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Employee Retention

Learn how employee retention does an organization good.

Employees feeling unappreciated, with an overlying attitude from management that they could be easily replaced, leads to high turnover. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Employees feeling unappreciated, with an overlying attitude from management that they could be easily replaced, leads to high turnover.

Employee retention is a conscious effort on the part of management to keep employees content and fulfilled in their jobs so they want to stay with the company for the long haul. Most employers know that employee retention strategies are an important skill for managers to practice, and a part of a company's overall stability. Employees with years of experience with a company help maintain a smooth workflow. They know where everything is, know other employees well, and know who to go to in order to get things done.

Implementing and maintaining a strategy for a high percentage of employee retention is key to long-term success and growth of any company. But how to go about retaining the best employees can be difficult, because differences in personality and motivation can make a program successful for some, but not for others. However, there are many low-cost ideas geared toward rewarding good employees that convey to them that they're a valuable part of the team.

Benefits of Long-Term Employees

Improving a company's retention rate starts with understanding what drives people to stay with their current employer. Surprisingly, most people don't leave a job solely for more money. In fact, the opposite is sometimes true; an employee may be highly paid, but the money just isn't worth how the job makes them feel. Money and benefits are important, but just as important is the workplace environment. The difference lies within a workplace that fosters caring and one that's cold an impersonal.

The atmosphere of a company in the areas of company reputation, safety, and a clear business mission also has a bearing on employee job satisfaction. Employees feeling unappreciated, with an overlying attitude from management that they could be easily replaced, leads to high turnover. Additionally, workers who feel as if they don't have the support they need to do a good job, in the way of enforced standard procedures and competent co-workers and supervisors, frequently start looking for other opportunities.

The benefits of low turnover are many. According to BusinessKnowHow.com, the cost to replace an employee is usually about 2.5 times the salary of the employee. This figure not only includes the cost of advertising, time spent interviewing and getting the new employee up to speed, but also the cost of lowered morale and customer dissatisfaction. Companies with low turnover can use the time not being spent in the hiring process to focus on production, earning them more money in the long run.

Employee Retention Program Ideas

A company looking to improve its retention rate could begin by examining its hiring process. Many times a decision is made about an applicant on the interviewer's gut feeling within just a few minutes of an interview. Incorporating standardized personality tests into the hiring process is becoming increasingly popular as a way to gauge an applicant's fit with a job and company.

Once the right people are in place, the focus shifts to making them feel cared about and appreciated, not just for the job they do, but also in their lives outside of work. Recognizing the major events such as the birth of a baby or a death in the family fosters an impression of caring about the whole family. Some companies make arrangements with local dry cleaners, maintenance companies, etc., and offer employees those services to make their lives easier. The option to telecommute, work 4 10-hour days a week, or work off-peak hours can lower an employee's stress level. Onsite daycare and gym facilities are also a huge bonus for families. Retention Connection highlights the need for an emergency childcare option for employees, which is a frequent cause of lost time at work, particularly for working mothers.

Celebrating work anniversaries and birthdays with a cake once a month improves morale. A gallery of pictures in the front office of every employee who has been with the company more than five years sends a message not only to employees but customers and vendors too. Incorporating an employee's family by giving out savings bonds to any child who receives straight A's, or having "Take Your Child to Work Day" once or twice a year leads to positive feelings about the company by the whole family.

Garnering suggestions from the employees themselves can be a great tool, but a suggestion box that sits gathering dust does nothing for morale. An idea campaign is a great idea. The goal is to get at least one idea from each employee over several weeks. A rewards system could be set up based on feasibility, money or time that could be saved, etc.

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