By: Greg Smith
Most employers expend a great deal of time, effort and resources during the recruitment process helping to ensure they hire the most qualified candidate. While this is essential, emphasis on employee satisfaction and retention is all too often overlooked. Not only is this costly, but has a negative impact on morale, production, and customer service. If a business gets the reputation as having a “revolving door,” this will significantly impede the owner’s ability to attract top tier individuals and will compromise their bottom line.
Managers often assume employees leave because of inadequate pay and benefits. While these factors are critical, there are many other reasons employees change jobs. Two common reasons are ineffective management and feeling unappreciated. Certainly, there are other considerations including a lack of advancement opportunities and unreasonable workloads. With the strong economy and many options for quality employees to find employment better suited to their needs, it is critical for all employers, even those with limited cash flow, to implement creative strategies to keep top talent.
Here are some thoughts:
• Ask them. Find out from your employees what makes them feel their contributions are appreciated. Incentives can be as simple as formally recognizing them as employee of the month, providing a gift card, offering flexible scheduling when possible, or an occasional paid afternoon off. Even a hand-written thank you note can mean a lot.
•Offer opportunities for professional development. This may include paying employees to attend workshops or conferences to enhance their skills and whenever possible, promoting from within the company.
• Establish and execute good management and leadership practices. This is something successful business owners should already have in place, but often employees don’t clearly understand their job duties, how their performance will be evaluated, what the company policies are and whether they are enforced consistently. This leads to frustration and is damaging to morale.
• Welcome open communication. Employees feel respected when they can freely address conflicts, express grievances, or make suggestions about enhancing workflow or other ideas beneficial to the company. It is rewarding when an individual’s ideas are considered and even more so when they can be implemented.
• Encourage a work-life balance and try to avoid employee burnout by making sure no team member is asked to do too much. Staff who are constantly overwhelmed by an unreasonable workload are not likely to be long-term employees. When assigning several projects, help employees identify what the priorities are and where they should focus their attention.
• Don’t micro-manage. Assuming you have hired talented, competent individuals, provide clear direction including expectations for the project to be completed and then let them go to work.
A simple Google search regarding the cost of employee turnover varies by the wage and role of the employee. A CAP study found the average cost to replace an employee is 16 percent of the annual salary for high-turnover, low-paying jobs (earning under $30,000 per year). For example, the cost to replace a $10 an hour employee would be $3,328. Logically, this would substantially increase for higher paid workers.
In closing, having a productive, satisfied team will be a deciding factor as to whether the business will remain profitable and should be a focus of all those in management roles.