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  • 1. Strategies for Retaining Employees and MinimizingTurnoverby Sarah K. Yazinski, University of ScrantonEmployees leave organizations for many reasons;oftentimes these reasons are unknown to theiremployers. Employers need to listen to employees’needs and implement retention strategies to makeemployees feel valued and engaged in order to keepthem. These retention methods can have a significantand positive impact on an organization’s turnover rate.Here we’ll take a look at some of these strategies.According to strategic planning consultant LeighBranham, SPHR, 88% of employees leave their jobs forreasons other than pay: However, 70% of managersthink employees leave mainly for pay-related reasons.Branham says there are seven main reasons whyemployees leave a company: 1. Employees feel the job or workplace is not what they expected. 2. There is a mismatch between the job and person. 3. There is too little coaching and feedback. 4. There are too few growth and advancement opportunities. 5. Employees feel devalued and unrecognized. 6. Employees feel stress from overwork and have a work/life imbalance. 7. There is a loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders.
  • 2. Turnover Facts and FiguresTurnover is costly. According to Right Management, atalent and career management consulting firm, it costsnearly three times an employee’s salary to replacesomeone, which includes recruitment, severance, lostproductivity, and lost opportunities. Life WorkSolutions , a provider of staff retention and consultingservices, provides the following turnover facts andrates: • Over 50 % of people recruited in to an organization will leave within 2 years. • One in four of new hires will leave within 6 months. • Nearly 70% of organizations report that staff turnover has a negative financial impact due to the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training a replacement employee and the overtime work of current employees that’s required until the organization can fill the vacant position. • Nearly 70 % of organizations report having difficulties in replacing staff. • Approximately 50% of organizations experience regular problems with employee retention.From these statistics it’s clear that it’s important todevelop a retention plan to retain employees and keepturnover low.Retention Methods
  • 3. As explained by EA Consulting Group in a recent whitepaper, the dilemma facing organizations is whether toinvest more time and money fine-tuning theirrecruitment strategy or to pay extra attention toretaining the talent they already have. Recruiting newstaff is expensive, stressful and time-consuming. Onceyou have good staff it pays to make sure they stay(Main, 2008).Think of retention as re-recruiting your workforce.Recognize that what attracts a candidate to a particularjob is often different from what keeps that person there.While salary certainly is a key consideration forpotential employees, pay alone won’t keep them in ajob (Angott, 2007). Advantageous aspects other thanstrictly compensation attract good employees;something more than a number retains them. Todayemployees are looking for a career package, including acomfortable company culture, career path, diversity ofresponsibilities, and a work/life balance (Griffiths,2006).Here are some effective methods employers utilize inorder to keep employees happy and part of theirorganization instead of looking for employmentopportunities elsewhere.Training. Training employees reinforces their sense ofvalue (Wingfield, 2009). Through training, employershelp employees achieve goals and ensure they have a
  • 4. solid understanding of their job requirements (Maul,2008).Mentoring. A mentoring program integrated with agoal-oriented feedback system provides a structuredmechanism for developing strong relationships withinan organization and is a solid foundation for employeeretention and growth (Wingfield). With a mentoringprogram, an organization pairs someone moreexperienced in a discipline with someone lessexperienced in a similar area, with the goal to developspecific competencies, provide performance feedback,and design an individualized career development plan(Goldenson, 2007).Instill a positive culture. A company should establish aseries of values as the basis for culture such as honesty,excellence, attitude, respect, and teamwork (IOMA,2008). A company that creates the right culture willhave an advantage when it comes to attracting andkeeping good employees (Main).Use communication to build credibility. No matterwhat the size of the organization, communication iscentral to building and maintaining credibility. Manyemployers get communication to “flow up” through astaff advisory council (or similar group) which solicitsand/or receives employees’ opinions and suggestionsand passes them on to upper management (IOMA). It’salso important for employees to know that the employer
