Employee Retention Part 2

March 20, 2003


By Bob Losyk

Here is a fact that many employers don't realize: there are only 44 million members of Generation X and Y (ages 13 to 31) compared to 78 million Baby Boomers. The scary truth is that in the future, you, as an employer, will not be able to match your job requirements to the qualifications of the people available. If there are less workers, that automatically means that there will be less qualified ones.

As the competition for the same workers heats up, preventing turnover will become your biggest priority. Just what are some of the real motivating factors that determine employee loyalty? More importantly, what can you do as owners and managers to stop the revolving door? Let's examine five of the most important motivating factors.

We can't expect our employees to treat our customers in a warm friendly manner, and with respect, if we don't treat our employees in that manner. Customer relations will always mirror employee relations. Using abusive or obscene language, shouting, verbal put-downs, insults, and telling lies can only result in low morale, high absenteeism, and turnover. Give your people some slack. Don't micromanage or hover over them.

Today's workforce is much more independent. Many want to be empowered. Let them know what they can and cannot do through training and communication. When they make a wrong decision, don't slam them for it. Instead, make it a teachable moment.

Get your employees involved in as much of your decision making as possible. It gives them a sense of belonging and partnership. Frequently ask their opinions and suggestions, and brainstorm for solutions to problems. People want to be involved in decisions that ultimately affect them. Involvement and participation breed responsibility and enthusiasm. Employees gain a sense of ownership.

If you want to hire and keep the best, then you must be willing to pay for the best. Conversely, the people who feel they are best will seek out employers that pay the best. If you have higher paid, better people, who are more productive with higher quality and less errors, then these people will make you more money. You'll have more satisfied customers, greater repeat business, and gain free word of mouth advertising. What you pay out in extra salaries will be less than what your cost is in turnover. It makes good business sense to pay them more.

Make exceptional employees highly visible by putting their photos on bulletin boards, display cases, or company newsletters. Display letters to employees from satisfied customers, or even better, display a letter from the company owner or president. Give certificates, plaques, lapel pins, etc. for superior service, sales, or teamwork at special events or dinners. Awarding employee of the month or quarter, or a department of the month or quarter, although not a new concept, is extremely effective.

Support your staff with difficult personal decisions and family problems in any way you can. Just knowing that you realize certain situations are taking place at home, and are behind them, can go a long way towards have a very loyal workforce.

Turning around turnover, and keeping the best people can not happen by chance. It is achieved by developing the strategies that will create a positive, motivating atmosphere. Only when you implement these strategies, and pay value to people, and treat employees as an asset, not an expense, can you proudly say that workers are motivated, productive, and high quality employees.

Bob Losyk, M.Ed., M.B.A., C.S.P., is a certified speaking professional, master trainer, facilitator, author, and president of Innovative Training Solutions, a Ft. Lauderdale, FL consulting firm. For more information on Bob's keynotes, seminars, association board facilitation, panel discussion leadership, and products to help you recruit, hire, and manage your employees, please visit his website at www.boblosyk.com or call 1-800-995-0344.

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