New Manager

The key to effective employee retention

Poonacha Machaiah | Updated on January 19, 2018



A bigger paycheck is not the solution; ensuring a shared commitment to mutual growth is

In today’s competitive marketplace, where talent is in short supply, rising attrition is a conundrum most companies face. Add to that international economic recovery and market stability and we could be looking at a 15-20% employee turnover in the coming year.

When attrition remains an issue despite provision of high compensation and benefit packages and offers tailored to match skill set, it is time to revisit the strategy for retaining employees.

Hire for Culture Fit

Successful employee retention begins with the employee’s first interaction with the company during the recruitment stage. While interviewing a candidate, in addition to looking for a skill and aptitude match, companies must analyse if the candidate is an “organization fit”. An employee whose attitude, personality traits, mind-set and working style is in alignment with the company culture and values, is less likely to leave.

Communicate Well and Often

Simply knowing the role and performance metrics are not sufficient to inculcate company loyalty in employees. It is imperative to have a communications process via which employees are made aware of the business mission and vision for the coming year / years and how significant their contribution is to the overall effectiveness of the organization. Whether it is a monthly town hall, an internal survey, or face-to-face meetings, these forums need to be leveraged to communicate to employees how and why they should always consider you to be their “employer of choice”.

Coach, not Manage

A high attrition rate can be attributed to the management style of the company’s senior leadership, because more often than not, employees leave ‘managers’. Effective talent management in the form of setting effective goals, providing insightful feedback and recognition, giving the freedom to explore solutions, being attuned to their team’s passions and frustrations and shaping their professional growth are key to boosting employee morale.

Managers and HR need to go beyond ‘managing’ and work towards ‘creating’ employee careers.

Flexible Working Schedule

Employees today are keen to accept professional opportunities that ensure a good work-life balance. Companies need to look at introducing flexible working opportunities that encourage employees to finish the work on time without compromising critical personal commitments. Whether it is a ‘work from home’ policy, an extended paternity leave, or effective scheduling of workload, it is essential to keep employees happy and productive.

Create Growth Opportunities

Absence of a clear path for professional growth and development is one of the principal reasons employees leave organizations. Cross-training on skills that are related to employee interest and inter-linked with business objectives, providing financial assistance for higher education and arranging mentorship programs to boost internal promotion; can go a long way in motivating employees who see an opportunity to advance, not just maintain momentum.

Feedback and Performance Evaluation

Performance appraisal works wonders only when there are clear and achievable objectives to measure individual, team and company performance. It is of utmost importance to periodically inform employees what they are doing well, where they need to step up and how their talent and capabilities are making a difference to the business. Being able to relate how their work fits in with the company goal, instils a sense of responsibility and desire to help the company do better.

Reward beyond Salary / Bonus and Equity

Salary, bonus / equity are the foremost reasons employees join an organization, but these are not enough to make them stay. Recognition for outstanding achievements should not be restricted to financial rewards but include innovative ways to make an employee proud of his accomplishment. Whether it is featuring the achievement in the employee newsletter, displaying the name on the company’s ‘Wall of Fame’ or inviting their family for ‘dinner with the CEO’, these simple measures are sure to make him/her feel successful, secure and valued.

Identify Why Employees Stay

‘Exit’ interviews are a crucial source of reasons why employees leave the company. However knowing why long-tenured employees stay in the company can also be extremely fruitful in identifying what you do well and what you don’t. Regular ‘stay’ interviews with questions like; ‘Why did you join the company? Why have you stayed? What would make you leave? What would you change or improve?’ can give key insights into what motivates and demotivates company employees.

However it is important to remember that every employee is different. There cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ strategy to retain top employees. What is required is a collective approach by HR and senior leaders to cultivate a company culture that encourages upskilling and sharing knowledge, rewards talent, offers a healthy work-life balance and fosters a mutual commitment to build a successful company.

The writer is CEO and Founder, ABOVE Solutions

Published on February 12, 2016

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