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  1. What companies with the best employee retention have in common

    July 19, 2016 by Alison Hill

    With competition for workers in many sectors fierce and the costs of recruiting and replacing good employees growing, it makes sense for organisations to put more effort into retention. Engagement and retention are one of the top concerns for 78% of today’s business leaders, according to Deloitte. Employee engagement solutions company TINYpulse researched what really drives attrition, and recently published their Employee Retention Report.

    The report surveyed 400 full-time employees in the US over two weeks in July 2015 and analysed the data. This is what the top performing organisations do to retain the best employees.

    1. They choose supervisors that respect employees’ work and ideas

    When employees feel managers respect their work and ideas they are 32% less likely to think about looking for a new job – strong support for the adage that employees don’t quit their job; they quit their boss. Additionally, employees reported that they would be 13% more likely to stay if they were satisfied with the organisation’s senior management team.

    TINYpulse reports that micromanagement has a big impact on team satisfaction. Those with freedom to choose how they do their jobs are satisfied and more likely to stay. But those who feel micromanaged will most likely be thinking about leaving – 28% more likely. That’s a lot of disengagement.

    The next biggest factor in the manager relationship is transparency – there is a very high link between setting clear goals for the team and communicating them clearly and retention – 30%, in fact. Showing respect and appreciation has measurable results when it comes to keeping great employees.

    1. They hire candidates who show positivity, innovation and productivity

    ‘Colleagues have a lot of power’, says TINYpulse. High levels of peer respect mean higher levels of retention, so paying attention to the hiring process is critical and hiring people who are great to work with and are a good fit is as important as their skills when deciding whether to make the offer. Those who did not feel respected by their peers were 10% less likely to see a long-term future with the organisation.

    1. They pay serious attention to workplace culture and hire for cultural fit

    TINYpulse’s research showed that workplace culture is not a fluffy issue. Where employees rated the culture of their workplace low, there were 15% more likely to think about leaving. Both the type of culture and how the individual fitted into it mattered, and having a bit of fun on the job, such as at office drinks, sporting events or team volunteering, makes a big difference, as does assigning new employees a mentor or peer buddy who is an ambassador for the workplace culture.

    1. They encourage employees to take their paid time off and don’t overload them with work

    This one was huge – ‘Employees that are tired and burnt out are 31% more likely to think about looking for a new job than their colleagues who feel comfortable with their workload’. The survey points out that burnout is preventable if managers understand its downsides, measure it and take efforts to eliminate it, such as by taking their own paid leave.

    1. They offer professional growth opportunities to everybody, not just young employees

    Those with access to professional development and skills training, either externally or internally, were 10% more likely to stay with their employer. Millennials were almost unanimous that they would consider changing employers if they did not see opportunities for professional growth with their current employer – a whopping 75% of them. The report points out, though, that the desire for opportunities for growth now applies across workforce generations.

    Asking employees where they see themselves in six months’ time, next year, in two years’ time, is not just a good conversation starter; it’s an essential part of a retention strategy. Listen carefully to the answer – and do something about it. If you won’t, a competitor will. Our blog will offer some great ideas about in-house and external skills and development training in the near future.

    No initiative – especially one to improve your retention – should begin without a measurement to see how your team feels about the issues, the TINYpulse research report points out. You need to know where you are now, to pinpoint the most troublesome areas that need your attention, and to know how you will measure your success.


    Challenge Consulting’s Employee Retention Optimiser has been developed to identify key retention issues and priorities for your organisation; guide improvement strategies at all levels and help you to implement them; and track and monitor improvements. Find out more at Challenge People Services

     

     

     


  2. Losing the Losers – Is Employee Turnover Always a Bad Thing?

    September 2, 2014 by Jenna

    Typically, the term ‘employee turnover’ has negative connotations, usually related to cost: the cost to re-hire and the cost to re-train.

    However, is an organisation with low or no turnover really a good thing? Perhaps it is due to one of the following reasons:

    • Lack of employment opportunities within an organisation.
    • Financial constraints preventing employees from moving.
    • Bad company image that keeps recruiters away.
    • A high concentration of older workers reluctant to change jobs later in their career.

