Category Archives: Employee Retention

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5 Ways to Ensure Talent Retention During a Restructure

Restructuring is an often-necessary tool for organizations wishing to align with new or old goals by redefining their workforce. This can take the form of introducing new work methods such as agility, but also often involves merging and splitting teams to create a new and more dynamic company structure.

While it’s necessary that you will lose some employees during times of change, and some by choice, many organizations lose top talent during a restructure simply because restructure can be disheartening, demotivating, and can cause even good employees to leave.

Taking steps to ensure talent retention during a restructure will save your organization money and most importantly, your star performers.

Build Trust with Transparency Before the Restructure

While many organizations attempt to minimize foreknowledge of restructures to reduce speculation and talk, this often achieves the opposite effect. Employees will learn about restructure long before it hits, and many will begin to look for new roles as they fear moving, losing their role, or difficult change.

Being transparent and building trust with honest and authentic dialogue will help to prevent this. Consider scheduling town-hall meetings, one-on-one meetings with managers where appropriate, and regular updates for everyone involved.

Invest in Employee Development

Continuing to invest in employees during a restructure directly shows that you are continuing to maintain commitment to your workforce.

For example, by offering workshops and e-learning or courses to help employees develop needed skills, creating mentoring and coaching programs for those in need, and offering direct training for new processes and software, you will show employees that you are committed to keeping them.

This also means investing in employees who are being let go. Working to offer outplacement and proactive career services to move existing employees into new roles will show that you’re invested in ensuring everyone is taken care of – which will help to boost total employee morale during the restructure.

Directly Connect Restructure with Goals and Strategy

It’s important to directly connect changes to goals and strategy because doing so is motivational and inspirational.

For example, by sharing the fact that new approaches increase customer satisfaction or reduce costs or otherwise directly connect with company strategies, you show that making changes will have a direct return on investment. Similarly, you should share positive results from change as they happen to keep everyone motivated.

Clearly Communicate Expectations for Newly Defined Roles

Most restructuring means change at every level of the organization. This may mean redefining roles, changing software, and even new teams or merged teams who must achieve new things or achieve them in new ways. Clearly communicating and offering training and development for change is important. At the same time, it’s also important to offer recognition, opportunities to lead or develop, and direct praise for adapting and meeting or exceeding new expectations.

Hold Leadership Accountable for Change

No matter what change is happening during your restructure, it’s important that leadership exemplify it. Holding managers and leaders accountable for change and showing change first is crucial to ensuring adoption and high morale throughout the rest of the organization.

You can typically achieve this by bringing leadership into specific training courses and workshops first, which will give them time to adapt and learn what the restructure means for everyone before introducing it to the rest of the workforce. If you start with developing leaders, the rest of the teams will follow.

At the same time, you want to avoid making leadership change seem different from that of the rest of the workforce. Bringing training together and pairing leaders with workers at every level during later training will help to reduce uncertainties.

While restructure is often difficult for everyone involved, retaining top talent during the process is often about being transparent, showing appreciation for employees even when letting them go, and offering direct opportunities to develop and move forward with the new structure.


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3 Examples of How Company Culture Affected Talent Retention

Company culture describes who a company is at its core, ranging from behaviors to attitude towards employees and how employees complete work. It’s a company’s personality, integrating work environment, company values, ethics, expectations, and leadership. While it’s often under-valued in organizations, who may not work to create a specific company culture at all, culture is increasingly recognized as a valuable factor in helping organizations to succeed.

Microsoft

In 2014, Microsoft was facing a failing market and a rapid loss of talent. With decreasing profits and an internal culture built around intense competition and infighting, top talent was leaving for competing companies. Satya Nadella stepped in as CEO with the intent of changing this, not by using the same heavy-handed tactics as his predecessors to force individuals into line, but by changing company culture. His approach centered around rebuilding Microsoft’s culture in a flat-hierarchal organization, inspiring 124,000+ employees to embrace learning and empathic collaboration rather than competition.

Today, Microsoft is at the height of its game, and its talent loss problems are gone. The organization thrives on creative collaboration, actively drawing in top talent and now has an average talent retention of 3+ years.

