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Retention Injection

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the typical American worker holds nearly nine different jobs before age 32. No organization, large or small, is unaffected by an ongoing turnover epidemic. Some degree of turnover is inevitable and can even be positive. It opens doors for promotions and new talent. Excessive staff losses, though, prove to be disruptive and costly.

While compensation and opportunities to advance are important factors, most people decide to leave a company for one reason: bad relationships. A recent Gallup Organization study based on queries of some 2 million workers at 700 organizations found that poor supervisory behavior was the main reason people quit. It is not opportunities for raises or promotions through the ranks that keep employees happy. The length of an employee’s stay is determined largely by their relationship with the manager.

Organizations in need of a “retention injection” must focus on making work interesting and building strong, flexible, attentive managers. More and more organizations are realizing that retention is up to the management.

People need to feel appreciated. Develop a program of informal feedback that fills the gap that most formal recognition programs leave out.

Measure the attitude and morale of the workforce by conducting a survey of climate assessment. Manage retention one employee at a time. Everyone has a different set of needs and expectations about their job. If you are in management, know your employees well enough to individually meet their professional needs. Of course, those needs must be reasonable. Remember that the employee also has family needs. Listen to your workers and when possible, try to accommodate unique requests.

Management is directly responsible for retention. Encourage managers to develop and customize their own training programs to meet individual skills and job functions. Strive to create an atmosphere that ensures open communication throughout the entire organization, including regular discussions of sales, company goals, and expansion plans. Encourage employees to evaluate management by using a Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) approach.

Most people need to have a sense of purpose in their work. Be an organization that gives the employee purposeful work and gratification. Provide customized responsibilities and long-term learning opportunities. The key difference between high-retention and low-retention organizations is that people feel they are making a difference.

Retention Injection

•   Make people feel appreciated.

•   Measure attitude and morale.

•   Remember family needs.

•   Hold management accountable.

•   Give people purpose.


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