    Dr John Sullivan, the internationally known HR thought-leader, writing on ere.net, classifies employee departures into desirable, neutral and undesirable outcomes. Below are some of his key points for consideration:

    Desirable Turnover
    Studies show that at least 25% of turnover is desirable. Situations where this may occur include:
    • A low-level performer leaves on their own accord (therefore avoiding the need to terminate them).
    • An average or lower level performer gets replaced by someone that becomes a superior performer (referred to as a talent swap).
    • An employee with key skills working in a non-critical job/business unit transfers to a strategic job/business unit.
    • A lower-level employee is replaced by promoting someone inside that needed more challenge or growth to develop (thus improving the organisation, increasing internal movement).
    • The exiting employee is a retiree who led a fulfilling career and has agreed to consider ‘fill-in’ work during retirement.

    Neutral or OK Turnover
    Such situations include:
    • Turnover of an employee or contractor who was hired to provide short-term coverage.
    • Turnover by an employee who provided sufficient notice, enabling an exceptional replacement to be sourced, hired and trained prior to the employees exit.
    • Turnover by an employee leaving a more generic role with a short learning curve.
    • Turnover of a top performing employee who has a high probability of returning in the future.
    • Turnover of an employee who left as a result of major illness or something that could not be predicted or prevented.

    Critical or Highly Undesirable Turnover
    This is the key area upon which focus retention efforts on. Situations falling under this category include:
    • Turnover of a top performer with little or no advance notice.
    • Turnover of a critical team leader or manager.
    • Turnover of an employee that possesses the only knowledge or experience in a critical field in the organisation.
    • Turnover of an employee in a revenue generating or revenue impact job.
    • Turnover of a top performer or a key individual that goes to a direct competitor.
    • Turnover of a high-potential individual who left due to a lack of development opportunities.
    • Turnover of an employee who subsequently files a credible government or legal complaint against the organisation.

    Labelling turnover ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depends primarily on the business impact caused by the departure of the employee. If employee turnover means losing an individual who is a ‘bad actor’, the impact can be beneficial to your company. For the remaining staff members, the departure of an employee with a negative attitude can seem like a breath of fresh air. For the business owner, it means no longer having to deal with the problems that employee caused. Employee turnover can also have a positive impact if it means replacing a long-term employee who is simply going through the motions or biding their time until retirement.

    By regarding turnover as an opportunity, employers can rest easy knowing that new staff will ultimately bring new life to their businesses, nurturing its growth and development.


  3. Does your manager really care what you think, and is their door really ‘open’?

    November 8, 2011 by Jenna

    Personally speaking, having worked four metres away from my manager for the last eleven years has meant that she has little choice but to care about what I think, because I certainly tell her! A lot. About everything. Like recipes, movies, novels … and work-related issues, too. Sometimes. The other day I started to talk to her about a family member and promptly burst into tears. Very professional … 

    Being physically the closest team member to her also means that I am usually, alas, the first to hear uttered those dread words: “I’ve been thinking …” 

    I was really heartened by the overwhelmingly positive response to our latest online poll: Does your manager really care what you think, and is their door really ‘open’? Almost 92% of respondents said “YES”. 

    If you’re a manager reading this, you might like to refer to the article featured in this week’s edition of The Challenge Consulting News, Articulate and Inspiring Managers Motivate Employees, in which the report cited states that “nearly half of Australian employees (48%) rate the ability to motivate and inspire as the single most important attribute of a successful leader … Often executives and managers do not realise the profound effect their words and actions have on their employees … Leaders who are able to effectively communicate their organisation’s strategic direction can have a massive influence on employee engagement levels.” 

    Two poll respondents had some very striking feedback regarding the open style of their management team:

    – “I feel confident speaking on everyone’s behalf by saying that no one team member feels intimidated or out of place by wandering (or Moonwalking) in to her office to discuss anything. Big, small, personal or business.”

    – “Our managers have a ‘Know Your People’ workbook. My manager knows that I love pugs and chocolate. Likewise, I know she hates dirty shoes but loves rom-coms and Max Brenner’s hot chocolates.” 

    Lots of studies have been conducted on why people stay with and leave companies. A quality that organisations who do manage to retain employees seem to share is really caring about the wellbeing of their employees. From the top of the company structure all the way down, there is a genuine sense of caring, listening, involvement. Employee engagement is strong, retention is high, productivity is excellent and people get along. 

    The other quality these organisation seem to share is that they are careful about who they hire to lead employees.

    They understand that the managers have to be compassionate, caring, and nurturing while still having the ability to hold employees responsible for high levels of performance. These managers aren’t afraid of developing relationships with employees. Those relationships sustain employee satisfaction even when difficult issues have to be addressed. 