Hewlett Packard

HP, like Microsoft, was formerly at the top of its game and among one of the first companies to establish the importance of company culture with the HP Way. In 1978, when founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard handed over the reins to John Young, that began to change. By the 1990s, HP had become a fragmented, top-down culture in which hierarchy reigned supreme. The organization began to flounder, losing CEO after CEO, until Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay stepped in, splitting the company in 2015 in an attempt to solve internal issues. That split paid off, as HP was able to use the separation to reinvent sales and culture, creating a system focusing on behavior, activities, and performance and rewarding an intersection of all three. With a new investment in company culture and a commitment to innovation, HP Inc, headed by Dion Weisler, the company commits to trusting people first and intervening only when it’s necessary. As a result, the company has seen a 13% increase in total sales, with employee and talent retention up.

Cisco

Most people don’t think of Cisco when they think of companies with good organizational culture, especially considering the company was once known for a hard top-down management style. But, with an average employee duration of 7.8 years, Cisco has one of the longest employee retention rates out there. Cisco’s Our People Deal focuses on connection, innovation, and mutual benefit, with a much flatter hierarchy and a massive breakdown of silos. Cisco’s shift away from simply working to giving talent a space to innovate, develop, and build themselves while working makes the company truly attractive to top talent, as exemplified by their long retention rate.

While there are a lot of ways to build a company culture, the companies with the best talent retention have structured theirs around people, innovation, and development, with flat or open rather than top-down hierarchy. While your own culture can include some of many of those elements, deliberately developing culture to include employee retention will pay off, and in a big way.


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How to retain employees using work/life balance perks

In today’s business landscape, companies are fighting for top talent. Skill shortages mean that it’s going to get harder and harder to find team members who perform well. Since it’s likely that a small percentage of your team are top performers who contribute the most, it becomes increasingly vital to retain and upskill your best employees. You can do this by using work life balance perks to incentivize employees and decrease turnover.

3 ways you can retain employees using work life balance perks

In-office perks

In-office perks could include anything from a company break room to a gym, or even an open bar on Fridays. Providing ways for your team to unwind and relax together is great for teamwork, builds camaraderie, and helps them enjoy their time at the office outside of work. These in-office perks are great for team members who keep long hours due to client schedules, since they can take breaks between meetings or tasks to relax and focus on themselves for a while.

Work-from-home days

Remote work is on the rise as the gig economy takes off around the world, and for good reason. Giving your employees days to work from home can cut your turnover in half, and drive productivity. A Stanford study showed that productivity shot up by 17 percent and employees are half as likely to leave the company when they can work from home. Consider allowing your team to work from home 1 day a week, so they can avoid long commutes and spend more time with their family, pets, and in the comfort of their own home while delivering quality work.

Flexible hours

Flexible hours allow your team members to take control of their own schedules and manage their work life balance within certain parameters. As long as your employees continue to deliver on their work, allowing them to do it at the time that best suits them will give you a leg ahead of your competition. Not only will your employees get to structure their workday around peak productivity hours, they’ll be able to avoid rush hour!

Using work life balance perks is a great way to keep your top performers and attract qualified candidates to your business. Not only is it more important to retain employees in the skill shortage, it’s also cheaper to keep great employees than to hire new ones. Use these ideas to keep your teams in top form!

Further reading: Not sure how your HR team is doing? Here are the HR metrics you should be tracking.


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Leadership Techniques: How to Manage Legacy Employees as a New Manager

Moving into a role as a new manager can be difficult under normal circumstances. However, legacy employees, typically defined as those who have been with a company for 10+ years, further complicate matters.

On the one hand, legacy employees often have a long history of dedication, loyalty, and good work. On the other, many operate using old processes and structures, may be resistant to change, and are often unwilling to accept the expertise of outsiders who often (arguably) do have a lot to learn.

In some cases, the answer to legacy employees is simply removing them if they are not willing to adapt to new processes. In other cases, working with legacy employees to introduce the how and why of new processes, or otherwise help them to adapt to new leadership may be beneficial in retaining valuable and loyal employees.

Drive Buy-In

It’s important for any employee understand leadership changes and structure, but many new managers don’t make the effort to generate buy-in for legacy employees. This creates problems where needed changes are obvious to the new manager but often intelligible to the employee.

Workshops, meetings, and one-on-one coaching with employees can help them to better understand why and where change is needed for success.

Show Emotional Intelligence

Most people have difficulty with change and adopting new processes because it challenges their authority and often their ability to do their job well. Understanding that resistance to change is often because of insecurity can help you create a better approach based on their specific problems and difficulties.

Show Respect

A long-term employee may feel that they know the company and its needs better than you. This may be true.

Showing respect by asking for opinions, soliciting advice, and directly sharing the reasoning and information behind your decisions will help to build trust, giving legacy employees further opportunity to feel valued while understanding changes. Operating a culture of transparency gives you and them the ability to see what’s going on, why, and will help them to trust what you are doing.

