Is A Socially-Conscious Business Ecosystem An Alternative Solution To Improving Employee Retention Rates?

uche orjinta
8 min readSep 7, 2019


Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Most businesses have forgotten one vital fact:

That your business model simply does not account for the social satisfaction of your employees, and these employees account for the sustainability of your key resource which keeps the business running.

I create socially-conscious content for ideas for a living — a passion I discovered early in life, and while I shaped my craft as an entrepreneur through life’s hustle, I realized that I had to evolve my craft’s value proposition by becoming a social entrepreneur.

A social entrepreneur is a person who crafts and implements solutions that have the potential to solve community-based problems.

Have you heard that we’re in the midst of one of the harshest and most competitive talent markets of all time?

Now I’m sure you’re wondering how you can navigate this recruitment environment to ensure that both you and your business have the key resources it needs to sustain itself.

This brings us to the problem of staff employee retention rate, which is a big issue in countries where technical talents are in high demand. And to prove that this issue is indeed worth tackling; research has shown that many as 83% of recruiters believe that attracting and retaining talent is a growing challenge.

But the good news is that you don’t need to wait until your business has reached its forecasted financial target before attempting to tackle this problem. Talent retention begins with accounting for your employee’s social growth, plus incorporating a sustainable work-life strategy. And these ideologies are formed loosely around the Sustainable Development Goals specifically: Goal 3, Goal 8 and Goal 11, and these employee-centered ideologies help present your employer brand in the most socially impactful light, and having a recruitment program that does not quantify your employees in terms of numbers only, gives you the best chance at hiring and retaining top employees for the long haul.

What I am trying to highlight to you in this article, is to focus on an alternative perspective in terms of hiring and retaining valued employees; where your value proposition becomes the employees. Before we get into the need for a socially conscious brand, let’s take a look at why retaining talent is a key value for a business.

What is employee retention?

This is simply the effort taken by the employer to value the employees within their organization. It points to worth; as a high retention rate improves the organization’s worth, and drives customer loyalty engagements with the organization. Because as a customer, I will eagerly assume that an organization that treats its employees with respect, compensates them appropriately, and values them, will most likely do the same to me.

So as you can see, having a good retention is not just good from an employee satisfaction perspective, it is also great for business.

Why is employee retention planning important?

The cost of employee turnover is estimated to be as much as 2.5 times an employee’s salary; In other words, one employee leaving can result in financial losses of more than double that employee’s salary in the form of lost-resources and re-hiring and training costs. Imagine those costs for more than one employee, and you’ll have a big crisis disrupting the workplace ecosystem for the remaining employees, and in turn, affecting your business growth via customer’s loyalty, now you can see why employee retention is a real issue for companies.

What are the employee retention strategies in Nigeria?

Bringing back our focus from the global economy to my home country; Nigeria, where organizations rely on the expertise, knowledge, and skills of their employees before hiring, recent studies still show that retention of these highly skilled potential employees has become a difficult task for managers.

Let’s highlight some of the traditional employee retention strategies used by organizations in Nigeria, and they include:

· Job satisfaction

· Training

· Reward strategy

· Supervisory support

Now let’s compare these basic incentives to some very scary global statistics around talent retention in today’s workforce, compiled by G2Crowd :

· 66% of employees expect to leave their organization by 2020.

· The top reasons millennials leave a company were that they believed they’d be better off elsewhere, their goals weren’t aligned with the company, and they saw a lack of opportunity.

· The top reasons all employees left their company, regardless of age, were lack of career development, lack of work-life balance, poor compensation and benefits and overall poor wellbeing.

· Most HR professionals felt that employees left due to work location, career development, and work inflexibility.

Now let me share my personal story to personalize all the points mentioned above; firstly note the fact that I am in my early thirties and female, these two factors have a crucial effect on job employment in Nigeria. Firstly there is a flawed talent acquisition system in Nigeria; where organizations begin their talent search from the twenty-something and below pool only, or the ‘freshly graduated’ pool as they call it, forgetting that the unstable social-economic environment in Nigeria constantly plays a huge role in early-entry and early-exits from the university, and let’s not forget that the female gender is usually most referred to in less technical roles within an organization, which ultimately attracts a lower salary range for women. And so regardless of my chemical-engineering educational background which is also rare for women to have, In 2012 ‘as a job seeker’ I found myself less eager to work for organizations that did not value their employees’ work-life balance or inspire innovation among their employees; regardless of how much salary or compensation they promised, and in 2019 ‘as a consultant/service provider’ I am still less keen to ‘work with’ these same types of organizations. I did not have to read about the emerging trends in employee retention strategies to know that a business without a social-conscience would eventually become a boring place to be.

