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Quit jobIn my last blog I shared with you that perhaps as much as 85% of your workforce may be looking for a better opportunity than your company. When I shared this among the members of my two CEO peer advisory groups many of them were skeptical that the percentage would be this high in their respective companies. But that is the story in their mind and not based on truth. The question is…are they doing enough to retain their top talent so they do not become part of this statistic?

What should you be paying attention to in order to avoid your key people from leaving? After researching and reading a number of articles here is a summary.

The first starts with hiring correctly. Yes, the key to keeping good people is hiring the right people in the first place.

  1. Hire to your culture. Interview to determine their core values. Do they align with your company’s core values?  Even if they appear to be superstars, if they don’t fit your culture you will most likely be sorry you took the chance.  Many of you have no doubt experienced this already.
  2. Have a good on-boarding process. One of my members holds a one-day orientation session where the new employee learns about the company. This is documented with an employee manual unlike your normal employee manual. This has an organization chart, a list of employees and their contact information, a list of benefits, a list of products and services and details on how you can advance through the company using their in-house university. This is followed with a one-to-one lunch with the owner during the first week.  Make the newbie feel a part of your company from day one.  Too many of you say “Here’s your desk, get to work, and I’ll see ya later.”

For more tips see Reducing Employee Turnover – 12 Tips for Small Businesses.

Mark Royal, Senior Principal with the Hay Group, a global human resource consulting firm, says “Five critical factors influence employee retention: trust in the company and its leaders, career-development, a fair exchange of rewards for effort, the degree to which the employee is given authority and independence, and an environment that permits success.”

You can reflect on how you feel you are doing in these five areas. For this discussion let’s focus on recognition and rewards. This is one of the key motivators for those of you who have Millennials working for you.

Barry Deutsch, one of the founding partners in IMPACT Hiring Solutions, says “You must praise people when they do an exceptional job – when they knock the ball out of the ballpark. Yet, praise – recognition for doing an exceptional job above and beyond the call of duty – is frequently not mentioned, paraded in front of peers, or given an appropriate round of applause.” For more tips on hiring and retaining talent visit Barry’s website.

Okay, what are some of the things I can do to recognize my employees?

Verbal recognition – Make it public and follow it up with something in writing, something they can display in their workspace. One of my members has for years prepared handwritten thank you notes to employees who had a great month (selling) or did something out of the ordinary and stuck a $100 bill inside. Put it in the company newsletter and on your bulletin board.

Awards – Gifts such as a desk clock, picture frame, watch, gift basket, chocolate, logo wear, or gift certificate. If they can be engraved or personalized, all the better.

Here are some other ideas used my CEO members:

  • 401(k) matching
  • Bonuses
  • Pay above industry standard
  • In-house education courses to prepare them for advancement
  • Home Depot card if they have just bought a house
  • Happy hour – appetizers and beverages
  • Pizza party
  • Bring in lunch
  • Crab feed – owner cooks
  • Impromptu lunches
  • Spot recognition – when it happens (Starbucks card)
  • Company vehicle
  • Cell phone

Do you want other ideas to say thank you at work? Read this article by Susan M. Heathfield.

You can reward people over and over but if you don’t have a good work environment, the opportunity for the employee to have an opinion, the ability to educate themselves and the prospect to advance within the company then they will be looking for a company that does.

The average turnover rate for employees is expected to increase over the next five years. What are you doing to minimize that within your company?

Consider Reading This

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. This book has been around for several years and still remains on the New York Times Best Sellers list for business books. Learn what makes high achievers different. From Mozart to Bill Gates you will learn why each was successful.