How are companies holding on to their leaders in light of stiff competition?

Companies are taking tremendous steps to retain and develop their top leaders, particularly managers and senior-level executives, according to a recent survey by OI Partners. The report alludes to a mounting talent gap not only in the U.S. but worldwide.

With an aging Baby Boomer population, organization have been forced to ramp up their recruiting practices, implement succession plans, or develop new leaders internally. What's more, a widespread skills shortage and changing labor market dynamics have made it even more difficult for employers to retain – much less recruit or develop – their top leaders.

The OI report found more than two-thirds of surveyed employers – 68 percent – have taken steps within the past year to retain some of their best executives, managers, future leaders and other professionals making front-line decisions. Meanwhile, turnover has increased by roughly 30 percent.

Furthermore, a whopping 90 percent of respondents admitted they are worried about losing high-potential employees over the next year, and 72 percent are concerned about departing sales and service workers. Sixty percent of employers are apprehensive about middle managers leaving, and nearly half – 45 percent – are worried about the loss of senior-level executives.

It's clear, given these findings, that organizations need to invest in some sort of talent development program, whether such a measure focuses on recruiting, training or retention. Recent signs of growth in the labor market only underscore this imperative.

“Most employers have initiated measures to hang on to their best talent,” said Steve Ford, chair of OI Partners. “They realize if retention is a problem with a high unemployment rate, it will only get worse once more jobs become available if they don't do something to entice employees to remain.”

“Companies are most concerned about losing employees who they have designated as their future leaders and those who directly work with customers,” Ford added.

New job opportunities are once again emerging and competition for the best ones will become more fierce, not only for job-seekers but for employers as well.

OI added in its report that coaching programs, higher compensation, enhanced benefits and tuition reimbursement are among some of the chief retention strategies employers are beginning to leverage to retain and develop future leaders.