Recruitment and Retention Strategies:
How to Attract, Keep and Motivate Today's Workforce
A recent study shows 85% of HR executives state the single greatest
challenge they have in managing the workforce is their organization's
inability to recruit and retain good employees and managers.
by Gregory P. Smith
Picture this scenario -- John is the CEO of a large organization
experiencing high turnover. His Human Resources staff was spending more and
more time recruiting, hiring, and training replacements. As soon as they got
them trained, they would be gone in six months. Customers were upset and
complaints were increasing.
John decided to explore the main reasons people were quitting. He identified
new strategies and tactics such as creating an emerging leaders program,
providing training for managers, and improving their employee recognition
program. As a result, they are now attracting better talent and more
importantly, have retained their best people. The Human Resource Department
is happier because they are not spending all their time conducting training.
Few businesses realize how much employee turnover impacts their bottom line.
It takes $7,000 - $14,000 to replace a typical employee. Replacing a key
manager costs the same as buying a new Honda. In the healthcare arena, it
costs up to $185,000 to replace a critical care nurse. The question then
arises, how can a business survive when the cost of turnover and recruitment
runs into the millions of dollars each year?
Businesses can improve their ability to attract, retain and improve
productivity by applying the following five-step PRIDE process:
P - Provide a Positive Working Environment
R - Recognize, Reward and Reinforce the Right Behavior
I - Involve and Engage
D - Develop Skills and Potential
E - Evaluate and Measure
STEP 1--PROVIDE A POSITIVE WORKING ENVIRONMENT
Wise executives realize the responsibility for creating a
positive work environment cannot be delegated. It starts at the top.
Have you ever worked for a bad boss? One of the main reasons employees quit
is the relationship with their first-line supervisor. The fact is many
supervisors and managers are unaware how their actions and decisions affect
employee turnover. A critical aspect of an effective retention strategy is
Jim Goodnight is the co-founder and President of SAS in Raleigh-Durham, NC.
SAS is the largest software development company in the United States. Their
progressive work environment and host of family-friendly benefits keeps
their turnover rate far below the national average. Jim said, "My assets
leave work for home at 5:00 or later each night. It is my job to bring them
back each day."
Properly trained managers play a major role in an
effective recruitment and retention strategy. Managers need the skills,
tools, and knowledge to help them understand their employees' retention
needs and be able to implement a retention plan designed to increase
employee engagement in the organization.
STEP 2--RECOGNIZE, REWARD AND REINFORCE THE RIGHT BEHAVIOR
Money and benefits may attract people to the front door, but something else
has to keep them from going out the back. People have a basic human need to
feel appreciated and proud of their work. Recognition and incentive programs
help meet that need. Be creative in what you offer; the following are designed to provide inspiration for
what your organization might provide:
A successful reward and recognition program does not have to be complicated
or expensive to be effective. Graham Weston, co-founder and CEO of Rackspace
Managed Hosting, gives the keys to his BMW M3 convertible to his employees
for a week. This creative way to reward employees has a bigger impact than
cash. He says, "If you gave somebody a $200 bonus, it wouldn't mean very
much. When someone gets to drive my car for a week, they never forget it."
At First American, managers present a Greased Monkey Award to the computer
technician who is best in resolving problems with computer programs. The
award is a plastic toy monkey in a jar of Vaseline along with a $50 dinner
An equipment distributor rewards each employee's work anniversary with a
cake and a check for $200 for each year employed. Twice a year employees'
children receive a $50 savings bond when they bring in their "all A's"
report card. In addition, they reward employees with a "Safety Bonus
They screen each employee's driving record twice a year, and
anyone who has a citation is removed from consideration. Those employees
remaining at the end of the year divide $2,000. On Fridays, all employees
rotate jobs for one hour. This builds a stronger team, unity, and improves
communication within the company.
STEP 3--INVOLVE AND ENGAGE
People may show up for work, but are they engaged and productive? People are
more committed and engaged when they can contribute their ideas and
suggestions. This gives them a sense of ownership.
The Sony Corporation is known for its ability to create and manufacture new
and innovative products. In order to foster the exchange of ideas within
departments, they sponsor an annual Idea Exposition. During the exposition,
scientists and engineers display projects and ideas they are working on.
Open only to Sony's employees, this process creates a healthy climate of
innovation and engages all those who participate.
TD Industries in Dallas, TX has a unique way of making its employees feel
valued and involved. One wall within the company contains the photographs of
all employees who have worked there more than five years. Their "equality"
program goes beyond the typical slogans, posters, and HR policies. There are
no reserved parking spaces or other perks just for executives -- everyone is
an equal. This is one reason why TD Industries was listed by Fortune
magazine as one of the "Top 100 Best Places to Work."
STEP 4--DEVELOP SKILLS AND POTENTIAL
For most people, career opportunities are just as important as the money
they make. In a study by Linkage, Inc. more than 40 percent of the
respondents said they would consider leaving their present employer for
another job with the same benefits if that job provided better career
development and greater challenges.
Deloitte is listed as one of the "Top 100 Best Places to Work." They
discovered several years ago they were losing talented people to other
companies. They conducted exit surveys and found 70 percent of those
employees who left to take new jobs and careers outside the company, could
have found the same jobs and careers within Deloitte.
As a result they created Deloitte Career Connections, an intranet-based
development and career coaching program for all employees. During the first
week of implementation over 2,000 employees took advantage of the program
and viewed internal job openings.
Not only does the program provide new job opportunities, but Career
Connections offers a host of career development tools such as
self-assessments, tools to develop resumes, and articles on various job
seeking strategies within the company.
Skilled people will not remain in a job if they see no future in their
position. To eliminate the feeling of being in a dead-end job, every
position should have an individual development plan.
STEP 5--EVALUATE AND MEASURE
The primary purpose of evaluation is to measure progress and
determine what satisfies and de-satisfies your workforce.
Continuous evaluation and never-ending improvement is the final step of the
PRIDE system. The evaluation
process includes the measurement of attitudes, morale, turnover, and the
engagement level of the workforce. Here is a checklist of items that should
be included in your evaluation and measurement process.
• Conduct an employee satisfaction survey at least once a year.
• Initiate interviews and surveys concerning the real reasons people
come to and leave your organization.
• Improve your hiring process to create a better match between the
individual's talents and job requirements.
• Provide flexible work arrangements for working parents and older
• Hold managers responsible for retention in their departments.
• Start measuring the cost of turnover.
• Focus on the key jobs that have the greatest impact on profitability
• Examine those departments that have the highest turnover rates.
• Design an effective employee orientation program.
Free by E-mail: If you would like a free subscription to Greg Smith's Navigator
Newsletter, visit his website to sign up.
Greg Smith's cutting-edge keynotes, consulting, and training programs have
helped businesses reduce turnover, increase sales, hire superior people, and
deliver better customer service. As President and founder of Chart Your
Course International, He has implemented professional development programs
for thousands of organizations globally.
Greg has authored eight informative
books, including 'Here Today, Here Tomorrow: Transforming Your Workforce from
High Turnover to High Retention' and '401 Proven Ways to Retain Your Best
Employees.' He lives in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, visit
www.chartcourse.com or call (770) 860-9464.
This article was added to WorldSweeper.com in July, 2008.