No Cost Retention Investments Pay High Dividends!

Recently, as one of the moderators of a weekly luncheon networking group, I had the joy of facilitating a spirited discussion regarding employee retention. What transpired was a wonderful exchange of thoughts and ideas!  If asked about employee retention, many business owners often assume fostering employee satisfaction always involves increasing salaries and costs. This underscores why asking people directly and collecting good data is so critical to successful business operations.  Many thanks to all of the business colleagues and professionals that shared their stories so openly and freely.

I first asked the attendees who among them were business owners; about 20% of the group raised their hands. The rest indicated they were employees working for someone else.  I decided not to ask the original question:  How do you retain good employees? Instead, I challenged the group to share the important ingredients that kept them in their current or previous jobs.  Not to exclude the owners, I invited them to think back when they were employed by someone else and share what was important to them, but also asked them to pay attention to the answers others were sharing.

Right out of the gate one participant stated emphatically: “don’t lie to me, tell me the truth; the moment you lie to me it’s over!”  Others also chimed in about the importance of transparency and communication in the workplace.  There were also comments about work life balance, performing meaningful work, and making a difference both in the workplace and the community.

One veteran manager spoke about how key it was to understand how they fit in their company and what role or roles they played in the overall organization. Another shared about how critical it was to be recognized for doing good work and continued to say this was ignored in her previous job which was the reason for her exit.

The conversation then morphed to the value of a strong company culture that encourages cooperation and collaboration, and develops a strong sense of being part of a team. When I asked was this something that was part of their on-boarding process?  Many said no and continued to say often it was obvious.  Culture was something you felt when you walked in the door and was reinforced by the behavior of those around them.  A couple of the attendees spoke about special events or celebrations at their workplaces which strengthened internal relationships and camaraderie.

Even though I teach many of these principals in my practice, it was great to hear the exchange containing powerful testimony in real time from real employees on the impact of no cost of low cost investments in a company’s most valuable resource – its people.

Not once was the subject of compensation raised.


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