Employee Retention Hot Topic for Business Leaders

Entrepreneurs and business leaders report employee retention is still on of their top 3 challenges.

A 2011 AFLAC Workforce Report found that 18 percent of business owners see the benefits package as a direct influence on an employee’s decision to leave.  The report lists voluntary benefits as a way to reduce costs and still offer quality benefits.

What is important to note, however, is that even in a recession and high unemployment, good people are willing to leave their jobs.  This makes solid employee retention strategies an essential part of every business opeation.  As the report states “it takes time and money to recruit, interview, train and hire a new employee.”  Buisnesses who don’t drive employee retention strategies from the top down are going to lose their competitive edge.

If your business doesn’t have a written and implemented plan to minimize employee turnover, today is the best day to start!

Do the Opposite – Employees Will Love You

When I finished my active duty service with the Navy I took a job as a sales representative.  The company sent me to a training session with a world renowned sales trainer.  During one session he asked us to list the first word that came to mind when we heard the term “salesperson”.  We all listed words like “pushy”, “obnoxious”, and “slick”.  He told us that if those are the words 95% of the pubic used to describe salespeople we should become the exact opposite and we’d be successful.  For me that strategy worked very well.

Employers can apply this lesson after they read the article linked below.  Not only does the article list the most hated jobs, it also provides great insight as to what employees hate most about a job.  It’s not what you might think!

Today it is the company with the best talent that beats the competition and increases profits.  Employers don’t want their top talent hating their jobs.  Read the article then be sure your company is doing the opposite!

10 Most Hated Jobs

Step 4 or 4: High Performance Teams

Give employees a career instead of a job

“That’s just not fair!”

Whether it is true or not, this is not something you want employees to say.  Often is beyond a company’s power to control how employees feel.  However, company’s can avoid creating situations that might cause an employee to think or say this.  Companies DO have a great deal of control in which they hire and promote.

In my executive search business we often hear from executives who feel this way.  Either they have been passed over for a promotion or they have seen others passed over multiple times.  Sometimes their company never considered an insider for an open position. Whatever the reason, these people feel like a commodity instead of a valued contributor.  If this kind of perception starts to permeate the workforce the company is doomed – especially now that top talent is harder to find.

There are many reasons why a company would go outside to hire top talent; they don’t have a qualified person internally, they want fresh perspectives, they want competitor intelligence, etc…  Hiring outside is expensive, time intensive, and dangerous (see steps 1 & 2)! Often it can be avoided if companies have a career development culture instead of an open seat culture.

Hiring from your current employees only works if you diligently practice Step 3.  It also means a huge ROI on your labor expense.  When employees believe they have the opportunity to grow and advance they don’t spend time looking elsewhere.  When they enjoy a company development program they have greater confidence to take on more responsibility.  Employees will take their performance more seriously and pursue self-development agendas.  Giving an employee a career is a long-term investment strategy, one that every company must follow.

This is the final installment of the four steps to building a high performance team.  Putting these steps into practice will have tremendous impact on company profitability and competitive edge.  Don’t wait until your competition has all the top talent, beat them to the best people now!

Step 3 of 4: High Performance Teams

Training

Image via Wikipedia

Align training with business priorities and coming trends.

Why do high performance sports teams film their games and practices?  Why do they scout their opponents at other games?  Why do they watch film of their opponents?   It’s because they want to be prepared for the future.  They want to know what to expect in an upcoming game.  Team practice is not about coaching the fundamentals; it is about adjusting their game plan. Teams use the visual feedback from film to spot weaknesses of their opponents to exploit.  All of the practice and film work is so they can do the right things, make adjustments, and win the game.

Employee training should serve the same purpose.  Building a high performance corporate team requires ongoing improvement because business is a world of ongoing change.  Companies must articulate and value a culture of continuous employee development.  Employees should be encouraged through programs like tuition assistance and in-house training to take charge of their own professional development.

Training, however, just for the sake of training, is wrong!  Employee training must support the core business mission and strategy.  The training companies develop, offer, and support must also prepare employees for the future.  Few corporate leaders believe that today’s talent needs will be the same in the future.  Therefore companies must create a culture and partnership with employees to prepare for what it ahead.  Just as high performance sports team practice and develop to win the next game, corporate teams train and develop to accomplish their mission and beat tomorrow’s competition.