SHRM announced last week that for organizations with over 500 employees Retention has taken the top spot priority wise — outranking even engagement and culture. We’re thrilled about this and it matches what we see in the strengthening job market as well. It also highlights a few other noteworthy items:
1. Retention and Engagement while closely linked are their own animals. Top companies understand that they may have distinct retention drivers that do not exist in their preconceived notion of engagement drivers, they know that you must often treat symptoms differently, and most importantly they realize that they need to implement the correct framework and tools to fix the underlying problems distinctly. In other words, smart companies are not relying solely on their employee engagement programs to solve their very real and ongoing retention problem.
2. An annual survey is not the answer to a retention problem. A survey is a tool that might tell you if you have a problem — if you enter the right questions — and incentive your employees correctly to participate. If you are serious about retention you need a solution that captures, analyzes, learns, and makes actionable recommendations on an ongoing basis. It’s not the act of data gathering that makes the difference it’s where it fits in your retention framework that helps you to solve this costly problem — and it’s often a solution that needs to be customized for your company to boost the odds of success. Retention is not a one size fits all problem or solution but there are certainly best practices that exist by industry.
3. Avoid vendors that claim to solve your cultural, retention, and anything- else-in-the-world problems. I say this with unabashed prejudice that when choosing a vendor for this problem focus on a specialist . If you have a retention problem then look for a company that specializes in retention. It will be worth your time and money. In other words if you feel like steak for dinner then go to a steakhouse.
I’m genuinely thrilled to see retention starting to get the focus it deserves. When you focus on retaining good people through informed change you create a competitive advantage and position your company for success.
Want to talk retention at your company? Drop me a line!