Indispensable specialists do exist

  1. It is axiomatic that every company strives to have highly skilled employees. It is traditionally considered, that providing of companies with highly skilled professionals is made by inviting to the company entry-level but promising specialists, as well as through the recruitment of already trained professionals.

    In this case, the company is usually don’t take into account the third, not less important, aspect of staff formation - an aspect of holding of specialists, already working in the company.

    Nowadays, in majority of companies an issue how to hold specialists turns to a daily one, only when professionals want to quit the company. Therefore, the solution of this problem in most cases has an emergent character and has no well thought-out strategy. Often in such situations, resignation of the specialist can not be prevented and the company loses a specialist with all ensuing consequences.

    Hence the question: "Should the company have a well thought-out system of measures for holding of highly skilled professionals?"

    An answer is obvious: «Yes,of course!»

  2. Let discuss the possible approaches of holding the specialists on the example of sales managers, although considered approaches may be appropriate for any other category of employees. We will try to pre-define and answer several questions.

    Question A: "Who should be holded?"

    Answer A: It is necessary to hold only those professionals (managers, consultants, salesman, sales representatives, etc.), who already now provide productive sales of the respective group of goods or undisputably evaluated as promising professionals in the field of sales. There is no sence to hold unproductive and unpromising sales professionals, and thus it makes no sense to invest the money in the development of these managers (including for training, for motivation, etc.).

    Question B: «Why do I need to hold productive and promising sales professionals?"

    Answer B: The answer is obvious - these specialists either already bring the estimated (or higher as planned) profit to the company, or undisputably are able to bring such profit in a particular term.

    Question C: «How to hold a productive and promising sales professionals?"

    Answer C: There are two obvious approaches:

    First approach, which we call a democratic approach – to eliminate the causes, leading to the resignation of specialists from the company. All reasons that could potentially lead to the resignation of specialists and to a greater or lesser extent may affect the company can be grouped together as follows:

    • Financial reasons (salary, premium, bonus, etc.).
    • Professional reasons (professional growth).
    • Career reason (prospects for advancement, etc.).
    • Social factors (social benefits).
    • Psychological reasons (employee relations, job satisfaction, etc.).

    Second approach, which we call the “strong-arm” approach - to sign with a specialist such a contract, when his resignation from the company before the end of the term of the employment contract will put on a specialist a large (e.g. financial) liability to the company.

    Let analyze one by one democratic and "strong-arm" approaches.

    To hold everyone without exception without separation into a particular group productive and promising sales managers.

    Method for 1 stapproach can be described quite simple: to maintain appropriate working conditions for all employees, and namely:

    • Financial intrest should be assured at around the average for each respective group of employees. An employee will evaluate proposals from other companies if the offered salary in the new company will exceed the existing level of salary more than on 15 %. Normally salary proposals below 110-115 % of the current salary, will be refused if the other conditions (professional, administrative, social, psychological ) are about the same.
    • Professional and career conditions require constant maintenance of the employees` self-confidence in the professional and career growth prospects.
    • Social conditions must be provided at the level of the average conditions for each respective group of employees. However, this factor in Ukraine is not dominant when making decisions about transfer to other company if the other conditions (material, professional, administrative, psychological) are about the same.
    • Psychological conditions should provide a formation of a partnership (in the sense of the friendly) relations between all employees, as well as basement for job satisfaction – work diversity, identifying of job with the final result, the significance of the work, degree of freedom in decision-making, employee awareness concerning results of his work, etc.

    2nd method (method«For stars»).

    To hold only productive and promising sales professionals ("Gold List"),without making special efforts to keep other sales managers.

    Method for 2nd approach can also be described quite simple: to support special working conditions only for productive and promising sales managers. Under special conditions must be understood:

    • material and social conditions above the average ones, but not exeeding the level of cost-effective expences for each employee retention;
    • administrative, professional and psychological conditions, that correspond to the conditions described above in Method 1.

    Moreover, for the "gold list" may be applied corresponding administrative measures of retention.

    Working conditions for the remaining managers are offered on the level below the market.

    Usage Method 2, of course, requires a precise definition:

    • of the "gold list";
    • criteria for admission of candidates to the list and discharge;
    • cost-effective level of expenses for retention of each from the "gold list".

    Other methods are usually a combination of Method 1 and Method 2 in different proportions.

  3. Major companies invest in training of admitted specialists quite a lot of money, including, material, timing, intellectual assets, etc. Naturally, that such companies tend to retain in their workforce successful professionals prepared by them, at least for a time, while specialist training will be compensated as expected. As a rule, the period of "payback" of the trained professional lasts for the company for at least 2 - 3 years. It is known that in the Soviet Union High school graduate was required to work on a designated (job placement) company not less than 3 years. Direct example of return to the state of invested money and at the same time a direct example of the legislative settlement of the question of specialist retention is a "strong-arm" (legislative, regulatory) method. Currently, businesses are deprived of such legal basis for "strong-arm" specialists retention. Therefore, many companies are looking for alternate routes for the "strong-arm" specialists retention.

    At the "strong-arm" approach companies strive to prevent specialist resignation, placing on a specialist financial (as a usual) responsibility, which is agreed in advance in employment contract or in any other corresponding contract. It is quite clear that according to the current Labour Code such direct liability is not specified. Therefore, employers stipulate financial liability of the specialist in case of "premature" (earlier than in 2-3 years) leaving the company, making a veiled provisions in the agreement.

    For example, an employer offers to an employee to pay monthly wage in two parts. The first is paid as a normal salary and the second part as an interest-free loan, which should be returned to the company in 2-3 years (payback period).

    Example. The agreed salary of specialist is 1000 UAH. In this case, the official salary could reach, let say, 400 UAH. This sum is given as a salary. The remaining 600 UAH is given as a monthly part of the total loan. If specialist should work in the company 2 year, the size of the total loan in this case is: (600 UAH) x (12 months ) x (2 years) = 14,400 UAH. With a specialist signed an agreement about the issue of the total loan. If the specialist decides to leave the company earlier than in 2 years, and the company is not interested in his discharge, the person must return to the company this loan, received during his period of employment. Of course, if the specialist will work in the company more than two years, the company liquidates a loan by itself. This agreement is also recorded in a proper manner to the corresponding agreement between the company and a specialist.

    Of course, there are other examples of "strong-arm" specialists retention.

  4. Undoubtedly, each of the approaches for specialists retention (democratic and "strong-arm") has the right to life. The use of democratic methods seems to be more promising. However, the use of "strong-arm" approach, as a way to guarantee the return of funds invested by the companies in specialists, will also find a place in the relations between the employee and the employer. The essential requirements for legalization of "strong-arm" approaches and increase their popularity are:

    firstly, increase in the proportion of official employees' salary, which is directly related to the improvement of the tax system in Ukraine, and secondly, increasing the degree of responsibility of the employee towards the employer, which is directly related to the improvement of existing, but    to a large extent more "Soviet" Labour Code.