Posts Tagged ‘retention’

Keeping the People who Keep you in Business

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Retention Strategies

Turnover is costly, both financially, and the time involved to source and integrate replacement staff.  Exiting employees may leave with: intellectual knowledge that is important to your business; client relationships that will need to quickly shift to other staff; and, depending on why they left and where they’re going, they may encourage others to leave. Risky business.

In this economic downturn phase when employee turnover is down, take time to explore retention, gain input from your staff, and implement strategies for future stability.

Before rushing to address turnover by integrating a new compensation plan or talent management strategy as potential solutions, following are some retention principles, drivers and ideas. Elements of rewards and talent management segments may still be required, but do your research to ensure the time, effort and cost in solutions will ‘hit the mark’. 

The strongest relationships between the intention of people to stay and other attributes include such items as pride in the employer overall, the employees’ affinity for the type of work, the leadership skills of management, trust, and teamwork. Creating a supportive environment, one with transparent communication from leadership, where everyone is pulling in the same direction and employee contributions are valued, are elements more important than compensation rewards when thinking retention.

Stay or Leave?

Start by finding out why your employees stay, and what would cause them to leave. Gather through informal conversations, formal interviews, or employee satisfaction surveys. This input will provide you with guidance for your organization-wide retention strategy. Share your findings and actions with staff so they understand you’re listening and committed to this partnership. This openness, dialogue and partnership is fundamental to being a valued organization to work for.

Be a place people want to work

Enhance your people practices to shape an environment where people are proud of the organization they work for, doing work that aligns with their strengths. You’ll be rewarded with motivated employees who share your passion for the business and strive to meet objectives. They’re likely to stay.

Workplace Resolutions

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

January 5 will see many employees returning to work after enjoying some well deserved time off with family and friends. They will have shed a lot of the stresses of the previous year and be well rested and ready to begin anew.  Some may quickly realize that the stresses of last year are still there, and like stepping into an old pair of shoes, things aren’t off to a good start. What wasn’t working last year? What caused those stresses? They may have forgotten over the winter vacation, but they’ll remember upon returning to work. There’s a window of opportunity in January, when many performance plans are set, to chart a course for improvement and changing work day habits.  

Personal resolutions don’t last without continued focus and support, but the workplace can be an excellent environment for change, through structure, feedback and check-ins. Scan the horizon to see what’s coming to mind as you read this. Yes, you’ll be setting new performance plans this month, but get your employees thinking along lines of what they’d like to improve and change.

Have them form one or two behavioural goals they’d like to focus on, then discuss what they envision as success. A solid performing employee who enjoys their work and is exceeding their objectives may be consistently working additional hours and they realize it’s affecting their home life. You have as much to gain by supporting them to make some adjustments to ensure their work/life balance is in check. This is only one example. Meet with employees in January and ask them what they’d like to improve to be more effective. You’ll get a variety of answers and that’s the beauty of understanding the individual needs of your staff. You need to ask and listen.  

Offer your support, guidance, and keep the communication channels open so they can raise this with you at anytime. 


Leaders that take an interest in the development and personal success of employees are on the right path; well, the only path when you think in terms of retention, employee satisfaction, increased productivity, and providing a healthy work environment where people can flourish. Who wins? Each individual, you, and your business.

Marketplace Turmoil

Friday, November 21st, 2008

We’re in the midst of far-reaching economic uncertainty and that brings forth concern and raises fear for many employees. If it’s not the daily discussions are about which jobs are considered “safe” and which jobs and industries will be impacted, your valued employees are looking at their RRSP statement or the TSX numbers, and that’s not comforting.

To be productive and focus on the work at hand, employees need a feeling of stability and direction. Meet regularly and keep employees involved as to your organization’s objectives and where you foresee changes to current objectives. To be impactful, employees must know where to focus their work efforts.  Shifting some duties and tasks may be necessary to ensure close alignment with any changing objectives. Once employees have this core information, they will understand the need for the changes, and they will have ideas that can support the organization; keep them involved and engaged.

To mitigate fear, communicate openly with staff. From an employee perspective “no news is bad news”. Withholding information may also hamper your ability to retain high performers who make their own conclusions and considering moving to an organization that looks more stable.

Should job losses be a consequence of the downturn, provide supportive outplacement services to bridge employees to new employment. This can take the form of individual and/or group sessions to support exiting employees with tools to plan and implement their job search.  It’s a win-win to provide exiting employees with support. Remaining staff will see their employer “doing the right thing”; and, you may look to rehiring exiting employees in the future once we’re through this downturn. 

Try This

Focus energy and efforts on these core elements:

  1. Employee Retention: Recognize solid performance; be transparent about your organization’s objectives and concerns; show flexibility in responding to employee requests; continue career development; listen to staff input.
  2. Productivity: take stock of employee performance and develop clear timelined goals; manage poor performance – this is not the time for less than ideal performance; tighten up what is not working. Employees, as partners, have a vested interest in maintaining a high level of productivity.
  3. Customer Satisfaction: Do all staff understand the heightened need to differentiate your services from your competitors? Revisit customer needs and refresh service delivery processes and competencies.