow their skill base and get more exposure, including mentoring.”

Read more: Top 50 companies with the happiest employees

Use technology to maintain connection

Without a sense of connection to the business and their colleagues, it’s easy for employees to become disconnected while working remotely – either out of choice or because of lockdowns. But technology can be a way to connect beyond simply ‘work’. Dinneen said Schneider utilised tech by launching the #ourpeople campaign to connect employees via short videos.

They also started a monthly Coffee Roulette as a way to connect colleagues once a month at random. From sharing a coffee with the CEO to someone in a totally different part of the business, it has helped bring people together and foster a strong team culture.

Put safety, ethics and mental health front and centre

“Diversity and inclusion policies are increasingly driving improved business outcomes and a more engaged workforce, which goes hand in hand with mental health,” Dinneen said. “At Schneider, all people leaders and functional leaders have completed the St John Mental Health First Aid course, managers are undertaking inclusion training both online and small group workshops and every staff member will complete a digital knowledge check, which covers everything from cybersecurity and the digital economy through to collaboration tools, AI and cloud computing.”

Build in ways to give back

Volunteer leave has become more commonplace among workplaces as businesses look to level up their EVP and focus on people-centric policies. Schneider offers 21 hours of annual paid volunteer leave each year, and Dinneen said it has been used for beach clean-ups, preparing meals at Ronald McDonald House, Eat My Lunch and blood donation.  The company also has a salary giving program where Schneider will match the percentage donated to a charity or cause.

The entries for the 2022 HRD Awards New Zealand have now opened. Click here to see the full list of categories and submit your entry.

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