Talent Attrition and Retention Efforts in Maersk

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In today’s highly competitive environment, the biggest challenge that most successful businesses face is to arrest attrition and retain talent. What is more, people’s ambitions are fast changing and concepts like loyalty do not seem relevant anymore. Tried and tested methods are fast losing their effectiveness as talented employees become immune to such formula driven approaches. Money is important but not adequate to solve the problem. That your attrition rates are comparable to industry is no consolation. Companies are losing highly talented people, walking away with accumulated knowledge and experience that is not easily replicable.

Best talents continues to aspire more as they achieve success and try to repeat the same experience at a faster and more ambitious pace. Companies typically find it difficult to keep pace with the growing aspirations of its top talent and this is when the point at which companies needs to rethink the ways they plan to engage its employees.

For the purpose of this assignment, I will discuss the talent attrition and retention efforts in Maersk, a Danish business conglomerate. Maersk is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, with subsidiaries and offices in more than 135 countries worldwide and around 120,000 employees. Maersk has activities in a variety of business sectors, primarily within the transportation and energy sectors. It is the largest container ship operator and supply vessel operator in the world. One of its human resource management efforts is a program called M.I.S.E.

The Maersk International Shipping Education (M.I.S.E), an enterprising graduate talent pool program Maersk runs. This is a 2 years international education program aims to develop international employees and managers for the global activities of the Maersk Group. Every year 450 trainees from more than 80 different countries are enrolled on M.I.S.E. program. Upon completing their M.I.S.E. education, graduates have the opportunity to be expatriated to over 325 offices in Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia as well as North and South America.

The Shortfalls of M.I.S.E. Program

Who are these talent pool individuals? The M.I.S.E. participants are vetted through stringent test and education modules prior becoming business graduates. Thus, these graduates upon the program completion are regarded as talents which need to be retained as each graduate is produced at a cost of nearly USD 100,000. One practiced retention method is providing opportunity to expatriate in any of the offices of the company.

Whilst looking from the outset, the prospect of being a talent of M.I.S.E. pedigree looks a fantastic career path for bright and young individuals. However, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that there is a weakness in this programme as many of the graduates leave the company within 3 to 4 years of joining. From a starting class of 450 students, the remaining graduates still employed by the company are around 150 only. The huge attrition rate of 33% is alarming, considering these talented graduates are trained and invested upon.

Among issues stated for leaving the company is:-
* misalignment in talent recognition and continuous development * uncompetitive remuneration
* unequal career growth alignment across countries
* different level of expectations by talents vs. local management

The graduates are a very ambitious lot, and rightly so as they have been selected basis strong showing in their Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional/Personality Intelligence (PI) tests. This highly motivated talented group of people would need a continuous career learning curve or growth as their ambitious character warrants a fast paced learning and high performance capability.

2.0What went wrong in the M.I.S.E. Program

At Maersk, working in a culturally diverse, stimulating environment, where fresh ideas and different ways of doing things are a normal part of your everyday...
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