By Roy Sourov

Human capital being the value that the employees of a business provide through the application of skills and expertise, has never been more pivotal than it is today. People and talent are fundamental to businesses more than ever before. More than I can recall at any point in my professional career, employees are churning through companies at alarming rates. Voluntarily leaving one company for another, seeking a path to rapid upward mobility.

According to a research published recently, voluntary employee turnover in APAC is highest in Australia at 12.8 percent followed by India (12.7 percent), China (12.4 percent), and Singapore (12 percent).

I cannot say it with enough emphasis; business leaders must wake to the reality that the kind of employment relationship that existed before is gone, it is archaic and businesses must not hold back on developing their greatest assets.

Employees are the key to satisfied customers, and, therefore, growth. Literally, the heart and soul of businesses. Investing in employees, making them a priority and supporting their career paths is the best investment a business can make.

One outstanding example is, TWG Tea, the company that produces luxury tea, has grown from a staff of two into a global brand in just eight short years, now boasting over 3,000 employees around the world. This was made possible with a specially conceived on-boarding program and an award-winning Tea Institute where employees can grow their talents and gain skills to advance along their career path.

Similarly, at my current company, we’ve established a culture where employee satisfaction is a priority and put in place policies and benefits to ensure employees grow and thrive. This enabled us to grow faster than our competition and led to a higher percentage of long-tenured employees. Over the years, I’ve discovered tips on establishing an employee-first culture and making investments in human capital assets a priority:

  1. Plan careers with employees

Rather than viewing hiring as a talent grab, consider it an opportunity to create an alliance. When interviewing, I’m interested to hear about an employee’s aspirations – not only to see if they align with corporate structure (that’s important, too) – but because I want to determine how I can support them on their professional journey. I like to ask about what they want to learn and what they enjoy, even pushing them to divulge their five and ten year plans. I look for actionable ways that we, as the employer, can fulfill their needs. By creating this type of alliance and a win-win relationships with prospective employees, I can find people who will be champions to my company’s customers, thrive in my company’s culture, and, in turn, that allows me to invest in their career and life goals.

  1. Showing your appreciation goes a long way

Employee appreciation must be embedded in the company culture. This goes beyond celebrating high performers or rewarding those working on flashy projects. As such, we make it a practice to both give special thanks to employees for their daily perseverance, especially those who have worked through a difficult project (or period within the company’s history). In these cases, I love to reciprocate when possible – ask employees directly how the company can thank them or provide them with custom incentives of their choice. When employees see that you truly recognize and value their commitment to their work, they’ll be motivated to come into work each day and give it their all.

  1. Establish consistent communication and goal setting with employees

I understand why churn happens – the lure of a higher salary, a bigger job or even stock options are tempting. As such, it’s in our best interest to establish an environment that caters to personal milestones. To help employees understand the long-term strategic advantage of staying, consistent communication is a primary tool. Keeping an open line of communication with employees to understand career goals and provide pathways to achieve those in key. Goal setting must include some level of professional development and training. When employees see that an employer is willing to invest in their future, naturally, they invest more in the company’s future.

Employee churn is a growing problem in many industries, especially technology. This trend is an unfortunate reminder that many companies aren’t focused on the right growth metrics. If you’re looking to grow your business in a sustainable way that produces results, both in the present and in the future, I urge you to fight passionately against employee churn by seriously investing in them, making churn an exception, rather than the trend.

Roy Sourov is a Professional Services Director at Sage Asia.