“If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.” -Patrick Lencioni
It is every business owner’s worst nightmare. One of your best employees that has been with you from the beginning has taken a job with another company. You know the loss of this valuable employee will mean loss of time and money spent on training someone to be half as effective and knowledgeable as the team member you are losing. “What went wrong?”, you wonder. Were they unhappy with their salary? Their duties? The office culture? Changes due to company growth?
Of course, there are certain factors outside of your control that could cause an employee to make the decision to resign such as finding a position that is a closer commute or moving to another city so that his or her spouse can follow their dreams; but whether you have a staff of three or three hundred, you must have an employment retention plan in place to ensure this is not a common occurrence.
Here at Lawton Marketing Group we have been fortunate to have excellent experiences when hiring and have a very low turnover rate. Below are four suggestions I have for you based on research and practices we have implemented here at LMG:
1. Hire the best.
If you want to keep your employees, first you need to hire the right people. Take your time deciding who to interview and don’t be afraid to have multiple interviews. The right person will keep coming back and be willing to do what you require. Here at LMG, depending on the position, there are a variety of steps we take ensure we are hiring the right people from the get-go. We may ask to see a portfolio to decide if the candidate’s work ethic and skills are what we are looking for. We may ask them to take an aptitude test. We also commonly give group interviews to see how the candidate interacts with our team.
2. Make team members valuable as quickly as possible.
According to a recent Gallup poll, 87% of millennials feel that professional development and opportunity for growth within their career is one of the most important aspects of choosing a workplace. * Your strategy here will depend on the size of your business and industry, but the bottom line is to train and train well. Training should be an ongoing process and employees should be encouraged to continually grow into areas of the company that fit their interests.
Every aspect of making someone part of your team does not have to be formal training. As many of our employees that can work in one room together do, cultivating team work in our office. Onboarding a new employee and putting them in an office alone to figure things out is not the best idea. Not knowing how to deal with unavoidable workplace problems and who to reach out to leads to frustration and feeling unappreciated. Your business may include different strategies such as new employee orientations to ease first-day anxieties and help employees learn the ropes or training apps employees can refer to and learn at their own pace.
3. Offer the best benefits you can.
You may only be a five-man operation and cannot afford to offer traditional benefits such as 401ks or life insurance, but that does not mean you cannot compete with a larger employer. These benefits do not even have to cost you a cent. One of the best benefits you can give employees is flexibility. The Gallup poll I previously referenced stated that providing work-life balance was key to keeping employees satisfied in the work place*. Can you allow employees to set their own schedule or trade out holidays for other days they would prefer to be off? This is a great incentive. Can you offer a more relaxed environment where employees dress casually? Do it!
4. Create a family culture.
Although this is the last suggestion I’m mentioning, it is far from the least important. As previously mentioned, our employees all work closely together. Everyone learns from one another and has a hand in nearly every project we do, helping employees to feel equally valued. Our company has seen incredible growth in the last few years. Some of our employees work remotely to alleviate this growth in our office, but we ensure everyone feels connected and part of our “family”. We pay the travel expenses for employees to return to the office for a day or two on a regular basis. We celebrate birthdays together, have happy hour events and host quarterly company fun days.
Take the time to ensure you are doing all you can to keep your employees happy. They are the heart of your business. You are only as great as your team.
Gallup, Inc. “What Millennials Want From Work and Life.” Gallup.com. N.p., 11 May 2016. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.