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!

Keep Your Employees Happy and You Will be Happy

Retention of key employees is one of the greatest challenges faced by corporate leaders.  This issue has more to do with maintaining and growing profitability than any issue facing businesses today.  There are a few simple ways to make your employees feel important.  It is also crucial that you attempt to keep them happy! A happy employee is an employee who will remain loyal to you even when another opportunity presents itself.  One way to keep a strong solid relationship with your employees is to celebrate anniversaries!  The following are companies who have implemented programs to let their employees know that they are valued.

At the Leo Burnett Company in Chicago, Illinois, every employee receives a gift on Anniversary Day.  Some of the gifts given were jams and jellies, a model train, statues and customized bottles of wine.  In addition, they gave one dollar for every year of the agency’s life.

At Nissan in Smyrna, Tennessee, any employee with 12 months of service qualifies to lease a Nissan car for $160 per month.  This also includes maintenance, tax, license and insurance.

Every Westin Hotel has an Annual Banquet honoring employees with more than five years of service.

Mary Kay Cosmetics employees receive 20 shares of stock on their 5th Anniversary, on their 10th they receive 80 shares and on their 15th they receive 120 shares.

The Walt Disney Company plans service recognition awards, peer recognition programs, attendance awards and milestone banquets for 10, 15 and 20 years of service.

At Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri, employees can invite any and all of their friends throughout the company to share their 25th Anniversary Cake.  Typically, 200 to 1,000 people show up for each celebration.

Pitney Bowes, headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, has an Anniversary Vacation Policy that gives an employee with 25 years of service an extra month of vacation.  The same benefit is then offered to the employee every 5th year.

The JCPenney store in Laurel, Montana, had a 25th Anniversary Sale to honor Pat Mullaney, who had managed the store for 25 years.

Ryder System’s 50th Anniversary Celebration was celebrated with a cake that was shaped like a truck and covered with yellow icing.

At Raychem Corporation in Menlo Park, California, celebrated their 25th Anniversary, it held a gigantic community party to which it invited all of its employees, their families and special guests.  The maker of high-tech industrial products held a daylong celebration at its 140-acre plant site.  Everyone was served a steak dinner.  There was continuous entertainment for seven hours, featuring headline acts and 15 carnival rides, including a ferris wheel and a merry-go-round.

These examples are of companies who have gone above and beyond to ensure that their employees remain loyal to them.  Of course there are other ways to recognize your employees.  One idea is to simply have a plaque engraved with your employee’s name on it when they reach 5, 10 or 15 years of employment with your company.  Everyone likes to be recognized and appreciated for the work they do.  Implement a program that is right for your Company Culture.

Simple Ways to Achieve Employee Satisfaction

One of the main concerns for HR executives is how to grow and maintain a high performing workforce with tightening resources.  Companies are cautious to add more resources when they often have fewer employees.  Corporations that utilize their employees to their fullest potential, will be the ones who succeed during these challenging economic times.

A nationwide recent poll found that only a mere 9% of Americans describe the relationship between employees and company executives/management as “extremely positive,” and 49% described the relationship as “lukewarm.”  The remaining employees described the relationship as “negative.”  Upon further interviews, only 10% of employees strongly agreed that their companies truly listened and cared about them as individuals.  Furthermore, only 9% completely trusted their employers.  This disconnect is not solely related to salary and benefits.  According to Rick Garlick, Ph.D., Director of Consulting and Strategic Implementation for Maritz Research, “Our research has shown that the extent to which they trusted their leaders to act consistently, were at least twice as important as salary and nearly three times as important as benefits in predicting the state of labor relations.”  This simply states that we are dealing with human beings.  It is crucial that HR executives are encouraging company leaders to key in on and exemplify caring, trust and consistent actions.

One great way to keep employees satisfied is through recognition.  When an employee is singled out for any positive situation, their overall attitude toward their company becomes much more positive.  Attitudes in general are contagious.  It is so important to keep “positive attitudes” growing and flourishing as often as possible.  Another great way to keep employees happy is by including them in the overall company goals.  This enables them to feel included in the “bigger picture.”  They now feel that they are part of the team!  A third way to increase motivation is to have a rewards program.  When employees feel they are paid on results, their work will be their best.  This ties into the recognition concept mentioned earlier.

Basically, employees want to feel cared about, trusted and consistent.  Through recognition, rewards and involving them in company goals are three simple ways to make a positive impact on your team!

Aging Parents Can Impact Retention

This Wall Street article is an excellent example of the kinds of issues Strategic Employers embrace and leverage for retention.  A good chunk of the corporate management corps will have to deal with aging parents.  They will look for employers who recognize and support this need when it arises.   How companies react to this issue will also be closely watched by the younger generations.  They know that one day it will be their turn and they especially want to associate with employers who allow them to integrate their lifestyle with the demands of work.  As the labor pool shrinks and top talent becomes harder to find, Strategic Employers will have to pay attention to these issues if they want to attract and keep good people.