Our current President Mohammed Buhari criticized the youths at the 2018 CommonWealth Business Forum where he tagged us as ‘Lazy Nigerian Youths’ for our unwillingness to slave through the unemployment market, when in fact the youths simply had a personalized-global perspective that no longer aligned with the traditional hiring and retention strategies taking place in Nigeria.

These are all fascinating conversation-starters, I’m sure, and luckily they provide some hints towards the mitigation of these talent retention issues.

What do employees want?

Based on all I’ve said so far, it should not be surprising that employee retention simply boils down to giving MORE. Here’s my take on it:

1. Employees want to be heard MORE.

2. Employees want a MORE sustainable future-plan with the company.

3. Employees want MORE flexibility and balance in their lives.

4. Employees want MORE recognition for their achievements within the organization.

5. Employees want organizations to care MORE about their internal and external well-being.

This list is how I interpret what employees want from their companies, and why they would stay with them for the long haul, which gives you a perspective, of what your employees will be looking for on both a conceptual and literal level.

Every company and its employees will, of course, be different in terms of the specifics, which makes it extremely important to truly understand your potential employee first to determine what will make them happy. Figuring and planning for that will be step one in improving your talent retention rate.

How do I improve my company’s employee retention rate?

I would suggest working with an idea-developer to craft a symbiotic value & incorporation proposition; that merges the organization’s ethos with that of the potential/current employee, as a great starting point to improving your employees’ long term loyalty.

Socially-responsible recruitment and employer brand

Talent retention starts with recruitment, and this starts with identifying what your ideal candidate looks like, not just in terms of skills as a resource. Of course, this ties right into your brand as an employer, since your image is what the candidates’ access. Take a look at what personalized-value your company has to offer each candidate in terms of passion, purpose, and rewards, then factor in housing, transportation, communication, scheduling, etc. and come up with a profile for your team that you can present to aspiring employees.

Think about your candidates’ short and long term goals, beyond the paycheck, and structure your employer brand to meet those desires. Then express your brand as their solution.

If you have done a thorough job of getting to know and reaching your target candidates, the right applicants should start to arrive.

Now, getting your candidates’ attention is step 1. The real work is in narrowing your applicants to find the perfect match. How you interview, communicate and generally treat your candidates can also have a big role in staff retention. I suggest a reverse to the old traditional recruitment strategy, thereby making the recruitment phase the employer’s first real-time opportunity to communicate a good first impression about their brand to the candidate.

Overall, staff retention starts with hiring the right candidate as a personal brand ambassador for your organization and building your brand as a sustainable solution, to solving your potential employees’ needs for the long haul.

Internal accountability

Now that you have hired the perfect employee, it’s time to keep those promises you made to them during your employer branding speech and recruitment first impression.

A great way to do this with new and existing employees is to open lines of communication with the team; centered around: passion, purpose, and rewards, as a way to keep up with their morale. Encourage anonymous surveys using apps that track their daily real-time work-life balance, moods, and engage employees in activities that help them make an impact within and outside the company. The key is to ensure that your employees feel like the company is delivering on their promise while they deliver on theirs, remember it is supposed to be a symbiotic value and incorporation proposition. And if they don’t feel that way, take the appropriate action to rectify this, while keeping the employee timely informed on these actions.

As mentioned at the early part of this article: We are in the midst of one of the harshest and most competitive talent markets of all time, coupled with highly socially-sensitive individuals; still trying to find the perfect company providing a sustainable haven for their global perspectives and aspirations, and you’ve got yourself a cocktail for high employee turnover, and low talent retention. Taking socially-conscious steps during business-plan modeling, employee recruitment, employer branding, and employee-value management will go a long way in helping your company anticipate, plan, hire and retain employees who will help guide your business towards a sustainable future.



uche orjinta

Chemical engineering graduate, entrepreneur (self-employed; innovation & Product M consultant, business developer, Creative writer & UX designer).