Retention is the Best Defense

By Sue Winkler, Director, EngageHR
Published June 12, 2018

The competitive landscape for talent is tougher than anything we’ve seen in decades. Unemployment is at its lowest rate since 1969; the Chicago Tribune reported several weeks ago that for every open position, there is one available job seeker. Many organizations are filling positions by actively seeking out the candidates they need1. It’s a proven tactic, but there is another side to the story.

employee retentionThe candidates those recruiters are finding may be your employees!  Putting resources into retention has never been more important. Are you prepared to fortify your defense?  While the number one priority for organizational leaders for the past few years has been talent acquisition, Glassdoor recently reported that priority number two is employee engagement. Statistics vary, but the cost of an open position can be as high as 213% of the job’s salary, and other harder to measure costs of turnover have a lasting impact on culture and productivity. What all of this means is that if we are not focusing on retention, we are losing the battle.

So, remember to consider these key aspects of retention:  

Find out what your employees are saying about you. Find out why your employees joined your organization and why they stay. Do they have the resources they need to be successful? How do they talk about their job to their friends? This information can be acquired through employee engagement surveys or by conducting stay interviews.  

Train your managers and supervisors. We have all heard that “people don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.” Be sure your managers have the tools they need to lead, inspire, support and empower their teams. Managers need to be able to provide constructive feedback, and help their direct reports be successful. Employees want a boss who cares.  

Create a path for your employees. This doesn’t mean each one needs to be climbing the ladder to the CEO’s office, but it does mean that each person is afforded the opportunity to learn new skills or grow through adding responsibilities. Take the time to discover what your employee is looking for and help him or her achieve it.  

Be as flexible as you can. Not every organization or position can have a flex schedule or a work from home option. But there may be other ways you can be less rigid and offer balance to employees. Be creative. 

Invest in a compensation study. Money can be very enticing and can draw people to new opportunities. Be sure you understand where your employees fit in the market. And remember that compensation is not just salary. Include all your benefits in the evaluation and be sure you regularly communicate your total rewards package to employees.

Allow time to play. Work can be very stressful. Recognizing how important it is to laugh and to take a deep breath matters. Have fun at work. Be fun to work with.  

There has never been a better time to invest in your employees. Management Association members are encouraged to use the HR Hotline for help and advice, or consider leveraging these upcoming training opportunities for inspiration and expertise. Interviewing: Finding the Right Fit is scheduled for July 10, and a special recruiting briefing, Winning the Talent War, is scheduled for July 17. 

We have published a number of articles over the past few months providing tips and best practices to help you find and attract the best candidates. Check out this recent article outlining key action items for your search.  

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