Best Practices for Employee Retention


The relationship that employees have with their employer has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Where before, employers all of the power in the hiring process, today, with the “war for talent” still raging, high profile professionals find themselves being courted by several companies at once. And this is when they’re already employed! Today’s professionals have seen decades of layoffs, corporate mergers and takeovers and countless high profile financial scandals, making them jaded and highly wary of their employers. Today’s professional doesn’t expect to work for the same company until retirement. In fact, according to an article from Payscale, 87% of the 15,000 participants in a Staffbay.com survey said that they planned on leaving their current role within the next year. Yes, your employees certainly need a job, but you’ve got to remember that they’ve got options, especially your most talented employees. In order to make sure that you’re not wasting time and money on re-filling the same position every 8 months, increasing employee retention should be one of your top staffing priorities.

As with increasing employee engagement, one of the best ways to increase employee retention is to engage with your employees in a 1 on 1 setting. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss your employee’s plans for the future (be it at your company or not) and to ask them if there are any people or policies that are making them think about jumping ship. This is known as a “stay interview” and is a much better retention technique than the standard “exit interview.” If you only think to ask “what’s wrong with the way we run things” on an employee’s last day, you’re missing out on any sort of chance to change their minds. By engaging with your employees on a personal level about where they want to go with their career and within your company, you can potentially convince your top performers to give you another shot. Even if they’re dead set on jumping ship, stay interviews can give you some advanced warning about positions that you’ll need to fill in a few month’s time.

Another great thing about stay interviews is that they can show you who’s not working out as a manager at your company. If multiple employees cite the same manager as their reason for leaving, chances are that they won’t be the last. According to the same Payscale article, 52% of those employees who plan on leaving their job do so because they “didn’t trust their boss.” If you think about all of the reasons that people leave their jobs (money, a bad commute, obnoxious co-workers, offers from prestigious competitors, etc.), the fact that half of the soon-to-be-job-seekers are leaving because of a bad boss should show you the importance of selecting good managers. Promotion to management shouldn’t be a reward for time served. Not everyone has the emotional intelligence, the organizational/delegation skills and the temperament to be an effective manager. Before you promote somebody into management, ask yourself  “would I want to report to this person?” By being more selective of the people that you place in management and conducting stay interviews for your employees, you can help to decrease the cost that a high turnover rate is causing your company.


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