Developing An Employee Retention Strategy That Works

Employee Relations, Employee Retention, Business, Hiring, Human Resources, Recruitment, Team Building, Workforce Optimization,


One of the most important elements in every business isn’t necessarily, based on demand, the products, or even the services sold. In fact, it’s not always about the customer experience (although this is a biggie). It’s almost always the people within the company that help make it “tick.” It’s the relationship the business has with its employees that makes it successful.

Once upon a time, businesses truly believed that if they had a solid product, they would always succeed. But, this just wasn’t the case. Eventually, they caught on. It’s the people that sell the product. It’s how they sell the product. And, it’s how they keep customers constantly coming back for more.

A Few Things to Consider:

● If you keep your workforce happy, your bottom line will also be happy.

● Don’t just assume your workforce is happy. Listen.

● Your people are one of your most valuable assets. Protect them.

● Unify your teams under a collective vision. Make them part of the story.

● Help them to see that they are the most valuable part of your business. Grow together.

The Facts.

In search of something better, more than three-million Americans quit their job each year. Many of them already have opportunities lined up with businesses ready to treat them better. Some are just fed up with how their boss acts towards them, while the other 25% or so are in search of better compensation.

All-in-all, more than a third of all employees quit by the middle of each year with the costs for replacement, reaching more than double one’s salary — especially for a high-earner or executive-level employee, exiting the workforce.

PeopleKeys, a company that develops personalized benefits software for small businesses across the globe, outlines the real cost of losing an employee:

● The cost of hiring a new employee, including the cost of advertising, interviewing, screening, and hiring process.

● The cost of onboarding a new person, including training and management time.

● The loss of productivity, as “it may take a new employee one to two years to reach the productivity of an existing person.”

● The loss of engagement, as “other employees, who see high turnover, tend to disengage and lose productivity, as well”

Customer service issues, dissatisfaction, and unavoidable errors with “new employees taking longer with less experience at solving problems.” They may also be less engaging than our previous hires once were.

● The cost of training the workforce with businesses investing “10 to 20 percent of an employee’s salary or more in training.

● Cultural impact — ” Whenever someone leaves, others take time to ask why.” Others may follow.

We can add the loss of trade secrets, the possibility that our fully-trained hire may now go to our competitors, and the value of that hire, his or herself. After all, she was our top earner for the company, breaking records since she came into our organization.

PeopleKeep goes on to explain that the “real cost of employee turnover is an unknown” because “most companies don’t have systems in place to track exit costs, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, orientation and training, lost productivity, potential customer dissatisfaction, reduced or lost business, administrative costs, lost expertise, etc.”

Prioritize employee happiness and develop a retention strategy that guarantees high retention, low turnover, and a solid corporate culture.

Employee Engagement

According to one Gallup poll, “56% of somewhat disengaged and 73% of actively disengaged employees are actively looking for a different job, blaming employees for their distraction and as a reason for their disengagement.” We need to be able to recognize the problems, even when no one mutters a word. We need to interact. We need to encourage feedback. We need to show we care.

One way we can show that we care is by becoming a brand our teams can be proud of. We need to be out in the community. We need to support local charities and organizations. We need to be an advocate for members of our workforce. And, we need to create programs that benefit everyone, whether they’re created for a cause or to encourage growth in our employees — no questions asked. We just need to do it.

By treating our workforce as an actual team and each member like a small part of a much larger family, we begin to support each other’s dreams and develop a vision in which we all will soon prosper. By supporting each other’s goals, we can encourage one another. By motivating each other, we influence each other’s behavior — and a very good reason to stay (even if the pay isn’t so good).

Creating internal challenges and rewarding achievement, we gamify processes and provide our teams with healthy competition. We indirectly impact performance while increasing productivity from within. A happy work environment makes it hard for people to leave.

Compensate accordingly.

Compensating your workforce is an extremely important part of retaining your workforce. Top performers should be offered bonuses and commissions for a job well done. Executives should be encouraged to keep your business healthy and booming, as it expands into new territories. Even if your budgets are low, understand that a happy employee is a productive employee and turnover will cost more. If you can’t pay competitively, at least pay according to your region.

Show your workforce you value them, make up for low pay in ways that don’t require capital. Allow C-level employees to earn ownership in the company they serve. Provide your teams with great benefits, including time-off, healthcare, sick days, and vacations (both paid and unpaid). Show appreciation for what it is that they do and encourage good mental health along the way.

Glassdoor released a survey of people in recruitment, human resources, and talent acquisition, disclosing the fact that 45% of surveyed employees, who quit working in a long-term position, the top reason they quit was for salary reasons. This reason, followed by career advancement and growth, lack of benefits, the location, and the distance they traveled from home. They go on to talk about how financial stability motivates them to stay in one job, while more than 56% of employees are equally concerned with employee healthcare and health insurance coverage.

Hire the right people — Fire, transfer or develop those who don’t fit in.

