Employee Retention

Useful Tips to Improve Employee Retention in Your Organization

The importance of retaining top organizational talent cannot be understated. With the massive baby boomer cohort just starting to approach retirement age, more and more jobs are going to become available in the near future. What this means for employees is that it is now easier than ever to leave one's current position to find greener pastures elsewhere. A more attractive market for job seekers means that the switching costs of seeking new employment are no longer a significant factor in deciding whether or not to leave an organization. The days where a job seeker might spend six months to secure a new job is now over.

The implications for employers should be clear. It is now more important than ever to retain the team members and the organization currently has and to choose the right team members when hiring decisions are made. The following is a short list of useful tips and hints to help increase levels of employee retention in your organization. Put them to work for you!

•Get the right people on the bus - in his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about the importance of having the right talent on the organizational bus. Hiring individuals who are truly fit to succeed in the position for hire will dramatically increase the chances of that employee being satisfied with his or her work and remaining with the company for an extended period of time. By far, we have found this to be the biggest predictor of future employee retention and it starts from the very first contact; via the search consultant or the Client Hospital. NOTE: Candidates have a choice now. We must do what we can to set your organization apart from the others.

•Communication, communication, communication - communication has become so heavily stressed in the workplace that it almost seems cliché. However communication couldn't be more important in the effort to retain employees. Be sure that team members know their roles, job description, and responsibilities within the organization. Communicate any new company policies or initiatives to all employees to be sure that everyone is on the same page. Nobody wants to feel that they are being left out of the loop.

•Include employees in decision making - it is incredibly important to include team members in the decision making process, especially when decisions will effect an individual's department or work team. This can help to create a culture of employee involvement and will generate new ideas and perspectives that top management might never have thought of.

•Allow team members to share their knowledge with others - the highest percentage of information retention occurs when one shares that information with others. Having team members share what they have learned at a recent conference or training workshop will not only increase the amount of information they will retain, but also lets a team member know that he is a valuable member of the organization. Facilitating knowledge sharing through an employee mentoring program can be equally beneficial for the team member being mentored as well as the mentor.

•Shorten the feedback loop - do not wait for an annual performance evaluation to come due to give feedback on how an employee is performing. Most team members enjoy frequent feedback about how they are performing. Shortening the feedback loop will help to keep performance levels high and will reinforce positive behavior. Feedback does not necessarily need to be scheduled or highly structured; simply stopping by a team member's desk and letting them know they are doing a good job on a current project can do wonders for morale and help to increase retention.

•Offer a competitive compensation package - any team member wants to feel that he or she is being paid appropriately and fairly for the work he or she does. Be sure to research what other companies and organizations are offering in terms of salary and benefits. It is also important to research what the regional and national compensation averages are for that particular position. You can be sure that if your compensation package is not competitive, team members will find this out and look for employers who are willing to offer more competitive compensation packages.

•Balance work and personal life- family is incredibly important to team members. When work begins to put a significant strain on one's family no amount of money will keep an employee around. Stress the importance of balancing work and one's personal life. Small gestures such as allowing a team member to take an extended lunch once a week to watch his son's baseball game will likely be repaid with loyalty and extended employment with an organization.

•Provide opportunities for growth and development - offer opportunities for team members to acquire new skills and knowledge useful to the organization. If an employee appears to be bored or burned out in a current position offer to train this individual in another facet of the organization where he or she would be a good fit. Nobody wants to feel stuck in their position will no possibility for advancement or new opportunities.

•Recognize team members for their hard work and let them know they are appreciated - this can be one of the single greatest factors affecting employee retention. Everybody, in all levels of an organization, wants to know that their efforts are appreciated and recognized. This can be as simple or as extravagant as a supervisor may desire. Often time a short e-mail or quickly stopping by a team member's desk and saying "thanks" can do wonder for morale. Other options might include a mention in the company newsletter for outstanding performance or gift certificates to a restaurant or movie theatre -the possibilities are endless.

•Clearly define what is expected of team members - nothing can be more frustrating or discouraging for an employee than the lack of a clear understanding of what is expected of him on the job. In a performance driven workplace a lack of clarity regarding job duties and expectations can cause fear and anxiety among employees who are unclear of what is expected of them. Even worse outright anger can occur when a team member receives a negative performance evaluation based on expectations and job duties that he or she was unaware of or unclear about.

•The quality of supervision and mentorship - it has been said so often that it is almost cliché, but people leave people, not their jobs. Supervisors play the largest role in a team member's development and ultimate success within an organization. All employees want to have supervisors who are respectful, courteous, and friendly - that is a given. But more importantly team members want supervisors who set clear performance expectations, deliver timely feedback on performance, live up to their word and promises, and provide an environment where the employee can grow and succeed. Failure by supervisors and management to provide this can cause an employee to start looking for greener pastures.

•Fair and equitable treatment of all employees - one of the surest ways to create animosity and resentment in an organization is to allow favoritism and preferential treatment of individual team members. The so-called "good ole' boys club" can create a noxious organization culture and foster resentment among team members. This culture will only get worse and can create a devastating exodus of valued team members. Be sure to treat all employees equally and avoid favoritism at all costs.

Following these tips can help to greatly improve the levels of employee retention in your organization