Part Three: Twenty-Seven Things You Can Do Right Now to Win the War for Talent: Retention

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Part Three: Twenty-Seven Things You Can Do Right Now to Win the War for Talent: Retention

OK, I started this series of 3 articles (Part I – Recruiting, Part II – Onboarding, and this third part, on Retention), calling it 27 Things You Can Do Right Now to Win the War for Talent. Forget the 27. It’s more than that. The number doesn’t matter.

What I’ve endeavored to do here is to share some of the things (they’re not just ideas; they’re actual practices) that are bringing some relief to real employers, in this tough-as-ever labor market.

I didn’t make any of this stuff up. Each practice has come from leaders I’ve spoken to, learned from, or researched. I’ve shared most of these points from the virtual and in-person platform, as I’ve spoken for audiences throughout my career, and especially in these last two years. They come from the full range of industries I work with, and therefore, some may not apply to yours. Most will.

As with the previous articles in this series, I offer you not a narrative with lengthy explanations, but instead, more of a list.

I hope you find it helpful.

  • Remember that good people want to work with equally good, committed, and talented co-workers. Keep the standards high. I know, that’s hard. All of this is hard. Especially now. Do it anyway.
  • You may need to “detox” your workforce, by releasing employees who are creating a toxic environment and making it difficult for you to recruit and retain the good ones. Lose a few to gain a lot.
  • Pay more attention to Work-Life Balance. When you get some relief on the staffing front, begin to introduce more flexibility and balance, as you can.
  • Get creative and flexible with your benefits. One size fits one. Some employees won’t need everything you offer, because their spouse has them covered, or they just don’t value it. Curate a package of benefits they DO value, and compensate them for things they don’t use. Yes, this means doing things differently for your HR professionals. It’s an investment well worth the payoff.
  • My unscientific poll of hospital staff in recent presentations shows that people value a verbal thank you from their co-workers and manager over time off with pay; and a handwritten thank you over monetary awards or gift cards. And if your idea of Reward and Recognition is limited to an “Employee of the Month” program…oh, don’t even get me started!
  • You’ve got to do something about childcare. Provide it onsite. Or subsidize the cost elsewhere. The cost of NOT doing this exceeds, for many employers, the cost of doing it.
  • Provide substantial retention bonuses, with an attractive, but modest payout at the end of each year, and then a large, attention-keeping one at the end of five years. Put the funds in an escrow account so you don’t get caught short.
  • Provide tuition reimbursement.
  • Compensation includes TANGIBLES and INTANGIBLES. Pay more attention to the intangibles, and there will likely be less pressure on the tangibles.
  • Beware of pay inequity that favors newcomers over longtimers. People talk.
  • Institute “No Meeting” days, where people can be assured they won’t have any meetings on particular days.
  • Provide for self-scheduling, with clearly established ground rules.
  • To curb absenteeism, pair every employee with an attendance buddy who works their same shift. It greatly increases accountability.
  • Conduct “Stay Interviews”, to find out why people stay with your organization. It will also give you clues as to why they might leave. Exit Interviews are fine. They provide valuable information sometimes. But Stay Interviews are even better. Think checkup vs. autopsy.
  • Do Employee Surveys. Correctly. Here’s an article on what we mean by “correctly”. We provide this service. If we can help, get in touch.
  • If you’re still allocating a finite number of “sick days” (antiquated and ineffective, but seemingly entrenched in many organizations), at least do this: Rollover sick days into long term disability. For the sick days they don’t use, pay them half, then, in addition, put those days in a long term disability bank.
  • Battle favoritism. It’s one of the biggest complaints we see in our clients’ employee surveys.

We can deliver a customized keynote presentation or training session, in person or online, that dives deeper into the practices outlined in all three of the articles in this series. Please contact us to learn more about making that happen.

The Series - Twenty-Seven things You Can Do Right Now to Win the War for Talent

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