Making Retention Important to the Employee
“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahey, Former CEO of Xerox
Employee Engagement Leads to Talent Retention
I continue my hope that we are coming out of a time of recession, but every time it looks good – that this is a possibility – something causes that view to change. Companies respond differently to recession. Many laid off or lost quality talent, others downgraded or demoted employees, reducing their hours or pay. Many others initiated hiring freezes, leaving departments struggling with too few employees. Hiring and retaining the right talent is sometimes considered a luxury many organizations cannot afford – but can an organization really afford to lose their quality employees or hire the wrong people?
Some companies continue to hire, continue to provide growth opportunities for their staff, and many others enjoy and maintain intended growth. Though not easy, growing companies fight against recessions, they understand the risks of doing otherwise. It’s hard, yes – but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it – but they don’t and they aren’t.
It is a risk to continue to invest in staff, but companies who do (and do it well)
reap the rewards that often follow well-executed risk.
Sadly, millions of employees are not part of such organizations. Millions live with the dread and uncertainty which accompanies a recession. Many cling to heartfelt company loyalty, hoping for a reward for sticking around. The Affordable Care Act, changes in payroll taxes, and other burdens placed on businesses threaten those that have survived the last several years. Many more stories will unfold; lessons will be revealed as we face the ever-changing cost of doing business.
The Price of Loyalty
As the economy rises and falls, can companies face losing quality talent? Quality seeks quality like water seeks its own level. Thus, we have seen and will continue to see employees let go or jump ship when seas calm enough to see beyond the next swell. This is the time when employees can actually consider and follow their own aspirations as grasses look greener elsewhere.
How will you keep and retain your quality talent? Offering bonuses or raises may be necessary (but often out of the question) in a tight market. The lure of the almighty dollar may be too great for quality talent. Retention of quality employees is an organic by-product of employee loyalty, trust, and engagement. The price for loyalty may be high but it is not unattainable. The job market today is ripe and human resource departments must think about the future in order to survive present.
Many of my favorite jobs were with companies where I was seriously underpaid – I stayed out of sheer loyalty and trust that the future would be better – that was my risk. Employee loyalty can fill the gap where pay and benefits often fall short. Opportunity for growth, interesting and consistently updated products, or an awesome service offering, outstanding people management, succession plans, employee development, and learning are all tools for successful employee retention and engagement during rocky financial times. Creative growth strategy is a must and also a great bargaining chip when employees are tempted to hop fences to greener grasses.
Retention and engagement must be thought of prior to developing a hiring strategy. Are companies truly hiring to retain? Or are they hiring to fill gaps – to get butts in seats? Organizations which have invested in retention plans that include employee engagement, real-time employee relations/communications, succession planning, as well as learning and development will survive tight job markets that result from recessions. They have filled their own gaps from within. Creating flexible work schedules and allowing for remote or virtual employ can also be part of that creative retention process. These offerings, along with management that is respected and liked, allow organizations to foster personal growth for their employees, manifested by built-in retention, and a consistently evolving company culture. Challenged but satisfied employees are less likely to look for jobs elsewhere.
Quality employees, the kind you want to keep, hunger for learning. They long for personal growth, they crave a good challenge; for learning, challenge, and stretching are where true personal growth takes place. Strident organizations will benefit long-term from their employee growth investment and true retention efforts.
One More Thought
“Even your most talented employees have room for growth in some area, and you’re doing your employee a disservice if the sum of your review is: ‘You’re great!’ No matter how talented the employee, think of ways he could grow towards the position he might want to hold two, five, or 10 years down the line.” – Kathryn Minshew, CEO and Co-Founder of The Muse
Make it happen. Change to retain.