Sunday, April 11, 2010

Simple Ways to Drive Up Employee Retention

Even though we're in the throws of a recession, employee retention remains an important business issue. Now more than ever, companies need to retain their best and brightest so they can do more with less. And the experts still tell us we're facing a looming skills shortage.

Current research on employee retention tells us that to increase employee satisfaction and retention, companies need to:

• Give employees meaningful feedback on an ongoing basis.
• Set clear goals and expectations for employees and help them see how their work matters to the organization.
• Reward and recognize employees fairly and consistently.
• Provide employees with opportunities for growth and development.

While these can seem like simple things, without the right tools and support, your managers may not be giving employees what they need.

Give Employees Meaningful Feedback on an Ongoing Basis

To remain engaged and satisfied, most employees need meaningful feedback on their performance. To encourage an ongoing dialogue between managers and employees, companies can:

Increase the frequency of employee reviews

Many companies find that implementing quarterly performance reviews helps give managers and employees a regularly committed interval for dialogue and feedback. These quarterly reviews don't need to be as long or as detailed as your annual performance review; their goal is to provide a structured forum for giving employees regular feedback and for checking on progress, alignment, development needs, etc.

Solicit feedback from others

Another way to provide employees with meaningful feedback is to gather input from others. This can be as simple as requesting feedback from another manager or supervisor that the employee works with, or from a third-party who has knowledge of the employee’s strengths and weaknesses. A more thorough approach involves gathering multi-rater, 360 degree feedback from peers, other managers, customers and more.

Keep ongoing notes on performance

Keeping and sharing notes on performance year-round helps to not only better document performance, but also to open up the dialogue between a manager and an employee. Highlights, challenges and disconnects that might not otherwise be discovered until the annual performance review meeting can be shared and explored in a timely way. Then, when it’s time to write your annual performance review, you have an accurate and detailed record to consult.

Define Clear Goals and Link Them to Organizational Goals

Another key to employee engagement, satisfaction and retention is the need for employees to clearly know what is expected of them, and to understand how their work contributes to the organization's mission and success.

The most effective way to write clear goals is to use the SMART technique. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goals let employees know what is expected of them, how success will be measured, and when they must complete work.

You can also give employees a context for their work by linking their goals to higher-level organizational goals. This helps them understand the value of their work and see it's impact.

Recognize and Reward Your Employees Fairly and Consistently

Employees need to feel that their company rewards performance fairly and equitably. This applies to work/project opportunities, promotions, and awards, but especially to all areas of compensation, including base pay, bonuses, stock options, etc. It's critical for companies to have fair and transparent compensation processes that are tied to employee performance.

Provide Career Development Opportunities

Another way to drive up employee retention is to support employee development and career progression. Employees need to feel as though they have a future with an organization, and a career path that helps them further develop their knowledge skills and abilities. Development can take many forms, from formal courses, to challenging work assignments, to mentoring programs.

Stanley Janas is a Director of Human Resources at Halogen Software, one of the leading providers of talent management solutions. For more of his insights on how effective talent management can improve business results read his posts on Halogen's Blog.


1 comment:

Maria_Rilke said...

I couldn't agree more with what you have said in this post. In addition, employee development and elearning can be very expensive. Good thing there are some softwares right now that can give cost-effective programs that are appropriate to the specific needs.