If you’re reading this, you already know employee retention may be the most important and challenging key to the success and survival of your business. If you’re in a leadership or human resources position, it might be the most critical piece to your growth and career. A lot rides on employee retention.

And it’s not Getting any Easier

Unemployment is at a modern high due to COVID-19. However, that will change and you must be ready when it does. The average tenure of younger employees has dropped below five years. People don’t expect to stay in one career let alone with one organization. If employee retention is part of your job description, you have your work cut out for you. With that said, employee retention can be improved. You can beat the stats, but it will take a commitment and a lot of hard work. It’s not a complicated plan, but it will bring sweat to your brow.

Don’t use Money as an Excuse for Turnover

Money is a reason someone doesn’t accept a position. When money and benefits are fully disclosed in the hiring process and the new hire hasn’t taken a substantial cut in pay from their previous position (if they accept a low paying position they may still be in the job market). If that is the case, money isn’t the most likely reason for leaving. If you use money as your excuse, you won’t find the real cause, and you will not improve. So, no excuses.

Tell it like it is

If you want to retain people hire them right. Look at the interview process as an information gathering and sharing device. And most of all share the pitfalls of the position. There’s no such thing as a perfect job. Mine comes close, but it’s not perfect. Inform candidates about the difficulties and challenges of the job. When you do you will accomplish three things:

  1. Eliminate candidates that don’t fit the position
  2. Prepare new hires for the challenge
  3. Show candidates corporate honesty and transparency which they don’t often experience. It’s attractive.

Seek Input

New employees make up their mind to leave your organization sooner than you think—some make the decision on their first day. The best way to find out where a trainee stands is to ask them. At the end of the first day sit down one on one and ask about their day. Ask what wasn’t as they expected, what questions they have, and where they need help. Take a minute and ask for their input and opinions. Don’t wait 90 days for a follow-up, 90 days is too late. Check in with new team members at least once a week; once a day is better. Conduct a survey at 30 days and ask:

  • What additional or follow-up training would help you do your job?
  • What tools or equipment do you need?
  • How could I be a better leader to fit your needs?
  • What should I ask you that I haven’t asked?

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

It’s a shame to lose a potentially valuable employee through lack of understanding. Whether, it’s training, policy, or processes most people need to hear it more than once.

“The “forgetting curve”, proposed by German psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus in 1885, is an actual mathematical representation of the exponential rate at which we lose a memory “If no attempt is made to retain it roughly 70% of a memory is lost within the first 24 hours.” The Learning Industry

The way to overcome this is to repeat and review. By reviewing material the following day you can reverse this to more than 70% retention with most trainees. Years ago I heard the average person needs to hear something six times before they memorize it. I believe it. I know I’m not a one meeting person, nor are most.

Hopefully, your organization conducts a first-day orientation. If you do, I’m certain you distribute handbooks. But how many people take their handbook home and read it? Exactly. How many trainees remember company policies 30 days after the initial orientation? Hold a follow-up orientation at 30 days.

Give Recognition

Study after study confirms the lack of recognition is one of the primary reasons employees leave. Unfortunately, managers too often downplay the importance of recognizing their people. If you believe recognition is overrated, that people should act like adults and just do their job, how’s that working for you? People don’t quit companies they quit bosses, and the number one reason they quit bosses is the lack of recognition.

  • Recognize positive behaviors
  • Acknowledge when procedures are followed
  • Reinforce successful activities with recognition
  • Listen, involve, and seek input
  • Recognize character

I Didn’t Say it would be Easy

It won’t be easy. It will take a lot of hard work. But the good news is it’s not complicated. Hire the best candidate, be transparent, seek input, recognize positive activities, follow up, and then follow up some more and you will improve employee retention. It won’t happen overnight, but if you stay the course, it will happen.

What have you learned about reducing employee turnover that you can share?

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out. It might help you stop putting off what you want to do.

Photo by Free To Use Sounds on Unsplash