A good job is hard to find. A good worker can be even harder.
A tight job market, increased opportunities for freelance work and dissatisfaction at current roles are pushing more people to leave their jobs. Consulting firm Mercer found that “voluntary turnover” is increasing throughout Europe and the United States.
For organizations, this is a problem. The Wall Street Journal reported that it can take more than double an employee’s annual salary to find and train a replacement.
With more voluntary turnover these days, this means there’s a real incentive to keep the good employees that are already working at an organization. But this is difficult. No one sets out to chase away good workers, yet many are still leaving and at alarming rates.
What we hear from our executives and professional trainers is that it is vital to create a workplace culture that encourages great talent to stay.
Every organization is different, but successful ones depend on these five tactics:
• Incentivize success – People need to know that their hard work and good results will be rewarded. Monetary compensation is part of this, but it’s not the whole story. We read stories about how millennials and other younger workers look for a more complete package when deciding where to work, including flex time, fringe benefits, training and opportunities for business travel. Figure out what motivates employees and make sure they know what’s coming after a win.
• Create clear paths – Sometimes employers are puzzled by a termination letter. Didn’t this person know they were about to be promoted? It can be very easy to make elaborate plans for development, but to not take input from the employee or ensure they understand their own development path at the firm. Make sure there are regular meetings, be they reviews, discussions or assessments that keeps people focused on their future – at your company.
• Let everyone be heard – With some notable exceptions, most companies are hierarchical. While not everyone can cast the deciding vote, it is important to allow participation and discussion, especially on decisions that could affect the overall aim of the company. This doesn’t mean everyone has to be consulted, but they need to know they have the ability to include their voice in the conversation when it’s really important.
• Find internal problems – Employee complaints can fester like infected wounds. If no one looks at them, they can become fatal. Ensure there’s a way to ferret out and understand what is causing people dissatisfaction at work. Report back on what specific actions were taken to address the concerns – or at least contextualize why improvement needs to continue.
• Allow for evolution – Companies are like organisms. They grow and change. Smart leaders are ready to grow and change with their employees. This can mean developing new roles and responsibilities. It can also mean shedding principles that once seemed at the core of an organization. Allow changing circumstances to create a better organization that’s ready for the future.
Employee retention can’t be absolute. Even the best firms will see people leave to start a family, change careers or move to a new city. With a strategy towards building a better employee culture, we can ensure that there are fewer “forced errors” and more of your companies’ best talent stays put.
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