New ways to retain your employees

It’s no secret that employee turnover is expensive. According to an article posted earlier this year by the Huffington Post “a company will need to spend the equivalent of six to nine months of an employee’s salary in order to find and train their replacement. That means that an employee salaried at $60,000 will cost the company anywhere from $30,000 to $45,000 to hire and train a replacement. In a study conducted by the Center for America Progress, the cost of losing an employee can cost anywhere from 16% of their salary for hourly, unsalaried employees, to 213% of the salary for a highly trained position! So if a high trained executive is making $120,000 a year, the true loss could be up to $255,600 to the company!”

These numbers should get your attention. What’s more, high turnover doesn’t just impact a company financially; it also effects productivity, morale, and the entire culture of the organization. Clearly, finding ways to increase employee retention is a worthy endeavor. There are a few no-brainers and then some new ideas I haven’t seen before. Read on to find out.

Be more flexible

Let’s be honest. Life is crazy busy and it can pull us in so many different directions. Add family commitments (or requirements), kids (and all their unpredictable needs), commuting, etc. etc. and flexibility becomes critical for doing life.

Allow your employees to work from home until traffic subsides or come in early and leave early to avoid the chaos. Set 2-3 core business hours and schedule team time to happen within that established window. The rest of the time can be spent working when it works for the employee.

This flexibility and autonomy is huge. It shows the employee is trusted to do what needs to be done without a manager breathing down their neck or checking to make sure they’re in their office. Those who are not able to handle the freedom will bubble up quickly and they can either be given opportunities to adjust or they can be let go. What is left is a team that knows what needs to be done, but also have the ability to work it around their lives. Who would leave that kind of setup?

Don’t punish incompetence

Ever heard of the squeaky wheel getting the grease? Or perhaps you were the ‘good’ child so were left in the corner while your ‘naughty’ sibling got all the attention (negative attention, but still, attention). This happens far too often in the workplace. The focus stays on underperforming employees and finding ways to help them improve while those who excel are left to do what they do well.

Not recognizing employee accomplishments, however big or small, is detrimental to morale. There are studies that show that high turnover occurs in part because they didn’t feel appreciated. This really applies to all aspects of life. Finding every opportunity to communicate to someone what they are doing RIGHT, instead of what they need to work on, can cause a ripple effect of positivity.

In fact, this even works with underperformers. Instead of focusing on what they need to work on, highlight what they are doing right. Focus on that. Celebrate it. And you might be surprised how they rise up and WANT to do better just to get the praise that feels so good but is so rare.

So find every opportunity to recognize big and small accomplishments. Build and invest in a recognition program if you don’t have one already. Have employees give shout-outs to one another. Create a culture of gratitude and celebration, and people will want to stay in such an encouraging environment.

Provide unique perks

When I go into the office, I get free coffee and drinks. I really do appreciate this because it’s one less thing I need to remember when I head to work. Some companies are offering extravagant perks such as onsite chefs and childcare. While this is great, it’s not always feasible for smaller companies or those who are struggling financially.

There are so many other, less expensive perks you can provide. Contact local businesses who would be willing to offer discounts to employees. Think food options, dry-cleaning services, bike and/or car repair, and movie passes. Build in a no-meeting day where employees are not allowed to schedule meetings. Incorporate fun team-building events into the month. Instill special days such as ‘bring your child or pet to work day.’ Bring in a special speaker or hold lunch and learns that capitalize on the many talents of your employees. Try to find ways to have fun amidst working hard. People will hear about it and want to be part of the culture you’re creating!

Remove energy vampires

You know who they are. Negative Nancy. Bummer Bill. There’s every reason why something isn’t a good idea, won’t work, is too hard, isn’t worth trying. They are stressed, busy, tired, frustrated, irritated. I highly recommend identifying and meeting with these people to find out what motivates them. They are bringing down the energy of your team and it needs to be handled before it infiltrates everyone. It’s amazing how the negative energy of a few can impact so many. So either handle the energy vampires or remove them. This may be the most important thing you can do for your organization.

Demonstrate and foster positivity and enthusiasm

This goes hand-in-hand with removing the energy vampires. We are all leaders and have some sort of influence in the workplace. It is our responsibility to own our attitude and how we approach our work. If you have a team, be enthusiastic about what you do. This is attractive to people because so much in the world is negative. Get excited about the work that needs to be done. Do not allow negativity to creep into meetings. Shut it down. Don’t be naïve and gloss over challenges but attack them with an attitude of opportunity and growth. You set the tone for those you lead. Find ways to get excited in the workplace and be amazed at the impact.

One more thought: If you haven’t read the Energy Bus by Jon Gordon yet, stop what you’re doing and order it. Read and re-read it. Then give it to your team and have them read it. You’re welcome!

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