July 26, 2017

Tired of losing people…try keeping them

By Stephanie Maas, Partner, Banking

Exhausted By the Time and Expense of Hiring New People? Try These Three Retention Strategies

Do you know and truly understand the best assets in your current organization? Most managers consider their clients to be their most important assets, but others might beg to differ. Your employees — those who find, service, and maintain your clients — are truly your best assets. The phrase, “take care of your people and your people will take care of your business,” rings true for effective managers.

How good of a leader are you? A look at your turnover is one indicator. Rather than trying to find replacements, retention strategies should be the first line of defense against the difficulties and costs involved in hiring new talent.

According to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 68 percent of HR professionals reported difficulty in recruiting full-time employees. Sure, a job posting on social media can pull in hundreds of resumes, but many of those candidates will lack the skills necessary for the job. Most companies find it better to retain the talent they already have.

So, how can you leverage what you’ve already got as opposed to coveting your competitor’s lot? Here are three retention strategies that work.

1. Rethink Your Hiring Criteria

How do you identify hiring criteria? Do you look for a certain personality type? It’s common for managers to hire those who reflect their own character in an effort to ensure a good “fit” with company culture. But diversity might be a better way to go: focusing on job skills when hiring, and developing those skills once staff are on board, will enrich corporate culture, reduce turnover, and stimulate greater innovation.

2. Try a Win-Win Strategy

Forty-eight percent of firms polled by SHRM found that training existing employees for hard-to-fill positions is better than hiring externally. Developing existing talent provides specific skills and experience that your company needs and improves morale, since most employees want to advance professionally.

Identifying what skills are currently in demand will tell you where you should focus your HR training programs. Of course, in-demand attributes reap the best compensation for employees (either from you or your competitors), which means higher salaries can eat into your returns. But the costs associated with replacing rare skills can be much higher than the cost of retaining what you already have.

Developing in-demand skills with your current staff and recognizing that development with market-rate salaries and other incentives produces a twofold effect:

  1. Other employees will be motivated to learn similar skills. For example, if expert coders are difficult to find, some of your current IT personnel might be willing to take on the additional training required to become an expert coder. This increases their worth to your organization and provides them with a path for professional development.
  1. By demonstrating a willingness to invest in employees, morale and productivity (as well as your reputation as an employer) will improve. Word will eventually get out through social media and employee reviews that your company is employee-oriented. Be the employer that people don’t want to leave!

3. Pay Attention to Valued Employees

What’s the top reason people leave their job? They don’t feel appreciated or valued. Be attentive to your best people because these individuals can’t be easily replaced. Treat them as though your company would be lost without them — because that very well could be the case. Find out what they like and dislike, as well as what they want. Design a personal plan for that employee or provide additional flexibility and benefits. This might frustrate co-workers, but market forces are such that certain skills command a certain level of attention.

Globalization and demographic trends are all contributing to an increasingly competitive labor market that shows no signs of relenting. But the takeaway is that it’s possible to encourage your employees to be loyal to your business, and not just because of your health insurance policy — they’ll stay because they can’t imagine working for a better company.