Lower Attrition

Lower Attrition

Many companies are recalling the mid-1990s when the first rumblings of the Great War for Talent started. Worried that we may be on the cusp of a major labour shortage, some leaders and their human-resources counterparts are discussing employee-retention plans for the New Year, in the hopes of keeping employees from jumping ship for newly created and greener opportunities.

An informal study of failed retention initiatives can help companies shape effective programs. The most common corporate retention initiatives that are overcome:

  1. Too much emphasis on pay, benefits, and perks: Pay is as important to professionals. Yet, the Saratoga Institute, which compiles exit-interview results, among other staffing information, reports that 88% of employees voluntarily leave their jobs for other reasons, such as misalignment of mutual expectations, person-job mismatch, insufficient coaching and feedback, perception of poor career-advancement prospects, work-life imbalance, and both distrust toward and low confidence in senior leadership.
    Still, most managers refuse to acknowledge the "push" factors, preferring to see the "pull" factor of more money as the prime motivator. The truth is, both push and pull factors come into play, but companies make a big mistake by hanging their employee-retention strategies solely on the easier-to-manipulate tangible factors of more pay, better benefits, and flashier perks. It’s not that these factors are unimportant; they're very important.
    In fact, most employers of choice typically offer better pay and benefits than their competitors. But what sets them apart are positive, caring cultures where most managers know how to provide the everyday coaching, feedback, and recognition that keep employees engaged.
  2. Blindly following other companies' best practices: One of the disadvantages of reading Fortune magazine's “100 Best Places to Work in America” list each year is that we become so enamoured of great employers that we think their best practices will work equally well for our companies. Sometimes they do, but often they don't. The best employers thoughtfully match their cultures, benefits, and management practices to the needs and desires of their workers.
    The good news is that by asking their particular workforce what they most want and need, companies can usually provide what it takes to keep employees—and keep them engaged.
  3. Failure to train managers and hold them accountable: Studies of employee turnover consistently show that the direct supervisor builds or destroys employee commitment. In other words, smart companies know that as the competition for talent heats up, they can no longer afford the luxury of another bad manager.