Retaining Your Best Talent Part 2

Continuing our discussion from part one where we laid the foundation for our in-depth review of the basic reasons employees leave employers, let’s start with this fact:

The Saratoga Institute surveyed former employees of one very large employer in the entertainment industry. They learned that 4 % of new-hires walked off the job the first day of employment. 50 % quit in the first six months. Even 40 % of new executives didn’t last more than 18 months.

I will pose seven of the more researched reasons for these exits. In this segment, we will address the first 3.

Reason Number 1

The job or workplace was not as expected which leads to disillusionment with the future and personal growth opportunities. Remember the basic human needs cited in our last discussion, “the need for hope.”

In this case, it is wise to note that there is a psychological contract created in the employment relationship. There are two parties with four sets of different expectations. It includes what the employee expects to give and receive along with what the employer expects to also give and receive.

A few well-known practices to ensure accurate expectations include the following:

  1. Conduct realistic job previews with every candidate.
  2. Hire from a pool of proven temp-to-hire and/or part-time workers.
  3. Hire from current employee referrals.
  4. Create an accurate and realistic job description that also lists required competencies. Also, and very important, be sure to identify any safety-sensitive positions.
  5. Allow team members to interview candidates and be involved in the selection process. And, of course only use those who have been given specific instruction on the legalities of interviewing. When done correctly, the team members take ownership of the new-hire and it better ensures their success.
  6. Where possible, hire or promote from within the organization.
  7. Create ways for candidates to sample on the job experience.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to review the previously discussed expectations and provide additional opportunities to discuss the details and growth potential. You can then minimize any first day surprises.

Reason Number Two

Mismatch between the job and employee.

Research shows that 80 % of workers feel they’re not using their strength on a daily basis. It’s been said that the best managers are the best match-makers.

Larry Bossidy, former Chairman and CEO of Honeywell Corporation said, “Over time, choosing the right people is what creates the elusive, sustainable, competitive advantage.” Express Employment Professionals’ founder, Bob Funk has, for many years said the same thing.

Companies with a strong reputation for selecting the right talent and keeping employees show four best practices:

  1. Using some of the above activities, they demonstrate excellent skills in the selection process.
  2. They become experts at engaging the whole employee through task assignments. They play to the employees innate skills and talents or strengths.
  3. On-going “re-engagement” as needed. Their leaders are keen at developing good relationships with the employees.
  4. Job enrichment. This simply means the employer constantly looks for ways to add zest or excitement to the work and environment.

Reason Number 3

As previously stated, there is a basic human need for continuous performance feedback. We need to derive a sense of worth that couples with our need to grow and develop.

The number one cause of performance problems in 60 % of surveyed companies is poor or insufficient feedback from supervisors. Coaching and feedback are so very important to engagement and retention efforts. In fact, they are absolutely essential to retention outcomes because they answer four basic employee questions or concerns:

  1. Where are we going as a company?
  2. How are we getting there?
  3. How do you expect me to contribute?
  4. How am I doing?

So WHY don’t more managers provide coaching and feedback?

The more common reasons are:

  1. Managers fear or dread confronting employees with criticisms and possible alienation.
  2. Managers fear failure to communicate their thoughts properly.
  3. Managers never received skilled feedback themselves and therefore lack a model from which to execute.

Note, giving feedback is more than an event. It is about the relationship.

Some helpful thoughts or best practices include:

  1. Plan how you want your new-hire to spend their first day.
  2. Meet with the new-hire on day one and reaffirm how they appear to fit the needs of the company and job.
  3. Conduct entrance interviews. Focus on the employee’s best and obvious talents and goals.
  4. Discuss performance expectations in detail and ask the employee to draft an agreement that summarizes the objectives.
  5. Match the new employee with a respected peer who will be his/her mentor.
  6. Make it clear that giving feedback is the supervisor’s responsibility. Getting feedback is the employees responsibility. Every employee should shoulder some accountability for obtaining feedback.

Following some of these guidelines will go a long way to helping develop a culture of reciprocal commitment.

This concludes our discussion of the first three reasons employees leave organizations. I hope you can join us in the next segment where we will continue our exploration of these causes. Until then, this is Russ Moen for Express Pro Talk