Staff Retention Strategies and Informatica

Staff Retention Strategies

Ian Creamer, HR Director for EMEA at Informatica, a provider of enterprise data integration software, believes awareness of staff retention strategies need to be part of a company’s DNA.

Staff Retention Strategies and Informatica

More than 2,100 companies worldwide use Informatica products to manage their enterprise data more efficiently, reducing complexity and ensuring consistency. It employs around 1,000 people in the EMEA region.

Ian Creamer is responsible for talent management, recruitment and retention. One of the few HR professionals interviewed for this series given a specific remit for employee retention, he still believes it should be viewed as integral to the HR process.

Companies continue to pay more attention to recruitment rather than staff retention strategies. It’s an ongoing issue which is costing organisations resources.

Ian said, “There is a less obvious and in-your-face cost to staff retention. It’s often seen as something that companies don’t have control over because the biggest bulk of the cost is hidden.

“Recruitment is fairly easy. You know you can negotiate with recruitment companies for instance or you can hire internally. It’s a simple black and white cost.

“Training is also something that’s fairly easy to budget, although the benefits aren’t seen as immediately.”

Taking Control of Staff Retention

By highlighting employee retention as part of the HR process, Informatica have taken control of the issue.

Ian Creamer said, “There are some external factors that influence it but we’ve taken steps to really tackle our staff turnover and its lowered significantly over the last six to nine months.”

great{with}talent’s employee survey was used to find out what was important to the workforce. The staff survey showed that individual development and personal growth were the biggest issues for most people.

Ian explained, “It’s very easy to just see money or cash incentives as the way to keep those employees who are doing a great job. How they could develop to benefit themselves and the organisation could easily get over-looked and if you’re not careful, people become stagnant.

The mechanisms for career progression weren’t as clearly defined as in larger organisations such as IBM or Microsoft. Developing people is now much more of a priority.

Ian added, “We’ve put a huge focus on individual development and growth. As well as learning and development mechanisms, such as new career progression initiatives, we have improved training for both our managers and for our individual contributors.”

R&D forms a large proportion of Informatica’s expenditure and resource. Importance has also been placed on keeping employees excited about the technology as well as about the company itself.

Ian continued, “It’s about rotating people, giving people time to go away and focus on new technologies that are coming through and spreading that knowledge throughout the team.”

“Remuneration is always an important issue. Having listened to our employees, we’ve been very up front in our approach to how we pay people. Pay is now more closely related to performance. And, of course, we make sure that our salaries are as competitive as possible.”

Counting the Cost of Attrition

Informatica is dependent on the knowledge and skills of its workforce. Attrition can therefore have a huge impact on such an organisation.

Ian said, “Losing people from our sales team damages customer relationships and has a direct impact on the revenue we are able to generate.

“Losing people from the R&D team can slow product development down, with the potential to endanger launch dates. Software companies are all about people: people who have the knowledge and understanding of how our products work.

“When people leave, their knowledge can be lost to the company forever. If you lose a proportion of that each year, it just makes it incredibly difficult to compete in what is a fairly aggressive marketplace.”

HR and Line Managers Need to Work Together

Staff retention can be vastly improved by HR and line managers working better together. Both sides also need to understand the shared burden.

Ian said, “There is a temptation to think, mainly with some line managers but also within some HR teams, that employee retention is something you take out of a box.

“It’s a series of initiatives you get off a shelf every so often and that will help staff retention for next six months. Then you put it away again rather than it being an every day approach.

“This is something we have addressed with improvements to management training which includes coaching in recruitment and retention. A great deal of emphasis is placed on getting it right at the recruitment stage.”

Focusing on Employee Development

Informatica places a strong emphasis on learning and individual development to form the cornerstone of its staff retention strategy. They aim to recognise that even people who stay in the same job can grow as well as those seeking to move upwards in the organisation.

Ian said, “We need to think about how we can help people to grow; how we can keep people. You have to acknowledge that you can’t have zero staff turnover, indeed in some cases, a certain level of turnover can be good for the company.

“But we do try to identify our best people and make sure we look after them properly. We need to talk to them in the right way each day and consistently give them recognition for things rather than taking a big bang approach every six months.”

Internal communication will also have a greater role in building a team spirit and bolstering morale. The company has just started to publish a newsletter on top of regular emails that publicise employee achievements and successes.

Ian added, “The main focus for us is the shared responsibility between HR and the line managers. And making sure that staff retention is an everyday thread of what we do rather than a series of initiatives.”


Contact great{with}talent and find out more about their TalentEngage employee engagement surveys.


(Main image from Recruitment Buzz)

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