    Think about it. Are you more likely to give your best to a manager and an organisation who just wants to extract as much out of you as possible in the short-term, or one who invests in your professional development, allows you to grow into your role, and gives you time to learn so you can perform at your best and give your all?

    This week’s online poll is now LIVE and wonders: Where do you go first when you’re looking for a job?

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    Challenge Consulting has a Facebook page. Click the FB icon to “Like” us now and stay in touch re our new blog posts, weekly poll, links and more …


  4. Staff Retention: How will YOU keep your top talent in 2011?

    April 19, 2011 by Jenna

    During a lively discussion forum last Wednesday morning, Challenge Consulting explored trends in employee retention with a group of clients.  

    Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines retention as “1. the act of keeping someone or something, 2. the ability to keep something”. In the context of business when we talk about retention, we talk about ‘keeping’ employees as the direct opposite to ‘losing’ employees or employee turnover.

    Employee turnover is one of the most largely measured and reported statistics in business. But given that we know that on average 20% of the Australian Labour Market will change jobs each year[i], how significant are these turnover statistics, really?

    During our discussion forum we explored this question and more, including:

    • What is retention?
    • What are the motivational drivers that keep our participants with their employer?
    • How do we or how should we measure retention drivers?
    • What retention strategies are smart organisations implementing in an attempt to keep their top talent?

    Consistent with organisational research and theory on retention[ii], we identified common themes in what ‘retained’ our participants with their employers, including: job satisfaction (i.e. interesting and challenging work), job embededness (i.e. a feeling of belonging to a team or social network in the organisation), employee voice (i.e. feeling that their opinions are heard), and role clarity (i.e. understanding role and responsibilities and how it directly relates to the organisational purpose). What we also found were a range of individual motivators that were influencing retention of the ‘top talent’ in the room, including: flexible work arrangements, career development, training and mentoring, and a range of company values.

    It was clear that a one-size-fits-all strategy for retention would be impossible to retain each of our discussion forum participants, so how can retention drivers be measured at the larger organisational level? According to industry research[iii], 95% of Australian companies conduct Exit Interviews, an emerging trend is that 45% of Australian companies are now conducting Stay Interviews (periodic in-depth interviews with existing employees to measure key retention drivers, starting right from the first 3 months), not to forget the common practice of Organisational Surveying.

    During the discussion forum we debated how well organisations were utilising these and other sources of retention data, i.e. was the right information being captured to measure retention drivers and then once the data was collected was the data being used strategically to manage retention initiatives? Google’s Project Oxygen[iv] provided us with an example of an organisation analysing all available employee data to identify common retention drivers and more specifically develop their Google Rules for managers.

    By the end of our discussion forum, there was agreement from participants that not all turnover is negative and not all retention is positive. In fact, some turnover can be a positive and some retention can be a negative! But as Australia already shows the signs of another deepening skills shortage, there is no doubt that when their key motivators are not met, talented employees can find other employers that will meet these drivers. Does your organisation need help identifying the key retention drivers for your most talented people? Challenge Consulting can help you measure retention drivers through our Organisational Effectiveness Profiling and Exit Interview Consulting services, help you develop managers with a focus on retention with our Effective Supervision Workshop and help you build a strategic approach to managing retention in your organisation.

    What do you think smart organisations should be doing to keep their most talented people and what motivates you to stay with your current employer?


    [i] Sweet, R. (2011). The mobile worker: concepts, issues, implications. NCVER Occasional Paper, Adelaide.

    [ii] Mardanov, I., Heischmidt., & Henson, A. (2008). Leader-member exchange and job satisfaction bond and predicted employee turnover. Journal of Leaderhship and Organizational Studies, 15, 159-175.

    Ramesh, A., Gelfand, M. J. (2010). Will they stay or will they go? The role of job embeddedness in predicting turnover in individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95, 807-823.

    Siebert, S. & Zubanov, N. (2009). Searching for the optimal level of employee turnover: A study of a large UK retail organisation. Academy of Management Journal, 52, 294-313.

    Swider, B.W., Boswell, W.R., & Zimmerman, R.D. (2011). Examining the job search-turnover relationship: The role of embeddedness, job satisfaction, and available alternatives, Journal of Applied Psychology. 96, 432-441.

    [iii] Lambert, L. (2010). All aboard: Identifying flight risks in probationary staff can help retain promising talent. Recruitment Extra, Nov 2010, 26-27.

    [iv] Bryant, A. (2011). Google’s quest to build a better boss, New York Times. 




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