We all know how challenging it has become to recruit the right people these days. It seems like it is becoming increasingly difficult to find skilled people among a very demanding younger workforce and a growing population of older workers heading towards retirement. I just read that HR professionals expect 3 out of 10 employees in their organizations to retire over the next 10 years. In addition, HR professionals have sited that turnover will rise significantly once the job market improves. With the average tenure of a 20-something being less than 18 months, and the baby boomer generation retiring, organizations are finding that there are fewer and fewer skilled people to choose from. It is becoming increasingly evident that now a days, when an organization finds talented workers, their greatest concern should be how do we keep from losing the “best and the brightest” to the competition?
To begin with, we all know how important it is to select the right people in the first place. The best of the best, so to speak. I have found that behavior based testing and competency screenings have helped our organization go a long way in finding and selecting those key people. In Jim Collin’s book, Good To Great, he emphasizes the dire need to have “the right person, in the right seat, on the right bus” from the very beginning. Lets face it, sometimes its just better to leave a position open than to hire the wrong person for the job. Top organizations spend time looking for high-caliber people on a constant basis, whether they have openings or not. There is no rule that says you have to wait for a person to apply for a job.
Once you have found that perfect hire, you will want to quickly assimilate them into the organization. I recently read a book that suggests that there are three primary motivators of human behavior. One is purpose- I am attached to something bigger than me. The first 90 days on the job are critical so take this opportunity to do everything you can to make this a very positive experience. People want to be a part of success, so make your new employees feel proud to have chosen your company.
You will do well to remember that a new generation of workers is changing the landscape of the workplace. A one size fits all mentality has long since lost its appeal and effectiveness. Businesses are now dealing with a younger generation that places its needs first and foremost. The mentality of what can you do for me? and how will this company and its benefits meet the demands of my life? makes it very challenging for employers to manage these young millennials. Providing flexible work schedules and adapting to the needs of the individuals are a must in today’s workplace. If employees feel that a company just isn’t working for them, then they will quickly migrate to one that will.
Now, employee retention certainly does not mean that you have to keep everyone. Therefore, a zero attrition policy is not required. Businesses that want to hold on to the best of the best, cannot afford to hang on to those employees who simply do not pull their weight. Lets be frank, no one wants to work with a slacker. Businesses that tolerate poor performance will drive off their good employees and subsequently will be stuck with the bad ones.
Everyone has different goals and expectations about their job and their future. It is your responsibility to find a growth pattern for everyone, especially the great ones. The majority of employees in which you see abundant potential have joined your company to grow, learn and do new things. If they can’t grow, they will begin to look for opportunities elsewhere. With the need for instant gratification so prevalent these days, the key to this new generation of workers isn’t necessarily to manage, but to motivate. Whatever you can do, within the boundaries of reality, to help them achieve their goals, will only help you and your company in the long run. I recently came across a study by Linkage Inc. which found that more than 40 percent of the respondents surveyed indicated that they would consider leaving their present employer for another job with the same benefits if that job provided better career development and greater challenges.
People need feedback. They want to know what they are doing well and what they need to concentrate on. Formal, annual reviews are a normal practice, however, they don’t work well to combat turnover. Employers need to meet with key individuals one on one, in an unstructured way at least once a quarter. You will want to do this quietly and friendly, but by all means be blunt. Organizations need to know what their best people want to be doing, but aren’t getting to do and where they feel stalled or frustrated.
People want to know that management cares and is concerned for them as individuals. Its important to remember to that an employee’s personal life will always affect their performance and decisions in the workplace. Watch for and focus on those going through major changes, such as divorce, pregnancy, a child’s graduation or other important events that could influence job satisfaction or even persuade/force and employee to leave your organization.
Its a proven fact that no matter how great you think your company is, your employees will always think they can find a better job somewhere else. We all know the old saying, “the grass is always greener” and that mentality is alive and well in all walks of life, especially in the workplace. Always keep the doors open for the best ones to come back. Stay in touch with them, recruiting them until they return. One never knows, they may also bring a couple of great employees along with them.
There is absolutely, positively nothing worse than losing great employees. Especially, if you never saw it coming and realize too late that it could have been prevented. Good employees are invaluable to your organization and hopefully, these simple but necessary steps will help you retain the talent you fought so valiantly to recruit in the first place.
Excerpts from Inc. and Pridestaff