Retention Issues? How to Keep Your BEST (Part 2)
Part 2 of 2-Part Series on the Important and Timely Issue of Employee Retention
In Part 1 of Retention Issues you took that long hard look in the mirror and realized you have a serious employee retention problem, and more than likely it is your fault as a leader.
Just as you realize this, your bad retention dream becomes a nightmare. Your best salesperson resigns out of the blue. In a blink of the eye what you finally identified as a top strategic concern is now a raging fire you need to put out, even though you have a busy schedule and other initiatives underway. Now you not only have to find a replacement for this talented employee, which is incredibly difficult when skilled professionals of this caliber are currently in high demand, but you also have to temper the impact their departure will have on the rest of your team— who may be already exploring other career options.
Whenever someone walks out the door, people notice, especially when they are good. Morale takes a hit, and it will push those not already looking for a way out to begin doing so. This is exactly why employee retention and job satisfaction should be placed at the top of your priorities list, and why finding unbiased professional advisory to do this so is critical.
Why do I need an unbiased and independent advisor?
Have you ever walked into the same room many times without seeing that someone left trash on the floor? Have you failed to notice that your significant other or a daily coworker got a haircut? These oversights are natural for us all. We get too close to our daily environment to see it objectively or with clear eyes. You may have extremely bright HR leaders on your team, but they may also be too close to the situation to provide the objectivity and tough honesty necessary to define retention strategies. Remember, you have already identified leadership as the culprit. Now asking that current leadership to figure out the answers treads on egos, fear of telling you your wrong, or concern of losing face with other employees.
What retention strategies do I look for with an advisor?
Before identifying a strategy with an advisor, you will be asked to begin looking at things from the employee’s point of view. It is imperative that you get out of your own way! All professionals are different with unique sets of behaviors, desires and goals. Yes, employees want to know they are being properly compensated at or above market rates. More importantly, employees want to feel they are appreciated and treated fairly. They want to be challenged and excited by their job. They then want the autonomy to do it.
Provide full transparency to your advisor(s) in every area of the employer-employee relationship within your company. Only in approaching the situation in such an open and honest manner will you be able to embrace the key strategies that will improve your organization’s employee retention and boost employee morale.
How? The BEST Retention Process
An effective employee retention program addresses all of these concerns and beyond. In fact, your efforts should start with the HIRING PROCESS…
HIRE: Your recruiting and interviewing process sets the tone for an employee’s tenure at the company. Provide full transparency to candidates about the pros AND cons of your company, culture, products and their role. Clearly identify the role expectations with specific metrics they will be held accountable for. Doing so dramatically lessens the potential of a new employee feeling disenchanted that they were sold a “bill of goods” when being caught by surprise by something that should have been shared up front.
- Onboarding — Every new hire should be set up for success from the first day of work through 90 days and beyond. Develop an onboarding process where new employees learn about the job, the culture, how to contribute and thrive. Create an environment which fosters ongoing discussions, goals and opportunities to address questions and issues. Having something as simple as their business cards and workstation ready is a small way to show your commitment to their success.
- Mentorship — Pairing a new employee with a mentor will increase their ability to learn the ropes from a veteran with a wealth of resources and experience. Reverse mentoring is equally as beneficial in this process as the new hire offers a fresh viewpoint to an experienced staff.
- Training and Development — Ask each of your direct reports about their short- and long-term goals to determine how you can help achieve them and invest in appropriate professional growth opportunities for employees.
- Communication and Feedback — Keeping open lines of communication is essential for employee retention. Your direct reports should feel that they can come to you with ANYTHING and likewise, they expect you to be honest with them about improvements they need to make in their own performance. YOU need to proactively connect with your people and not vice versa!
- Work-life Balance — What message is your company culture sending? Burnout is very real. A healthy work-life balance is essential, and people need to know that management not only understands the importance but supports it.
- Dealing with Change —If your company is going through a merger, layoffs or other big changes, keep your entire team informed as much as you can to avoid feeding the rumor mill. Getting out in front of it, and accentuating the positive, will keep morale and motivation strong.
- Promote Teamwork —Foster a culture of collaboration that accommodates individual’s working styles and lets their talents shine. Clarify team objectives, business goals, roles, and inspire everyone to contribute ideas and solutions.
- Employee Compensation — It is essential in this competitive labor market for companies to offer attractive compensation packages. That includes salaries, of course, but also bonuses, paid time-off, health benefits, retirement plans and all the other perks that can distinguish one workplace from another.
- Recognition and Rewards Systems: Make it a habit to thank your direct reports when they go the extra mile. Show your employees you appreciate them and share specifics as to how their hard work helps the organization.
- Celebration: Celebrate major milestones for individuals and for the team.
Employee Retention is a Continuous Process
Once a Retention Strategy is executed, following up on the program and enhancing it is critical. Doing so will help you keep morale high and turnover low, while laying a foundation for your organization’s success.
- Assess your employee retention strategies at least once a year.
- Stay current on market salary rates and benefits, and…
- Stay current on best practices in developing workplace culture and manager-employee relations.
After all– If you are to gain—you must first retain!
For more on retention, and if your company is ready to strategically address Employee Retention issues, please contact us!