Anna Frazzetto's Blog

Digital Innovations and Technology Solutions

Take Heed: Turnover is a Big Deal

There's a lot of discussion in the outsourcing arena about the challenges of hiring, and more importantly, retaining talent. In fact, I was recently reading an article talking about these challenges and the rising turnover rates. There are statistics floating around that say some areas of India are experiencing turnover rates greater than 50 percent and that some U.S. companies have lost their entire India-based team in less than a year. While a 50 percent turnover rate is a bit high -- the 20 percent range that we're starting to see in China is becoming more common. Harvey Nash is experiencing turnover rates around five percent in Vietnam which is remarkably low for the outsourcing business.

All of this turnover talk caused me to pause and think about what it takes to keep good talent. From what I've experienced, retaining talent really boils down to some basic principles. What I've seen as the challenge for many companies is carving out the time to develop a retention strategy and making it a priority.

Here are a few ideas that have helped keep Harvey Nash talent happy both onshore and off:

- Continuing education programs, including assistance in achieving different levels of certifications
- Flexible schedules to encourage team to study and further their education
- Onsite English classes for our offshore teams
- Project team bonus structure for each milestone accomplished
- Recruiter incentives based on project success

I firmly believe that lower turnover rates go hand-in-hand with higher offshore project success rates. As was reported in the Harvey Nash 2007/08 CIO Survey, 50 percent of offshore projects failed or were cancelled because they came in late and over budget. This surely is in part attributed to high turnover. When offshore partners are trained, communication is strong and projects are managed -- we're seeing high project success and low talent turnover.

As a final comment -- Harvey Nash has clients who have utilized the same team from our Hanoi office for the last four years. This is not a coincidence. Low turnover equals project success.

What are you doing to retain talent? Any unique ideas or tips? Please share by posting a comment.