  • 5. is really listening and responds to (or otherwiseacknowledges) employee input.Show appreciation via compensation and benefits.Offering things like competitive salaries, profit sharing,bonus programs, pension and health plans, paid timeoff, and tuition reimbursement sends a powerfulmessage to employees about their importance at theorganization. The rewards given to employees must bemeaningful in order to impact their perception of theorganization and therefore have a marked influence onits retention efforts. Moreover, if an organizationpromises a reward, it should keep that promise(Gberevbie, 2008).Encourage referrals and recruit from within. Havingcurrent employees offer referrals could help minimizeconfusion of job expectations. Current employees canrealistically describe a position and the environment tothe individual he/she is referring. Another way anemployer can lessen the impact of turnover is to hirefrom within, since current employees have alreadydiscovered that they are a good fit in the organization(Branham, 2005).Coaching/feedback. It’s important for companies togive feedback and coaching to employees so that theirefforts stay aligned with the goals of the company andmeet expectations. During an employee’s first fewweeks on the job, an employer should provide intensivefeedback. Employers should also provide formal and
  • 6. informal feedback to employees throughout the year(Branham).Provide growth opportunities. An organization shouldprovide workshops, software, or other tools to helpemployees increase their understanding of themselvesand what they want from their careers and enhance theirgoal-setting efforts (Branham). It’s important to provideemployees with adequate job challenges that willexpand their knowledge in their field (Levoy, 2007).According to Right Management, employees are morelikely to stay engaged in their jobs and committed to anorganization that makes investments in them and theircareer development.Make employees feel valued. Employees will go theextra mile if they feel responsible for the results of theirwork, have a sense of worth in their jobs, believe theirjobs make good use of their skills, and receiverecognition for their contributions (Levoy).Employees should be rewarded at a high level tomotivate even higher performance. The use of cashpayouts could be used for on-the-spot recognition.These rewards have terrific motivational power,especially when given as soon as possible after theachievement. It’s important for employers to say “thankyou” to employees for their efforts and find differentways to recognize them. Even something as simple as afree lunch can go a long way towards makingemployees feel valued.
  • 7. Listen to employees and ask for their input as to whatrewards might work best at your organization. Conductmeetings and surveys to enable employees to share theirinput (Branham). Most team members will work harderto carry out a decision that they’ve helped to influence.Lower stress from overworking and create work/lifebalance. It’s important to match work/life benefits tothe needs of employees. This could be in the form ofoffering nontraditional work schedules (such as acompressed work week, telecommuting, and flextime)or extra holidays. When work-life balance is structuredproperly, both the employee and employer come outahead. For example, the employer will experience moreproductivity in the workplace because employees willbe less stressed, healthier, and thus, more productive(Wingfield). Encouraging employees to set work/lifegoals, such as spending more time with their children,communicates that you really do want them to have alife outside of work and achieve a healthy work/lifebalance.Foster trust and confidence in senior leaders. Developstrong relationships with employees from the start tobuild trust (Stolz, 2008). Employees have to believe thatupper management is competent and that theorganization will be successful. An employer has to beable to inspire this confidence and make decisions thatreinforce it. An employer cannot say one thing and doanother. For example, an employer shouldn’t talk aboutquality and then push employees to do more work in
  • 8. less time. In addition, employers need to engage andinspire employees by enacting policies that show theytrust them, such as getting rid of authoritarian style ofmanagement (Branham).ConclusionIt’s clear that having proper retention strategies is keyin order to retain employees. According to Mike Foster,founder and CEO of the Foster Institute, in order tofoster an environment that motivates and stimulatesemployees, managers need to incorporate motivation-building practices into their corporate culture. Thesepractices include listening to employees and respectingtheir opinions, basing rewards on performance, andbeing available to them for everything from listening totheir ideas and concerns to assisting them with theircareer advancement.Employees need to feel valued and appreciated, begiven feedback, provided with growth opportunities, begiven work-life balance options, and have trust andconfidence in their leaders (Branham). All of theseretention strategies are beneficial when an employerwants to keep employees within an organization andkeep costs of turnover low.