Jobs and the Future of Work

How to stop your employees from quitting

Hiroshi Mikitani
CEO, Rakuten Inc
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In this series, professionals share all the right — and wrong — ways to leave a job. Follow the stories here, and write your own (please include #IQuit somewhere in the body of your post).

With all this talk on LinkedIn about #IQuit, I thought it might be useful to explore this topic from a manager’s perspective. If you lead a team, a division or a company, the last thing you want to hear is, “I quit.” What can you do to keep your talent in the fold?

Establish an HR strategy that can evolve. Companies eager to take advantage of the global marketplace must cope with the reality that HR concepts are not easily exported. What works in your home country (or even home market) might not work as you expand. Study the great global HR systems at work today – look at global leaders such as Google, salesforce, The Boston Consulting Group – and look the different ways they have structured their HR in order to attract and retain global talent. Mimic these strategies, but make it your own. And be sure it can evolve from market to market.

Create a path for managers. What skills do you need your leaders to possess? Identify those skills – and then create a path for your managers to acquire them. When we decided at Rakuten that international experience would be a key factor in our success, we not only recruited for that skill, we set out a path for managers who wanted to acquire it. When you align training with your corporate goals, you help your employees feel successful and connected to the success of the company.

Draw a roadmap for skill positions. Nowhere is the competition for talent more keen today than in skill positions, particularly for engineers. To cut down on the number of times you hear “I quit,” consider creating a clear career path designed for these professionals. In my experience, engineers look for a good initial assignment and then transparent path forward. They don’t like to wonder what will happen next or feel like cogs in a machine. Also, consider the role of “soft” benefits – not just money but offering other benefits that make for a positive workplace such as flex time, casual dress and on-site cafeterias or daycare.

Quitting gets a lot more support in today’s mobile work world than it once did. Today’s employees are almost expected to change jobs routinely, like playing musical chairs. But that doesn’t mean managers can’t take steps to retain top talent.

This article is published in collaboration with LinkedIn. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: Hiroshi Mikitani is the CEO of Rakuten Inc.

Image: Matteo Achilli (R) works with one of his assistants in his office in Formello, north of Rome July 25, 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile.

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