Losing employees can be very challenging. The domino effect is real and immediate.
Who will cover her responsibilities?
How long will it take to hire and train a new employee?
Do we have all of his duties documented?
The job description is outdated.
He knew how to handle that client better than me.
She is the only person who knows that process.
As concerns pile up, employee morale can go downhill quickly. They can feel a broad range of emotions: overwhelmed, resentful, left behind, envious, mad, sad. It’s hard to think strategically when you’re in reactive mode. Leaders who embrace change, set a positive tone for everyone. Turnover should be expected. By having a process in place, you can leverage departures as an opportunity to grow and learn.
Take a critical look
Exit interviews should be a routine part of off-boarding where you can gather insights. From an employee’s first to last day, the company’s core values should guide their experience. The exit interview is no exception. It’s never easy to hear criticisms and concerns, but you’ll never get to the root of problems without asking questions and then listening. This isn’t the time to defend your company. Departing employees need to feel heard. Use this time to probe into factors that lured them away. If candid feedback is the goal, then direct managers shouldn’t conduct interviews. Nobody wants to burn bridges so hiring a reputable third party is considered the best practice. Craft questions carefully to reduce bias; they should convey a genuine interest in their experience. When done correctly, you can create brand ambassadors out of former employees and learn how to insulate your top talent.
Once key concerns are uncovered, now you must take action! It’s easy to get distracted and not follow through. To offset that tendency, companies can create a team responsible for moving things forward. They can analyze gathered data and market intelligence to create an employee retention plan. If there’s a manager with high levels of turnover, feedback can be used to coach them. Any new changes instituted show current and former employees that you truly care. If left forgotten or unfinished, that sends a clear message as well.
After identifying and addressing areas of improvement, next take a look at your hiring process. Employee retention is all about hiring the right person. Skills are obviously your top consideration when speaking with candidates, but you also need to assess how they will fit with your company culture. A skilled new hire needs to experience a sense of belonging to consider it a long-term fit. There are a couple strategies to aid this process. First, ask behavioral interview questions to gauge how they respond to common company scenarios. Then, give them a tour and introduce them to various employees. This is helpful for both of you. You can observe how they interact, and they can get a sense if the workplace culture suits them.
While happy hours and bagel Fridays are absolutely appreciated (and an important part of building a culture), they don’t pay the bills. Research the market value and typical benefits for key roles in your region. If you want to compete for top talent, you’ll need to offer a competitive package that reinforces the value of your company.
As the saying goes: money doesn’t solve everything. Millennials rank giving back as a top priority. That translates into taking jobs where they’re making a difference with society’s greater issues. Is community involvement a core value or a PR opportunity? For candidates who care, they’ll know the difference.
There are more win-win strategies you can incorporate:
- Recognition motivates employees and makes them feel respected.
- Understanding aspirations and providing a career path keeps them inspired.
- Flexible work schedules show trust and reinforce value of work/life balance.
Ultimately, you want to craft an atmosphere that supports happy, productive employees. It can be beneficial to collaborate with experts who understand HR best practices. Working with a PEO (professional employer organization), companies can outsource all or part of their HR.
As a leading CPEO in Illinois (certified by the IRS), MidwestHR has been advising companies for over 20 years on how to evolve to meet growth and talent goals. Give us a call at 630-836-3000 to learn how we can help you retain talent.