Low-Cost Steps to Keep Employees from Job HuntingBy: G.A. (Andy) Marken
I recently read an on-line newsletter from a communications recruitment agency that said because of the continual thrash of people, even non-tech oriented companies were beginning to offer signing bonuses, salaries approaching $100,000 and stock options for middle managers. A newspaper career counselor also advised a reader that unless you had an employment contract, nine months was long enough for a job.
The counselor did note that if the reader moved it should be for more than just money. It should be for a better company fit, for skills enhancement and that the move should fit the individual's career plan.
Today's employment rules are that there are very few rules. There's no longer a stigma attached to people having three – four job changes in the last few years. That's good news for people who want to “shop.” It's bad news for companies.
But if you're the head of an agency or responsible for public relations in a company, you know that 60 - 80% of your corporate inventory leaves thru the front door every evening. Every time part of that inventory doesn't return it is expensive to replace the individual. Since no one has unlimited staffing budgets employee retention is the best way to keep your largest cost under control.
The primary motivation for people job hunting is seldom simply a bigger paycheck. There are low-cost programs you can use in your department and other areas of the company to improve staff retention. They include:
1. Flexible Hours
Department heads and corporate executives are realizing that flexible hours and telecommuting are the most cost-effective ways to hire new people and retain present personnel. The combination of flex time and flex place are both inexpensive and convenient.3. Praise
It sounds simple but with today's reduced staffs, increased workload and compressed time schedules it is easy to forget compliments. Some people are completely self-reliant and self-assured. But it is amazing what a few well-chosen words can do. People need to know that their efforts for the company are recognized and appreciated.4. Employees Training Employees
Firms spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year sending people to formal training sessions. For some skill sets formal training is a must.5. Clear career paths
Let employees know the company's and department's plans for the next one, three and five years. Identify opportunities for employees and outline what will be required for them to move forward in the organization. Without a clear-cut understanding of their advancement potential people can quickly become demotivated. When that happens they begin looking for “better” opportunities.6. Work with cutting-edge technology
Every organization, including PR firms and departments, advocate letting people work on special or new technology implementation projects. But often these programs and projects are given to the same few “stars.” The high-potential types get the projects because company and department heads need to make certain the programs succeed. As a result some members of the team never get the chance to stretch themselves and grow.7. Shield your people
Whether clients are internal or external, one of senior management's most important jobs is to manage and control client and staff relationships and communications. Sitting at the top, the senior managers should be the lightning rod that shields people so they can focus on their work.8. Emphasize benefits package value
If your company offers good benefits, make certain employees know the value of those benefits above and beyond their weekly or monthly paychecks. Depending upon the company, benefits are usually 20-30 percent of their total compensation.9. Supportive Culture
Recognizing birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions as well as impromptu parties for the completion of a major project is a cultural activity that says to an individual “you're important” and “you matter.” The little things that can build big loyalty.10. Small gifts, Cash Prizes
Small gifts such as sporting event tickets, free meals, theater tickets and on-the-spot cash awards of $25 - $50 is a way for department heads to recognize an employees' accomplishments or contributions. But since incentive awards have become commonplace they often lose their effect. When the awards are given, combine them with public recognition.When the big offers come they can force people to consider a move. It's up to corporate and department managers to use as many of the low-cost incentives as possible to show people they are important to the firm. The incentives should be part of your organization's total compensation package.
Take them for granted and you'll continually be on the hiring and training treadmill. That ends up being far more expensive than the incentives.
© Copyright 2000, G.A.Marken, Marken Communications
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