Recruiting is an endless cycle for Human Resources professionals. We are always hiring new employees to replace those that leave, and the revolving door never seems to stop. Someone lock that door! That’s not to say that this is a reflection of the organization that I work for, but like most organizations, it’s becoming harder and harder to recruit qualified employees and even more difficult to retain those employees. We live in a time where the employees have the control and they can afford to look for the next best thing….and why wouldn’t they….so let’s give them the next best thing!
Retaining employees can save an organization a lot of time and money. So I am going to address this issue and present some factors that influence employee retention. Because the better job we do at retaining our quality employees, the less recruiting we have to do….and I myself, love the sound of that!
Money is good, but money alone will not retain employees. Pay should be appropriate to the work that’s being done and it should be fair. Now on to the total compensation package, a good compensation package is the key. Money, benefits, training, perks, etc….add them all together and you have your compensation package. Be competitive, what are other organizations offering? Be creative and offer some flexibility to respond to the changing workforce.
Pay-for-performance is a leading trend to incorporate into your compensation plan. Compensation increase guidelines should place a greater emphasis on merit and contribution. When everyone is painted with the same brush it does little to motivate your best employees.
Management plays a vital role in retention; they have direct influence over the employees experience with the organization. So as an organization you need to build a strong management team and offer them the proper training and opportunities to do their job effectively.
As a manager, there are several things that can help increase retention. First, get to know your team members well. I’m not talking about becoming their drinking buddy, which might muddy the lines of supervision. And you definitely don’t want to play favourites because that will rub a lot of people the wrong way. So keep it professional while establishing relationships.
Next up is communication. Communicate clear expectations so that you are setting your employees up for success. Provide frequent feedback; don’t wait for the annual review. Hold scheduled meetings to help keep the lines of communication open. And make the employees feel valued; you don’t want to always focus on the negative. Bottom line is your employees should always feel comfortable approaching you. And finally, please don’t micro-manage….nobody likes to be micro-managed, instead empower your employees.
Training and professional development
Training employees shows commitment and investment in the employee, encouraging them to stay. And more importantly, you are giving them the tools they need to succeed. They will be very grateful for the new skills and knowledge that you have given them, which could translate into loyalty. With that being said, training shouldn’t just be thrown at them in a random fashion. Training programs need to be structured; they should address the various needs of your employees and their roles in the organization.
Nobody wants to feel stuck in the same position, people want to be challenged and be faced with new opportunities. You should be planning careers, not filling positions. It’s important to have room for advancement and promote from within whenever possible. But advancement doesn’t always mean promotion; it could mean personal and professional growth. So keep your employees engaged! People want to improve and move forward and if you can’t provide them with that opportunity then they will move forward with another organization.
Recognition speaks loudly
Who doesn’t want to be recognized for a job well done? I sure do! I mentioned providing regular feedback, and that the feedback shouldn’t be all negative. Positive reinforcement goes a long way, so don’t hold back on the praises. When your employee does a good job, let them know they did a good job, this will build their confidence. Make use of your team members’ talents, skills, and abilities. They might not be directly related to the job but could be useful to the organization as a whole. This shows them that you recognize what they have to offer and that you appreciate it.
Give them a voice
From an organizational perspective, it’s important to create a culture that welcomes input from all levels. Everyone wants a voice and to know that their voice is being heard. So it’s important to create opportunities for input and to welcome the input without ridicule or condescension. Also, if their input leads to change, let them know about it, that way they know you were listening. This will help the organization grow and encourage long-term employee retention.
This point is particularly near and dear to my heart. When you’re on your deathbed, you’re not going to remember all the hours spent at the office, you’re going to remember the time you spent with those you love. Work shouldn’t put a strain on your personal life. An employee will appreciate an employer who stresses the importance of work-life balance.
It’s important to staff adequately to avoid overtime and large workloads. You need to recognize the warning signs of burnout and give your employees a break when needed. A small gesture can go a long way. Allowing an employee to take an extended lunch or take off early will mean a lot. Providing your employees with flexible working hours is also huge. Who doesn’t want that?! They say that a rested employee is a productive employee and whoever “they” are…I agree with them! Overall, let’s make their experience with you a positive one so have fun.
I’ve mentioned factors throughout this blog that stem from the organization as a whole. After all, the organization sets the entire working environment for all employees at all levels. To sum it up, the ethics and values upon which the organization rests, the policies that interpret those values, and the physical environment should make your company a place where people want to work. So now it’s time to seriously evaluate your organization and what it does to encourage retention because having a seasoned, well trained workforce will give you the competitive advantage with little cost and huge returns.