Redefine Roles

Legacy employees often feel as though they are experts in the company and their job. Redefine roles to better reflect what the company needs now, and offer training and assistance to move to those roles. This can help legacy employees adjust, while helping them understand why change is needed.

Job roles and expectations often change over time, and someone operating in a legacy position may not understand that. By redefining the role with HR using a competency framework, you can better define and communicate both hard and soft skills needed to perform well in the role now.

Terminating Legacy Employees

In some cases, employees are no longer a good cultural fit. They may be unwilling to adapt, may no longer have relevant skills, and may have no interest in respecting new leadership. Terminating their employment (with severance and help), may be the best way to go. It’s difficult to cut long-term employees, and you should give them the option to learn and grow with the company first, but you won’t always have that option.

Legacy employees can be valuable contributors to business, with a long history of loyalty and dedication. If processes and leadership are changing, it’s crucial that they have the opportunity to understand what’s going on and why. Similarly, it’s also a good idea to respect that change is often difficult and showing compassion and recognizing the seniority of the employee in matters regarding company history and processes. Doing so will allow you to build trust and buy-in for change, so you can develop new relationships with your organizations most loyal employees.


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Understanding Why Employees Suddenly Leave

This is a guest post by Eric Czerwonka of Buddy Punch.

Ever wonder why good employees leave?

Employees can quit their job for any number of reasons, like moving away or changing careers. Most of the time, a departure is the result of an accumulation of different problems –all of which have added up, and compounded, leaving them with no choice but to start looking elsewhere for a job.

In most cases, employees often leave due to circumstances or occurrences that are entirely preventable. In fact, in most cases, there are warning signs that an employee is going to leave, even if they’re easy to overlook.

While there’s no way to reduce employee turnover to zero percent, there is a lot that you can do to boost workplace morale and help to ensure that the workplace is one where your team can thrive and grow. Having a positive workplace environment will help to improve employee engagement and retention.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at one of the main reasons that employees suddenly leave, to help you combat employee turnover and keep your good employees longer.

Why do employees leave? Poor Management

People leave managers, not companies.

According to a Gallup poll of more one million employed U.S. workers, the number reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor. Some 75 percent of workers who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of their bosses; not the position itself.

Regardless of how great the position is, or how well-paid the employees are, if your management isn’t as it should be, your employees will soon be looking for another job. If you are looking to retain workers, then you should start by investing in your management.

Poor management practices lead to problems

Additional Stress

Not having a good management system in place can cause unnecessary stress on your employees. If there is additional stress that isn’t being dealt with and not going anywhere, your employees will be looking for the quickest exit possible, even if that means walking off the job.

Low Morale

While you don’t have to constantly dish out compliments, it’s important to express your sincere appreciation and gratitude to your employees.

Don’t think it makes a difference?

Consider this: 76 percent of employees who do not feel valued are looking for other job opportunities. That’s significant! Employees who feel valued perform better and are less likely to abandon ship.

Lack of Communication

When your managers aren’t communicating, there will be chaos within the company. A lack of communication is not only frustrating, but it can also be dangerous and stressful.

No one likes to work in a place with no direction, and if your manager isn’t stepping up to lead then no one will know what’s expected of them. This can cause frustration among employees and lead to unneeded tension and stress.

A good manager not only understands their team, they also are in tune with their needs and abilities. They are able to recognize when an employee is feeling run down or overworked and can take efforts to help ensure that a good employee stays around.

Having the right time management tools also make it easy for you to offer your team flexible hours, or even the ability to work from home once or twice a week, something that most employees will appreciate, and both of which can go a long way toward helping them to find a work-life balance, and boosting morale.

It’s no wonder that employees who feel that management is lacking are quick to leave. If you are finding your employee turnover rate is higher than it should be, you might take a minute to look at your management and see if there are areas that can be improved to make a better work environment for your employees.

How do you work to reduce employee turnover?


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How regular workforce analysis can help avoid headaches

Workforce analysis is the process of analyzing your employees and their capabilities to understand current abilities, future needs, and existing gaps. While the immediate benefits of an improved hiring process might be enough to convince you to use analysis as part of your HR process, there are plenty of ways regular workforce analysis benefits you in the long-term.

Good analysis will help you to identify the quantity and quality of employees you need for each task, identify knowledge, skills, and experience that are needed, missing, or soon to be needed. It will allow you to identify changing trends and skills so that you can begin to adapt your existing workforce, and will help you to remain prepared as your workforce changes.

