What are your thoughts on Employee Retention?

First and foremost, you have to understand that although the goal is to retain employees, employee turnover is a fact of life.  It’s going to happen.  A new employee coming into the workforce today is probably going to have as many as seven careers during their lifetime.  There’s positive churn rate and there’s negative churn rate.

David was my mentor and a great speaker.  He was the training development and human resource manager for Sport’s Authority’s Distribution Center in Atlanta, GA.  Now keep in mind, it’s a distribution center so there’s nothing but testosterone in that place.  They expect a high turnover rate because it’s a warehouse job.  But their turnover rate was in excess of 65% on an annualized basis.  Way too high.  David comes in, works with them to start recognizing and valuing people.  Within about 6 months, they were getting better, and at the end of the first year of David being there, they had their turnover rate down to running at 35%.  Amazing turnover rate.

Fast food restaurants have a fairly high turnover rate.  Other companies, if they have a 5 or 6% turnover rate, that’s probably high.  Every industry is different, so employee retention is a very broad-based term.

Employee RetentionThe way we retain employees is understanding what they value.  If somebody is asked in an exit interview, “Why are you leaving?” the fastest answer that they’ll give you is, “I’m getting more money somewhere else.”  That’s the first answer.  That’s usually not the number one answer.  They are saying that because that’s the fastest answer they can give off the top of their head.  It’s a triggered response.

But we need to delve deeper.   We have to know why people are leaving the company.  Employee retention is all about finding out what your employees value.  In many cases, the reason people are leaving companies today is better advancement, better job opportunities, and the most important one that pops up, down the line is, “I have a bad working relationship with…either a colleague or supervisor.”  They are leaving because they don’t like that relationship.

Employee retention is about a foundation.  Now, there’s one expression my father taught me when I was in second or third grade.  My dad came out of real estate and he said, “You can never put the roof on a house until the foundation and structures are finished.”  You have to find out what people value, what they need.   Otherwise you’re just going to be cycling through people.

Employee retention is about valuing your employees,  understanding them and getting managers to recognize and address those things.


Related articles:  Employee Retention Strategies, Employee Engagement Activities, How to Motivate Employees

Other topics that may be of interest to you:  Organizational Culture, Leadership Development, Employee Training & Development, Teamwork in the Workplace

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