Retention Strategies Matter Now More than Ever

New research by global workplace supplier Regus has revealed that a staggering 77 per cent of employees would choose one job over another if it enabled them to access opportunities for flexible work.

Four effective strategies for improving retention rates in your organisation

A recent survey conducted by management consultancy AchieveGlobal examined some of the most critical issues managers face when building a talent management strategy.

The research canvassed issues such as the likelihood of current employees leaving their job, what categories of employees are most likely to leave their job, what impact turnover having on business, why employees leave and what best practice employers are doing to hold onto their talent.

Importantly the research showed that nearly 25 per cent of all respondents were considering leaving their jobs in the next 12 months citing lack of growth and development opportunities, lack of respect and lack of compensation as the top three reasons.

The AchieveGlobal research showed that the four main strategies employers should implement to boost their chances of retaining key talent are:

  1. Offering competitive salary, benefits and incentives packages including the provision of:
    • Compensation and benefits commensurate with position and experience
    • Compensation that is appropriate to talent and work
    • Compensation in line with the market value
    • Competitive benefits and incentive structures
  2. Ensuring employees receive the recognition they deserve for a job well done through:
    • managers ensuring they offer regular recognition and thanks
    • Establishing individual initiative recognition programs
    • Provision of reward and recognition for performance
    • Sharing the company’s strategy and direction and results information
  3. Offering career development opportunities through provision of:
    • Appropriate and regular opportunities to progress
    • External training opportunities
    • Cross-training opportunities when they are available
  4. Ensuring a healthy work/life balance and allowing flexibility by:
    • Creating a healthy and pleasant work environment
    • Allowing flexibility to improve work/life balance
    • Setting realistic expectations about workload

The Stay Interview

Many researchers in the area of retention claim employers should take a proactive approach to looking at strategies for encouraging staff to stay and Founder of the Retention Institute Dick Finnegan, recently told Nancy Germond from All Business that retention should be driven by a company’s executive team and managed like any other process in an organisation.

In his Rethinking Retention Model Finnegan recommends companies should take the following steps when approaching retention strategies:

  • Calculate the cost of turnover to determine how much it hurts your company’s bottom line.
  • Hold supervisors accountable for retention.
  • Teach supervisors the importance of and how to build trust.
  • “Narrow the front door to close the back door,” according to Finnegan.
  • Carefully script an employee’s first 90 days on the job.

According to Finnegan the main reason employees stay in the jobs or leave their jobs is because of the relationship they have with their supervisor.

“If supervisors aren’t effective, all of the retention programs you create will be ineffective,” he said.

In response to this Finnegan invented the Stay Interview as a device for improving staff relationships, employee retention and reducing turnover. A Stay Interview is a one-on-one meeting each manager and supervisor has with each direct report in order to learn why that employee stays with the company and is in direct contrast to an Exit Interview.

“Once an employee offers feedback on the reasons why they stay, the manager acts on the stay reasons to increase the chance that an employee will stay longer and be more productive,” says Finnegan.

Supervisors then document and share the results of the interview with the management team and with senior managers. The Stay Interview is not just for line employees, it is for each member of the organisation. Managers and supervisors also have Stay Interviews with their bosses.

Finnegan says that to be effective, a stay plan must be tailored to the employee’s opinions of the work environment. For example, if an employee reports he or she likes the flexibility of a one-day a week work from home arrangement. He asks employers to consider whether they could build on this benefit to include two work from home days.

Another proactive retention strategy Finnegan encourages employers to pursue is a positive and well planned new employee induction program. Finnegan says the experience a new employee has on entering an organisation is a critical factor in their decision to stay with an employer in the long term.

Finnegan says many new employees reach a tipping point 90-180 days after starting in a job and he says it is vital for companies to connect with and maintain constant communication with employees during this sensitive time. He says a trial period can also be a very useful way of reducing retention rates as it enables employees to try out a job before committing.

Research is increasingly showing that companies with a great ability to attract and retain an appropriately talented and skilled team of employees are more likely to be successful. To ensure your company is in this position, it is important to pay close attention to your retention strategies, to monitor their success and to be flexible in your approach to updating them.

Contact Care Corporate for information on products and services designed to boost your retention rates and improve your reputation as an employer of choice.

Worldwide Trends in Employee Retention Report – AchieveGlobal

Employee Retention Strategy Can Save Companies Millions – All Business

The Retention Institute

1. Schlesinger and Heskett Breaking the Cycle of Failure in Services MIT Sloan Management Review 2009

This Better Workplace Bulletin was First Published in July 2012