As I was talking to a business owner this past week he expressed his frustration with finding and keeping people. He is not alone. This is a very common refrain these days and it doesn’t appear to be getting any easier. So if that’s the case, what are you doing to insure that you keep the people you have on your team and engaged in the business? Do you even have a strategy for this critical element?
According to a recent article in Harvard Business Review, “The pace of employee turnover is forecast to be 50–75% higher than companies have experienced previously and the issue is compounded by it taking 18% longer to fill roles than pre-pandemic. Increasingly squeezed business owners and managers are spending time they don’t have searching for new recruits in an expensive and competitive market.” ①
Unless efforts are refocused on employee retention, managers will be unable to drive performance and affect change. Business owners and leaders need to take action to enable their managers to keep their talent while still being able to deliver on results. So what are some steps that business leaders and managers can take to improve retention? Unfortunately there is no quick fix for this problem. However, one of the key steps owners and managers need to take is to look closely at improving employee engagement at all levels. Here are three areas you can address that will get you started.
1) Open Book Management - This approach helps in creating inclusion and a sense of belonging as well as teaching the employee the basics of business. Many people leave their jobs because there is a “lack of career progression.” The challenge for many businesses is that there is not a logical progression for each employee. One way to address this is to shift the thinking from promotion to progression. Give people an opportunity to learn new skills and improve their understanding in running the business. Engage your people in learning how their role and contribution affects the business operationally as well as financially. This approach will help improve business performance and build the employee’s skills.
2) Building Ownership – For many employers the ESOP is not a viable approach and in many cases it can be argued that in larger organizations the link between these plans and job performance is largely disconnected. So take it down a notch or two and create the opportunity for employees and departments to connect their contributions to the business success. Create programs that will provide a slice of the pie for everyone around the table. This approach creates loyalty, more productivity and longer tenure. Look at it this way – it’s the difference between renting and owning a car, house or any other valuable asset.
3) Respect - through empathy and integrity. People want to be valued and treated fairly. Promote kindness to build a sense of belonging. This aspect of the workplace is often considered a “nice to have” or even completely ignored. Current research proves that “people-focused” leadership is effective in driving positive business outcomes. The great thing is that this skill can be taught to your managers and leaders. An investment in training and education will always prove to be a positive ROI for your business.
You can imagine what all this does for employee loyalty and commitment. According to Harvard Business School Professor L.A. Schlesinger, “When employees know more about the business and have an economic stake in the outcome, there’s a high probability that turnover rates will go down exponentially.”
One final thought. Why not incent your mangers on employee retention, not just on their team but across the entire organization? This would go a long way towards letting everyone know that you value the importance of a cohesive and connected team that is engaged and in it to win.
For some additional tips and strategies check out my related article 4 Keys to Craft an Effective Employee Retention Strategy
If you would like to have a conversation on how I can help you with your employee retention issues or leadership training initiatives please reach out. firstname.lastname@example.org