An organization’s #1 asset is actually their employees. The continued progress of an organization depends greatly on the effectiveness with which it develops its employees, and the amount of value and appreciation that is exhibited towards them, even for the simple things they do within their work day.
One of the greatest challenges organizations face is retaining employees. Did you know the average cost to replace one employee in an entry to mid level position is between 16 to 20% of the departing employee’s annual salary? This percentage can double and even triple for those employees in higher educated roles, senior managers, and especially those in executive roles.
Employees will look to move on when there is a lack of career growth, low morale, management issues, poor training, and little or no recognition of their accomplishments. Solid retention strategies allow organizations to retain valuable employees and can be used as a means to transform an organization’s culture to a more desirable place to work.
Consider your on-boarding program for new hires. A well defined and comprehensive orientation helps:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Provides guidelines with regards to policies and procedures
- Define and set realistic job goals and expectations
For an on-boarding program to be successful, set timelines to review performance to date, especially in the first 30 to 90 days.
An employee review helps identify gaps in performance, set objectives and identify support required to be effective in the role. Two-way communication between the employee and their manager is critical, and provides:
- Feedback on overall performance
- Tracking of achievements and accomplishments to date
- Setting objectives and expectations for upcoming year, and areas for development
- Basis for determining measurable bonus (if applicable)
Performance appraisals should be reflective and forward thinking, providing opportunity for an employee and their manager to “take stock” and plan ahead. Reviews should be conducted consistently in an open and honest environment, resulting in a positive, motivating and rewarding experience.
Recognizing employees for their effort, hard work and dedication increases morale and instills passion for the work being performed. Consider:
- Spot Awards – presenting an employee with a small token of appreciation (such as a gift card for their favourite store or restaurant) based on performance and reliability, major achievement with a project or customer
- Celebrate loyalty with 5 years, 10 years + awards – make it a presentation to the employee(s) with their colleague’s present
- Birthday program – acknowledging employees on their special day
- Peer-to-Peer recognition – small tokens of appreciation or cards employees can give to their coworkers in recognition for going above and beyond, assisting with a major project, etc.
- Seminars and lunch and learn activities that are geared towards continuous skill development, but also consider other activities such as managing stress in the workplace, retirement planning or health and wellness initiatives
- Referral programs
The best method of recognition is a simple thank-you for a job well done. Recognition should be geared toward organizational performance and strategic results, and be consistent.
- Scheduling flexibility, working from home, job rotation, etc.
- Casual day, bring a child/pet to work, etc.
Stretch assignments are also popular. These give employee’s opportunities to take on assignments that are beyond their comfort zone with more responsibility. It helps broaden skills, increase employee confidence, challenging them, resulting in higher motivation and productivity.
In summary, chose the right the methods for your organization. This will provide structure and direction for employees, improving the management of people to engage them, and the end result will be higher commitment and tenure.