Paying Attention to Employee Retention
Employee turnover presents a serious challenge for any business. Every time a valued employee leaves staff – poof
– all of that person’s training, experience and institutional knowledge walks right out the door. The total cost of replacing an employee ranges from tens of thousands of dollars to twice the departed person’s annual salary, according to data compiled by Josh Bersin
, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the founder of Bersin by Deloitte. Consider all the layers of costs that go into this calculation:
- Cost of interviewing, screening and hiring a replacement;
- Cost of management’s time to onboard the new person;
- Cost of training the person at roughly 15% of the employee’s salary over two to three years;
- Lost productivity due to the new person coming up to speed in the job role;
- Degraded customer service and errors due to the trainee lacking complete job skills; and
- Cultural impacts on team morale when a favorite co-worker leaves staff.
Obviously, holding onto talented employees for longer periods of time should be a top priority for any business. Leaders can increase retention rates by connecting better with their employee base, according to an article
on CIO.com by Sharon Florentine. The first important touch point to drive retention actually involves the recruitment and hiring process itself. This is the one chance to carefully pre-screen candidates and make sure they are a good fit for the company’s culture and strategy. A quick scan of the resume will reveal if a candidate has a history of quickly leaving one company after another. Such job-hoppers often lack the social skills for teamwork, or they may have some other personal shortcomings that inhibit loyalty and longevity. Once employees are brought onboard, it’s important to provide an ongoing education to help them grow in their job roles. Organizations become stronger when their people receive new skills trainings, mentorships, and other forms of professional development. When people are not learning or growing, they are probably stagnating – or they’re looking for a new job somewhere else. Committed employees should be given clear opportunities to advance within their organizations. This can involve a job promotion, a raise in salary, or increased responsibilities. Such advances reflect a company’s commitment to that person, which will not go unnoticed. Another clear-cut way to increase staff retention is to offer a competitive benefits package, including family health care and retirement savings plans. Many workers also appreciate having flextime schedules to work from home, which brings more balance into their work and home lives. On a simpler scale, even basic perks can lift employee morale and build team unity. Many employees appreciate it when their companies extend casual Friday policies to cover the whole workweek. Others are pleased when free snacks, fresh coffee and cold drinks are provided in the break room. Such little things can make a big difference. Perhaps the best way to retain employees over the long-term is to nurture an ongoing two-way dialogue between management and staff. Managers should strive to remain open and transparent about their strategies and tactics, and workers should not feel inhibited about voicing their concerns. People at all levels of an organization should respectfully consider the ideas of others, no matter how far apart they may seem. Managers should also make a concerted effort to encourage direct employee feedback. Pulse surveys and crowd-solving sessions can provide valuable information about company initiatives. The use of these tools also signals to the troops that the leaders are actually listening. You may be surprised at how much this activity of promoting staff feedback will also help promote the goal of staff retention as well.