Benefits of regular workforce analysis

Here’s how periodic analysis helps you and reduces business headaches along the way:

Reduced Turnover

Workforce analysis allows you to identify gaps and changing skills needs, making it possible for you to offer on-the-job training to high-performing employees so that they have the opportunity to move up in the company, and you have the opportunity to retain employees with valuable behaviors.

Good analysis will also help you to identify which employees are crucial and difficult or costly to replace, so that you can work to retain those employees, or work to train replacements internally.

Reduced Skills Gaps

Technology evolves at a rapid pace and many employees have skills which are obsolete. Some roles are staffed by someone who no longer fills many of the obligations they were originally hired for, because those obligations no longer exist, while others are short-handed and lack valuable skills. A workforce analysis can help you to begin restructuring to fill gaps, reduce inefficient labor, and ensure that all roles have are held by employees with the technical and behavioral skill to make the most of them.

Preparing for Change

Most industries are in a constant state of change and you may find that teams, departments, output, and technology change every few years. Workforce analysis can help you to recognize where change will happen so that you can begin preparing employees and company structure in advance. This will help you to avoid delays and disruptions when change does happen.

Preventing Unexpected Shortages

If you know when employees are likely to leave or want to move up, you can prepare for it by either having a new employee ready to fill their shoes or offering incentive to remain with the company. For example, by checking when employees typically retire, comparing average length of employment in specific positions, and checking employee satisfaction, you can easily calculate when you are likely to have employment gaps and prepare for it.

Good workforce analysis will help you stay on top of every aspect of your workforce planning and management, from hiring to offering continuing education and advancement opportunities for existing employees. It will also allow you to address issues before they become problems, take steps to ensure that employees are happy and willing to stay, and allows you to adapt your workforce to meet new technologies before they arrive.

This will help you to reduce problems, give you more control over workforce changes, and can be a competitive advantage.


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5 ways to demonstrate positive engagement on your team

Positive engagement is crucial to driving workforce productivity, reducing turnover, and ensuring adoption of new practices and tools. Having an engaged workforce is an important goal for any HR team, and a crucial element of modern management.

Demonstrating engagement means taking active steps to show that you care about employee well-being and engagement, on an individual level.

How to demonstrate positive engagement

Facilitate Good Communication

Clear and transparent communication between leadership and employees facilitates trust, understanding, and commitment. This means making clear goals linked to daily work, without HR terms and jargon. You need to communicate goals in ways that employees can see what is happening, and how it’s making a difference.

At the same time, creating open channels for real day-to-day communication is equally as important. Any member of a team must feel able and willing to come forward to discuss worries, problems, and obstacles with management, without fear or reprisal.

Offer Compensation and Recognition

Employees who feel respected and recognized for their efforts are more likely to continue to put in additional work, to feel motivated, and to remain passionate about their goals and objectives. The Harvard Business Review found that taking time to recognize and reward achievement and initiative can dramatically improve positive engagement. Good recognition involves a combination of personal “thank you’s” and team recognition, as well as compensation and benefits.

Create Room for Opportunities

Most people don’t want to be in the same role in 10 years. Nearly everyone has a career path or objective in mind. Most people also don’t want to work for a company that is stagnating. Focusing on growth (personal and corporate) both demonstrates and facilitates positive engagement while giving individuals room to move upward without leaving the company and moving to another. This boosts engagement because everyone who wants room to grow to can dedicate themselves to a career inside your company.

Develop Trust in Peers and Leadership

Trust is mandatory for any team to work and perform together. But, many teams either don’t trust their leadership or cannot rely on peers to perform well. SHRM found that 75% of employees in the 2015 Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey listed trust as the primary reason for company loyalty and dedication.

Implement better communication, including meetings where everyone can contribute, social media, newsletters, and intranet. In addition, hold each person accountable for individual performance to help increase trust throughout the team.

Hold Leadership Accountable

Management and leaders are responsible for going out and engaging with employees. They are the front line between HR and the workforce and their performance and tactics will make or break employee engagement. Holding those in leadership positions accountable for adopting new practices, engaging with employees, and developing trust boosts engagement, and by up to 67% according to a Gallup poll.

Demonstrating positive engagement in your team means taking initiative and working to make individuals feel that they are valued, important, and recognized. It also means facilitating teamwork and upward growth, ensuring that leaders are performing well in their roles, and creating an environment where teams can trust each other.

Over time, this will boost productivity, reduce employee turnover, and increase the quality of work and of life for employees in your team.


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