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Three easy ways to improve retention in 2023!
Three easy ways to improve retention in 2023!

Three easy ways to improve retention in 2023!

As someone who has done their fair share of recruiting, interviewing and hiring, I know just how frustrating it can be to have that high producing “A” player decide that your workplace just isn’t the right fit for them. To keep your top producers engaged you have to create and foster an environment that allows them to succeed in the areas that are important to them. In todays workforce, we are constantly competing for talent. People have more options than ever and working for a company that people don’t feel valued just isn’t something people today will do for long. Having turnover is costly! The average employee turnover will cost 1/2 to two times the persons salary to replace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the annual turnover rate at over 25%. Therefore, if you have a 25 person organization that provides an average salary of $50,000, your turnover and replacement costs could be $165,000 to $650,000 per year. So, how many positions did you turnover last year? What if you could just cut that number in half? Here are a few tips that can help you turn that around.

Tip #1 | Do an Engagement/ Satisfaction Survey

Engagement/employee satisfaction surveys are a great way to get authentic feedback from your faculty in a way that keeps their responses anonymous. Many times your employees have visibility on issues and ideas that could improve the organization that they are happy to share if given the opportunity. Due to their proximity to the issues, often they have already thought of ways to help or fix the problems and are just waiting on a head nod to help. Try and leave room for people to make suggestions and comment with ideas. Of course you will get some surface level responses like “give everyone a raise” or “let everyone have more time off” but, I think you will be surprised by the productive well thought out responses that will reveal to you how engaged your key people are.

Warning! Be sure you are ready to make the appropriate changes that come from the survey. If nothing changes after the survey has completed it can have the opposite affect you are shooting for. People will feel like their ideas and opinions don’t matter and that the organization was simply embellishing them by asking. Create a follow up plan for recognizing the top responses and areas you think the organization is ready to improve with this new information.

I recommend doing this type of survey quarterly. (If you do quarterly performance reviews, right before is a great time)

Tip #2 | Clarify Expectations

How many times have you heard an employee say “I just don’t know what I am supposed to be doing.” Although this may just be an excuse, it also has a tendency to be true. Communication has degraded between management and staff resulting in non-productive people that have no ownership of their projects or performance.

We tend to promote people into leadership for their production. We take our top producers and say “hey, I want more people to work like you. You should manage people.” While I completely agree that your leaders have to be able to lead by example and have the competence to teach and train, that doesn’t make them equipped to lead people. This has to be an intentional development process of leadership and gets overlooked most of the time. The evident result, unclear expectations of staff.

No matter how sharp the person is, they need clear expectations. If you’re like me, you’ve heard things like “figure it out, that’s why I hired you.” This will usually result in the problem getting solved in a way that isn’t necessarily cohesive with the big picture. Timelines get blown, budgets get exceeded, resources get wasted. That’s why leadership has to be the one to set the parameters and guidelines with what can make a role or project successful. People thrive under clear direction and love to exceed expectations of the people they respect. Most of the time they just need to know what those expectations are.

If you will pause briefly to write the job descriptions, communicate how to succeed, and give clear instruction on how to meet and exceed your expectations, I think you will be blown away by the positive response you get from your personnel. You will see more people taking ownership of tasks and being willing to problem solve with their new set of guidelines.

Tip #3 | Learn Your Employee’s Motivation

We tend to think pay and time off are the best motivators. Astonishingly, many people would put things like recognition amongst their peers, appreciation from their family members, having competent leadership, learning new skills or a referral from a client in front of pay or time off. This isn’t to say you don’t need to be competitive with pay. It is to emphasize the importance of learning what motivates your people and how you can make an effort to help them.

The ideal time to learn what motivates your team members is before you even onboard them. I would encourage making this a part of your interview or onboarding process. The second best time is now! There are many great tools you can use that will make this a simple duplicatable process. One of my favorite tools is the Motivation Cards by Gallup. This exercise will tell you the top 5 motivations for each person that uses the tool. Your staff will be excited that you are taking interest in what motivates them and you won’t have to guess what will keep them happy and engaged. I recommend trying to make something happen that speaks to each person’s motivation as soon as you see the opportunity. Sometimes this is simple like a change in title or being more flexible with hours to accommodate family needs. Other options in the deck are not so easy like “a family trip to Hawaii.” If you don’t have the means to make something like that come true, this will give you ideas on how to do their annual bonus or how to reward exceptional performance.

©2022 Alexander West LLC