Employee turnover costs billions of dollars every year. There are the direct costs of advertising, recruiting, hiring, and training new employees. But there are major indirect costs associated with lowered morale, too. Factors include:
- When a favored colleague leaves, there can be uncertainty about how the group will work with the next unknown teammate.
- The additional supervision time needed to incorporate new employees into their jobs
- The rigors of reforming group culture
According to the Ipsos Loyalty Study, less than 30 percent of U.S. employees say they are loyal to their company. Given these challenges, greater retention positively affects the bottom line and contributes more uplift for stabilizing individuals and teams.
Here are four key strategies for effectively impacting greater retention and cost savings:
- Know your employees: Easy to say. And many managers would say they do. But in our Bold New Directions’ research globally, the average percentage of time a manager/supervisor actually spends with his or her team members is only about 25 percent. How can a “boss” get to know his or her people better? One fairly simple and inexpensive tool is having everyone take a four-quadrant Behavior Styles assessment, discuss the outcomes, and keep using the findings over time to work on reducing the natural gaps between and among styles. Another method is a combination of managers/ supervisors expanding their character trait of “curiosity” and combining it with the skill of asking powerful questions. Employ management-by-walking-around to keep building relationships and getting to know your people ever better. When relationships between managers and staff are more trusting and solid, people stay longer.
- Provide effective leadership and supervision: The problem here is that many organizations promote people from within who are technically skilled but have never been trained on people skills such as communication and relationship-building. The first order of the day is to spend the money to bring your management team up to excellence through ongoing training, coaching, and mentoring.
- Provide and encourage feedback and recognition: Feedback is a two-way street. What kind of mechanisms and practices does your organization currently have or need to implement to ensure evaluation and feedback are done well and regularly? While managers/supervisors need to prioritize doing this, they also need to be trained on how to evaluate and how to give feedback in a way that does not lower morale but is received in the spirit of positive growth. But feedback should not just be top down. All employees have points of view. Lots of useful feedback remains uncovered because managers/ supervisors don’t ask for reviews about their own performance. When employees are given a voice (that is heard), they feel more a part of the organization’s success. That voice will inspire your better employees to stay.
- Offer professional development: There are several ingredients to professional development. First, it makes sense for your organization to spend money on training and coaching. Leaving growth to the all-too-usual learning on the job is haphazard and often ineffective. Employees are being trained by other employees who also learned on the job and who were trained by those who learned on the job, etc. Adding effective skill- and insight-based classes upscales the level of effectiveness and will give you measurable ROI.
Second, employees who have professional growth and learning as prized values will appreciate the support your investing in them offers. That helps build their loyalty to your organization.
A third ingredient is helping your team members define a career track (ideally, one that is available within your organization), so the choices of training programs are in line with those defined goals.
The bottom line is that retention strategies such as these pay for themselves many times over when compared with the cost of turnover. It is simply common sense and great fiscal management to take another look at how you are approaching retention.
Manager-leader specialist Jim Hornickel is the cofounder and master trainer at Bold New Directions. Along with a B.A. in Management, Hornickel’s professional experience includes 25 years as a manager-leader in several industries; life, leadership, and relationship coaching; and authoring books “Negotiating Success” and “Managing from the Inside Out (16 Insights for Building Positive Relationships with Staff).” For more information, visit www.managementtraininginstitute.com/home/ and www.boldnewdirections.com.