It’s time to synchronize hiring tactics with retention tactics,says consultant Deloitte, or all that top talent you’re bringing in and paying sowell will become disenchanted and seek greener pastureselsewhere.

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And by retention, Deloitte means engagement, the most importantfactor in retaining top performers.

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In a 2015 survey on human capital trends, Deloitte found that 87 percent ofrespondents were very concerned about a lack of employeeengagement. That’s up from 79 percent last year, and a clearindication that engagement is firmly on the C-suite radar.

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But when it comes to taking action to ramp up engagement,companies aren't following through.

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This isn’t a tiny survey sample, either: Some 3,300 HR andbusiness leaders in 106 countries participated. Among the highlevel takeaways:

  • The number of HR and business leaders who cited engagement asbeing “very important” doubled from 26 percent last year to 50percent this year;

  • 60 percent of HR and business leaders surveyed said they do nothave an adequate program to measure and improve engagement;

  • Only 12 percent of HR and business leaders have a program inplace to define and build a strong culture;

  • Only 7 percent rated themselves as excellent at measuring,driving, and improving engagement and retention.

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“As demand for talent picks up, the balance of power in businessis rapidly shifting from the employer to the employee,” said JoshBersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, DeloitteConsulting LLP. “Moreover, workers are becoming more mobile,contingent and autonomous, and as a result, harder to manage andengage. In this new world of work, organizations need to re-imaginethe way they manage people and come up with new, out-of-the-box ideas to make themselvesrelevant.”

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But it takes strong leaders to re-imagine the enterprise, and 86percent of those surveyed identified a lack of strong leadership asa top agenda issue this year. The “leadership gap” was the topconcern cited both last year and this year, with the percent wholabeled it “very important” increasing from 38 percent last year,to 50 percent this year.

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“Recognizing the fact that a general lack of skills is likely toimpede business growth, 85 percent of HR and business leadersranked learning and development as a top issue, compared to 70percent last year, making this the third most critical issue inthis year's survey,” Deloitte reported.

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Leaders need strong followers, and this was another arearespondents cited as a cause for concern, as “80 percent ofrespondents cited workforce skills as a top issue (up from 75percent last year), and 35 percent rated the lack of skills in HRas a ‘very important' problem, up from 25 percent last year.”

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The engagement scenario suggested by the survey is one of lackof strong leadership, no true commitment to addressingdisengagement, and deteriorating workforce skills among employeeswho are increasingly disinterested in their work and in theperformance of their employer. Or, simply put, a culture ofdenial.

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“According to Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trendssurvey, employee engagement and culture issues exploded onto thescene, rising to become the No. 1 challenge companies face aroundthe world,” Deloitte said. “Culture drives many outcomes inorganizations, perhaps most prominently, employee engagement andretention. That can spell bad news for a lot of companies. Morethan half of respondents say their organizations have either a poorprogram or no program to measure and improve engagement.”

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.