As discussed previously on this blog, the employee turnover in our present economy is alarmingly high. Retention has never been more important. Talented employees often come and go – seemingly as they wish – leaving businesses with roles to fill, and costs to bear. Productivity often dips, it takes time for a new hire to get accustomed. Existing staff may be forced to pick up an increased workload.
According to Gallup, 53% of workers, ‘may be generally satisfied but are not cognitively and emotionally connected to their work and workplace; they will usually show up to work and do the minimum required but will quickly leave their company for a slightly better offer.’
Management and retention
In the words of Wendy Duarte Duckrey, vice president of recruiting at JPMorgan Chase: ‘most people don’t quit their jobs; they quit their managers.’ An estimated 57% of all employees quit their role as a result of management.
This is not necessarily a product of antagonism – although, undoubtedly, it occasionally is – but, as the Gallup poll makes clear, can be attributed to feeling under-exchanged, under-valued, or under-utilised. People like to feel valued, they like to contribute, and have their contributions recognised. It is rarely as simple as ‘oh God I just hate my boss!’ – rarely being the operative word…
Recruitment and retention
Often when discussing employee retention, we focus only on one side of the coin: termination, the end point. But this is a reductive reading of workplace culture and employee engagement; we have to be more holistic.
The reality is the seeds of retention are sown from recruitment onwards. The reasons why people stay in their jobs, and succeed in them, are just as important as the reasons why they leave. This insight has to form the backbone of any enlightened recruitment.
What are you looking for in a candidate? Why? What typically leads to success in your organisation? In this particular role? – If you haven’t got answers to these questions then you’re recruiting blind, and you’re likely to be recruiting blind once again a year or two down the line.
Get people to stay for the right reasons: get them engaged, interested, productive, satisfied. Employee engagement takes proactive leadership, and it takes a genuine attempt to understand what it is makes your environment tick.
Google did this to interesting effect with the Aristotle project. At PACC, we attempt something similar, using surveys and person to person sessions to understand a workplace culture. Because it is only from that place of understanding that you get a properly informed recruitment and engagement policy. And it is only from a properly informed recruitment and engagement policy that you get retention.