You did it. It took years, but you’ve finally assembled an energetic, highly motivated, effective and efficient staff. But putting that team together is only half the battle. Now, you’ve got to keep it together.
There’s no doubt that you spent a lot of time, money and resources finding the right people for your company. So, if you lose an employee before he or she even has a chance to become truly effective, you’re losing a lot more than that employee. So, you have to take care of your people and get them to completely buy in to your company’s philosophy and culture. Employees who feel that they belong and are a part of something are more likely to stay with your company.
On top of that, the labor market has become increasingly smaller as the job market continues to widen. The population following the baby boomers will not be able to replace them in the work force. Simply stated, there are a lot fewer people available to work. This reality heightens the concern of employers who are already facing the challenge of recruiting and sustaining a high quality work force while maintaining costs.
“Today’s work force is also not as firmly rooted as they once were, with a large portion of the labor market having four to six jobs within a specific profession over the course of their career,” says Jessica Galardini, COO of JRG Advisors, the management company for ChamberChoice. “The stigma for workplace movement no longer exists, yet the cost to employers for lost productivity and replacement expenses continues.”
Smart Business spoke with Galardini about employee retention and ways an employer can keep employees happy and satisfied.
Why is employee retention so important?
The ability to hire and retain good employees is critical to any company’s bottom line. As employees grow so does your business and profitability. As the old adage states, an organization is only as good as the people it employs. Employers need to be creative and implement recruitment and retention techniques to attract potential employees and keep current employees passionate and committed.
Perks such as benefits, vacation days, bonuses and flexible hours reward employees for a job well done and will motivate them to produce similar results in the future. Recent studies show, however, that such perks only focus on about half of the picture. It is best to realize that motivators differ among individuals. Providing individually suited perks will keep employees most satisfied.
What can employers do to keep employees satisfied?
Keeping employees satisfied in their jobs is paramount for retention. A satisfied employee knows clearly what is expected from him or her every day at work. Changing expectations keeps people on edge and creates unhealthy stress. Creating a specific framework, within which people clearly know what is expected of them and how their job contributes overall, provides internal security and makes them feel successful.
How should employees be recognized and rewarded?
The recognition of talent and skill utilization is another factor that key employees seek in the workplace. A motivated employee wants to contribute to work outside of their specific job description. Any time a task is given to an employee, you want them to succeed but if you are only giving assignments where success is assured, you are hurting yourself in the long run. Encouraging people to work outside of their comfort zones and allowing them to develop new skills is a key strategy for retaining your best employees.
Why is communication so vital to employee retention?
The ability for employees to speak their minds is another key factor in employee retention. Soliciting input and ideas and fostering an environment in which people feel comfortable providing feedback is important. Employers who remain in touch with employee needs have a distinct advantage. Regular check-ins with employees to see what is motivating (or challenging) them can offer foresight into potential morale issues much sooner than they would ordinarily be captured. Regular staff meetings keep employees ‘in the know’ and enable them to feel as though they have a greater role in company goals and results. In the event an employee leaves, an exit interview can sometimes yield surprising insights and reveal fixable problems.
Any there any other ways to improve employee retention?
Many employers experience positive retention rates by adhering to trial or probationary periods during which they evaluate whether new hires are a good fit for the company. This process enables employers to retain high performers and strong matches while gracefully parting ways with the not-so-great performers. Upon satisfying this trial period, properly introduce newer employees into the company culture make sure they know what is expected of them, assign a mentor who can act as a coach (if possible), make sure the employee knows where to turn with questions, and so on. There is evidence to show that cohesive work groups where members like each other reduces turnover. This type of team structure can result in a happier workplace.
The retention of key employees is critical to the long-term health and success of any business.
JESSICA GALARDINI is the COO of JRG Advisors, the management company for ChamberChoice. Reach her at (412) 456-7231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.