Retaining Talent

Retaining Talent

Constant turnover among your employees is a battle far too many companies seem to be losing. Some estimate turnover’s overall drain on the national economy to be as much as $5 trillion per year. That’s according to Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton in their book The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance. We’ve mentioned before how 68.5% of American workers are either not engaged or are actively disengaged (source) from their work. So what’s behind this depressing figure?

Gostick and Elton point out the need to take a good, hard look at satisfaction among your employees. There are all kinds of things that can make workers dissatisfied with their jobs, but the one the authors zero in on is compelling: The lack of frequent, effective, meaningful, and memorable recognition. As the authors dug deeper into the numbers, what they found is worth noting. Among companies reporting low morale in the workplace, more than half the employees also noted that managers were not good at providing recognition. On the flip-side, in organizations where morale is high, more than 94% say their managers are great at recognizing employee contributions.

You may be thinking that’s all well and good, but what about bottom-line impact? This is where the numbers get really interesting. Take the following simple statement: My organization recognizes excellence. How would your employees rate your company? Among the organizations in the bottom quarter of the rankings, their average ROE (return on equity) was just 2.4%. But among the companies in the top fourth, ROE averaged 8.7%, and that’s a HUGE difference.

What can you do to better recognize your employees for their hard work (if they’re deserving of recognition, of course)? There are lots of things, if you just think about it. But the starting point is making sure you really know just how satisfied (or dissatisfied) your employees really are. There eleven key metrics you can track for this as follows:

  1. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  2. My performance is evaluated in a manner that makes me feel positive about working.
  3. Conflicts are managed in a way that results in positive solutions.
  4. My opinions seem to matter to my manager.
  5. My manager shares all the information my coworkers and I need in order to feel part of the team.
  6. I receive the information I need to do my job.
  7. The organization has developed work/life policies that address my needs.
  8. I trust my immediate manager.
  9. During the past year, communication between leadership and employees has improved.
  10. My manager does a good job of recognizing employee contributions.
  11. I have recently received praise for my work.

Notice how none of them have anything to do with money. It’s worth remembering that 88% of people who leave their jobs do so for reasons other than money (source). The eleven items listed above would make for a great employee climate survey. Collecting data on these eleven metrics in an anonymous survey, you’d quickly get a picture of where changes need to be made in your company to have a much greater chance of retaining your best talent.

Stay tuned for a future article that will get into the details of how to go about doing a better job at recognizing your employees, which is often an overlooked key to boosting employee retention.

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