KARMA IS A B*TCH
The New Year is truly a time for people to embrace change in all aspects of their lives – diet, exercise, relationships and oh yes, their CAREERS.
The U S Bureau of Labor Statistics January 2012 report shows the unemployment rate at 8.3% with an increase of 243,00 new jobs. An improved job market is great news for the economy and certainly great news for employees who are considering a change.
“Companies that don’t think about employee retention, that basically rest on their laurels and think ‘the economy will take care of us, where are they going to go?’ Those are the companies that, as soon as the labor market picks back up their turnover rates are going to go from 5% to 50%, and it will happen overnight.” – Mark Murphy – The Deadly Sins of Employee Retention.
Columnist Joyce Rosenberg sees this as “Time for a Chat” for smart leaders to begin checking in on employees who may be biding their time to trade up and make a move. The employer should actually do far more listening than talking. Of course, it is best to talk regularly with employees about how the company is doing and how happy they are with their jobs. If “The Chat” gets pushed aside and isn’t a priority, the employer unfortunately may find his/her first opportunity to be with an exit interview – payback time. If the employer fosters an open environment for honest feedback, then there can still be time to gather important information in order to retain their most valuable resource.
Since many employees are less than forthcoming (because they believe their feedback is of no value) about their reasons for leaving, it doesn’t hurt to look at the research AS WELL as ask. A firm specializing in employee surveys (HR Solutions Inc.) compiled a top ten list of what employees want using 2.2 million responses from employees in 2,100 organizations. Some of them seem like “no brainers” but do employers actively consider and use them in day to day management?
THE LIST INCLUDES:
- Higher salaries
- Internal pay equity, especially the differential in pay between new and long term employees
- Benefit program – health/dental insurance, retirement, vacations
- Pay increase for merit, making it clear what contributions merit additional compensation
- Responsiveness of HR departments to employees
- Favoritism – A perceived since of fairness
- Communication and availability of supervisors and executive management
- Too heavy a workload
- Facility cleanliness
So how does an employer or leader consider the needs and concerns of their staff in order to retain them and avoid the costs associate with training, and effect on morale -not to mention the actual monetary loss involved in an extensive candidate search?
Start by hiring the right people in the first place. A professional search firm can be invaluable in the candidate selection process. Competency screening saves time and money in the big picture by finding employees who are a fit and whose goals, dreams and desires match YOUR culture. Then, consider these practical reminders of positive practices to retain employees – an ongoing process and one good managers will recognize and personalize to their particular corporate climate:
It may sound corny or simplistic but begin by practicing the Golden Rule. Treat each employee the way you would want to be treated if you were in their position and as professionals.
*Offer attractive, competitive benefits packages.
*Provide opportunities for people to share their knowledge through training sessions and mentoring.
*Offer performance feedback and praise good work.
*Make work fun.
*Enable employees to balance work and life by providing flex time.
*Involve them in decisions whenever possible.
*Recognize excellent performance and link it to pay.
*Offer bonus potential on personal and company success.
*Stand for something bigger than yourself. Establish and nurture organizational traditions such as food drives during the holidays and community involvement.
*Provide opportunities for career progression.
*Promote personal and career growth through training.
*Establish common goals and responsibilities so that they feel they belong.
*Encourage friendship at work. (SHRM Career Journal.com survey)
Of course, these are broad areas and we know that many times it is the small things that really count and can be deal makers if you wish to foster loyalty. Think of small things that help the employees manage their lives better such as dry-cleaning pickup and delivery or the encouragement of professional development.
Retention of valuable, trained, dependable people must be a priority or the improved job market may find your firm raided by firms that offer more employee centric environments or are perceived as presenting opportunities they were denied heretofore. Anyone out there remember the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the candidate market? Remember perception is everything —and Karma IS a B*TCH.
What are some perks you have been offered that made you loyal to an employer? What keeps you there?