Talent Management

Employee Retention Doesn’t Just Happen: Five Keys to a Clear Strategy

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What employee retention strategies do you use to engage and retain employees?

Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics bureau show that the average American will hold around 11.3 jobs during their working years. The average number of jobs held is actually going up — especially with Millennials. Eleven (11) may seem like a really high number, however that depends on various factors, including the work you do, and what generation you are from.

Employee retention doesn’t just happen.

Influencing employee retention

Yes, employee retention is critical to the success of an organization. Without a focus and an understanding of people, behaviors, and what engagement and rewards strategies work for best for your culture, reducing turnover can be even more difficult. We understand it’s not always easy, to help, we’ve developed an Employee Engagement & Retention Checklist with a high level overview of steps to take toward success with some employee retention strategies.

People decide to switch jobs for a wide variety of reasons. New blood is a good thing, but a constant turnover is detrimental to performance, morale, and the overall sustainability. Some reasons are related to personal and life changes and completely unrelated to the job itself, so a business can’t expect to impact or change all departures, although with workers switching jobs roughly every 4.4 years, businesses do need to be focused on the aspects of employee retention they can influence.

5 ways to help increase retention

So, what are some of the best practices for increasing employee retention?

  • Provide career navigation and personal branding strategies from the get-go. Involve employees in the process as much as possible- ask questions to find how what motivates them. Employee development is also key. It’s important to provide coaching, educational opportunities, and training programs. By helping individuals plan their desired path within in an organization, setting concrete goals, and providing support to help them achieve those goals, engagement and retention increases.
  • Hiring the right managers makes all the difference. Steve Miranda, Managing Director for Cornell University’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS), said in an interview that he believed 80 percent of employee turnover resulted from the environment created by a manager as opposed to the company at large. So it’s critical to work closely to make sure there’s a consistent open line of communication between employees and managers, and that managers are working collaboratively and positively with their employees.
  • Work to create a culture of trust. An organization with a culture of trust often has higher levels of performance and retention. An organization with a culture of distrust is an organization destined to be doomed. To maintain positive employee retention make sure your organization has a culture of trust, not distrust.
  • Recognize good performance. Be it financially or with some other non-monetary benefits (NMBs), make sure employees are recognized when they achieve their goals and perform above and beyond. Pulse your workforce for their preferred means of recognition and then implement various strategies based on that feedback. With workforce demographics changing a one size fits all approach no longer works. It’s important to pay attention to what each motivates different employees. Not all employees prefer to be recognized for a job well done in the same ways. As we’ve said before, if unsure the best ways to engage and retain employees – ASK THEM.
  • Hire the right kind of employees who are both a skills and culture fit. A focus on both aspects is important to success. Sure, some people are “shooting stars”, and you’d be lucky to catch them, but if they’re not a fit for the culture of your organization then you’re not likely to see maximum performance or retention. By interviewing and choosing the right hires in the first place, you’re getting a leg up on setting up a relationship that can last.

Though, there are many other employee retention strategies for engaging and retaining employees, these tips should serve as a good start. Be transparent, have a clear employee value proposition, communicate with employees early and often, know what they want and what you want, and what motivates them.

This should help set you up for a successful partnership that leads to a higher performance and retention.

This was originally published on the Tolero Think Tank blog.

Scott Span, MSOD, is CEO & Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions , an organizational improvement and strategy firm. He helps clients in facilitating sustainable growth by connecting and maximizing people --> performance --> profit™, developing people and creating organizations that are more responsive, productive and profitable. You can follow him on Twitter, or contact him via email at scott.span@tolerosolutions.com.
  • http://www.enmast.com/ Devan Perine

    Great points, Scott — and especially on the fourth one about recognizing performance. You’re exactly right that not all employees prefer to have the same types of recognition. For Gen Ys — this one is really really important. We can tell when our bosses are just saying “good job” or “well done” for the sake of saying it. It’s almost better to not say it at all if it’s not heart-felt.

    • Steve Semelsberger

      Very much agree, Devan, both on the Gen Y perspectives and on the kudos for Scott associated with his recognition perspectives above. We spend quite a bit of time listening to and learning from our Millennials, especially as they have a very acute radar for authenticity. If you’re interested further, we’d love your take on a recently published collection of Millennial perspectives, highlighting drivers like interaction, culture and contributions: https://youearnedit.com/blog/6051-get-ready-world-millennials-are-ready-for-change/

      • http://www.enmast.com/ Devan Perine

        Thanks, Steve! Always love Gen Y/Millennial insights — I’ll check it out!

  • http://www.mbmc.at/ Markus Baldauf

    Many thanks for this great article. Best regards from Vienna!

    We are an executive search company in Austria and these subjects are key for our success.

    Markus Baldauf
    Personalberatung

  • Scott Span

    Thanks for the comments and feedback. I’m glad you found the info informative.

    @devanperine:disqus As a GenY cusper myself, I’m all to familiar with what it takes to engage and retain that generation. I agree, no small order. You may be interested in our additional checklist: Top 10 Ways to Engage GenY Employees as well as other info on the generations – http://goo.gl/fUQSz .

    @stevesemelsberger:disqus I will definitely take a look at your info. Sounds like we’re like minded in approach.