According to WhenIWork, most will go on to hire with the mindset that nearly a third of all new hires will quit abruptly or be fired within the coming year. It’s great to plan ahead, but it’s almost like they are willing it into existence with this form of pessimistic thinking. If you go into a situation prepared to fail, you are almost always going to fail. If you go into the situation with a strategy to prevent failure, then this will be less of an issue.

Temp-to-Hire Strategies

Nonetheless, this is where your team might benefit from including a temp-to-hire workforce within your hiring strategy. Essentially, you will get to test run your workforce to decide who stays or who has to go.

Personality Assessments

Another strategy would be to include a personality assessment into your overall hiring strategy. In fact, most major corporations are including some sort of personality assessment at this time. They allow you to build teams from scratch and place individuals, based on common or complementary interests, values, personalities, and motivators.

While most people are familiar with the Myers-Briggs, DISC-based assessments are said to be the only legal choice when hiring into an organization due to their non-discriminatory factors.

At the very least…

At the very least, you will want to evolve your hiring strategy to include a more transparent process. Don’t sugar coat anything. Your goal is to create positive relationships from the very beginning, but your goal is also to be realistic — especially if you are preparing to keep this hire for a few years down the road.

Focus on the onboarding experience, allow this person to become familiar with your corporate culture. Decide whether their resilience will allow them to deal with your diverse, fast-paced, and highly-technical environment. Make sure their values align with your core. Build a foundation of understanding. Let them know that you want to welcome them into the family and that you are all in this together.

Occasionally, a bad hire will slip through the cracks. Before firing them, try to see how you can use them. Develop them. Place them into a position that they can handle. If you find that there’s simply no hope for an individual, then you can fire them.

Cater to their needs.

We cannot stress this enough — Don’t assume your workers are happy. Make sure they are happy. Your business depends on it.

In the case of an unhappy employee, identify the root cause of all issues, and provide support with sound resolution. Find out why he or she is unhappy, and help your employee get back on track, finding solace with a positive work-life balance.

Overwhelmed, Overworked

Some workers are simply overwhelmed. They don’t speak up out of fear. They need the work — and, obviously, the money. So, they stay quiet, although they are feeling exhausted or frustrated with their current work duties. They may feel they are being asked to do too much in too short of an amount of time. Or, they may feel they aren’t getting paid enough for all that is being asked of them. Those they are teamed up with may also be the problem.

For these people, there is an easy solution. Add additional members to the team to carry out redundant and mundane tasks. This will allow your workforce to move with increased productivity and isolate the pain spots from ever occurring in the first place. HIring these workers at a lower pay rate will benefit your bottom line. Allow your skilled employees to focus on where they create the most impact while allowing the new members to support daily workflow.

Alternatively, gifting your skilled workers a few paid days off, or scheduling them to enjoy a few hours-to-days off at a time, will benefit their mental clarity. Not requiring them to report in for duty, but rather to relax, refresh and heal any injuries they may have experienced while on the job — this will mean all the difference in the world.

A Healthy Work-Life Balance

While there are people who work because they want to, most people work because they have to. So, when work gets in the way of their family, interests, and lifestyles, we have a big problem.

Provide your workforce with a work-life balance even while on the job. Create family days. Allow your workers to bring their son or daughter to work. Provide a bit of flexibility to family-friendly scheduling.

Sammy needs a ride to soccer practice. June needs to pick up her daughter from preschool at 2:30. Andy has a game at exactly 4:30.

Consider early release for your workers with family. At a minimum, provide them with the ability to run errands during their shift if you absolutely need them there.

Do what other companies are doing. Support a remote workforce. Allow office time to be optional, or allow so many days to be worked from home a week.

The Search for Purpose

According to Entrepreneur, most people in our workforce have a “deep desire to feel that they’re succeeding and that their talents and capabilities are being used in a way that makes a difference to the business.” They seek advancement, promotion, or some form of professional development. Being recognized for their accomplishments or contributions motivates them to do more. They feel appreciated.

Include these people into your evolving vision for the company. Make them part of the story, and watch them move mountains.

Listen to your teams.

Show them that you value what they have to say. Show interest in their life outside of work, and help them work towards goals — both professionally and personally. Then, don’t let it all go in vain. Take their feedback and use it to your advantage. Help them get there.

Use performance reviews to build a more solid team. Identify trends and find a remedy to all the pain points found, therein. Show your teams that you want to help them to succeed. Show them that their contributions truly make a difference. Build trust in your team. Together, become unstoppable.

Don’t forget to be a leader. No one likes a boss.

No one likes a boss. Bosses are focused on numbers. People follow leaders.

They are motivated by influence and feel they have a true advocate in the workplace. They appreciate being guided and seek a clear direction, when challenged with daily activities or when headed towards the future.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Inspire confidence in your employees. Believe in the importance of people.
  • Breed leaders from within. Allow employees to lead their peers. Allow them to feel appreciated, trusted, and admired.
  • Create an open and friendly rapport with your teams.
  • Give them a sense of ownership. Encourage them to build and manage training programs, special interest programs, and community outreach initiatives.

Your company benefits from this, and they will be personally recognized by their peers. Invite criticism and honor their feedback — without repercussion — and find that it goes a long way.

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