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Top Ten Things You Should Know about Retention

Despite the soft economy and resulting layoffs, great organizations are still focused on keeping their best people.  Surveys by SH&A, WorldatWork and the Human Resource Management Association of Chicago all point to retaining top talent as a key issue for executives in the near term.  So, what should be top of mind in retaining our top talent?  The following helps answer that question.

1. Always hire for fit.  The candidate should fit the job specifications, as well as the culture of the organization.  Studies show culture fit has more to do with retention than skill set match.

2. Provide growth and professional development.  Be aware of employees' expectations and desires for career development.  Offer meaningful opportunities for learning on and off the job.  The McKinsey "Talent War" survey highlights that employees are more likely to stay with a firm they believe provides longer-term growth than one who pays a lot for a specific job.

3. Promote a deeper cause.  Most employees are not solely motivated by the bottom line.  They would like to believe through the vision and values of the organization that they can make a bigger difference in the company and the world.

4. Communicate!  Communicate!  Communicate!  Great companies have an abundance mentality when it comes to sharing information with people.  Provide regular ongoing feedback to employees.  Formal and informal methods help to create stronger bonds with managers and thus the organization.

5. Recognize good performance.  Positive feedback has the single highest impact on raising productivity.  Don't wait for the annual review.  Make a point to catch your people doing the right things on a regular basis.

6. Differentiate performance rewards.  Your reward structure should clearly differentiate between varying levels of performance and your people must know it.  (Areas include compensation, special projects and assignments, bonus and promotions, etc.).  It is more cost effective to reward good employees than to recruit new.

7. Listen.  Set aside time and create a process of listening to employees' concerns and ideas.  Appreciate and understand what they have to say.  Your people know when you are sincerely interested.

8. Provide work/life balance.  Today more than ever, employees are feeling the need for greater balance.  Companies have found they can actually increase productivity by implementing some solid strategies including flextime, work at home, elder care programs, etc.

9. Measure employees' feelings.  A "retention survey" goes a long way to identify real issues while also pointing toward possible organizational interventions that address the causes of turnover.

10. Hold managers accountable for turnover.  Resesarch shows that the manager has the greatest impact on employee turnover.  Training and measuring managers on effective employee relation skills will yield improvement in retention figures.

Retention will continue to be an issue for organizations, no matter what the state of the economy if we do not recognize the opportunities above.  For help in implementing these retention strategies, please allow us to support your plans.

For more information, please Contact us or call 847-564-2840.

© 2009 St. Aubin Haggerty & Associates, Inc.

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