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The Top Tips for Employee Retention

Posted by David A. Couper, MA on March 03, 2016 6:30 AM

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$11 billion is lost every year in employee turnover (Bloomberg BNA).  So, how do you ensure you hire talent that wants to stick around, and how do you keep them engaged?  Here are fifteen tips to help.

1.  Hire the right people the first time.

Rush to hire just anyone, and you will get just any results. When you take the time to do a thorough process, you end up with thorough results.

 2.  Promote from inside.

When you promote from inside, you already know the person. You know what they can (and can’t do). If they fit the job requirements, they can be a good bet.

3.  Getting excited is good.

When you hire someone, you want someone who is excited about the job. That usually shows up in asking questions, doing research, and talking about their future with your organization. If a potential hire hasn't taken the time to look into your company, what might they not spend time on if they get the job?

4.  The top candidates may not stick around.

Yes, of course, you want to get the best candidates for the job. But when you hire the graduates from the best colleges who every company is fighting about, then can be sure that those companies who lost the first time will keep on fighting to get them to leave you. You may want to look at people who have great skills but maybe went a different route – went back to school after a career-change or had their own business or didn’t get the traditional MBA but got the alternative MBA. 

5.  Don’t expect the person to change.

People can learn. People can transform. People can change...if they want to. So if you hire somene who has anger issues, you are assuming that they are going to be different once they work for you. You may have the best training and coaching, but if they are happy being angry, you are going to be angry at your choice and be happy to see them go.

6.  Pay them at market (and a little more).

Pay someone below what they are worth, and you always run a risk of losing them. If you pay them at what they are worth, you reduce that danger, and if you pay them more, you show you value them in cash.

7.  Money doesn’t buy everything (but it sure helps).

Bonuses, commission, profit-sharing or regular raises show that you do care about your employees in a practical and tangible way.

8.  It’s good to share.

Share when the organization is doing well. Share when there are issues. Share the wealth when things are going well. You don’t want to be known as one of those kids who aren’t asked back for playdates.

9.  Be Fair.

Don’t pay one group of people more than another when they do similar work. Don’t give pay raises to some people and lay off others at the same time. Even if it makes business sense, it doesn’t look fair.

10.  Transparency is talked about a lot.

Leaders talk about transparency but often don’t walk the talk. When an employee finds out important news from Facebook instead of from their boss, then there is a problem with transparency. Explaining why things are happening instead of coming up with PR statements makes people feel that you value and trust them as grown-ups!

11.  Create community.

People often spend more time at work than they do with their families and friends, so create a community at work where people like being with their co-workers and enjoy their time at work.  

12.  Be ready to let those people go who need to go.

Retention doesn’t mean that we keep everyone. It means that we keep the people who work for us – meaning they get the results we want, fit in with our culture and want to be part of our future. People will leave when they see management not dealing with one person who is not a team player.

13.  Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Ask people how things are going? Find out what is working and what is not. Listen and take action. People leave when they feel that they are not being heard. People leave when they feel that they don’t matter. People want and need to communicate.                    

14.  Work to your employees' strengths.

Even if you do the greatest job hiring, you may find that someone has different strengths which are not being used.  It may even be that this person is actually more suited to a different job. If you don’t help them use their strengths or move to a better fit, you lose their full potential and, in the end, you may lose them completely.

15.  Be gracious in your goodbyes.

People will leave. It’s how life works. I have always wished them well. I want them to be successful wherever they are. If I create bad feeling with them now, then they will never recommend their friends work with us or think about coming back when the right chance shows up.

Image:  Kate Ter Haar

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