Retention Planning

You recognize the importance of keeping your good employees and are interested in finding out more about how to go about it. Spending time planning your strategy can be an invaluable contributor to a successful program.

Recognize that not all turnover is bad. An organization often benefits when a poorly performing employee leaves or the departure of an employee provides an opportunity to inject new blood into the workplace. Also, some turnover is unavoidable; good people move out of the area or decide to go back to school, perhaps your business is seasonal.

Focus your attention on turnover that is detrimental to your business (when good people leave) and that you can control (they are leaving for similar opportunities rather than because they are leaving the area). Try to understand how much of your turnover falls into these categories.

Remember that all your systems and processes are linked. Making changes to a recognition program will probably not make any difference in how people feel about working for you, if they think the performance management process is already unfair and they are never provided with proper training for their jobs.

Understand that the effectiveness of any strategy will depend on how it is viewed by employees. The same strategy used effectively by one employer may be totally ineffective when used by another, because employees value different things and organizations have different cultures.

The principles behind strategies and programs and how they are implemented are often more important than what the practices actually are. People need to feel that both the outcome and the process are fair and that they were treated well throughout the process.

Ensure that front-line supervisors and managers understand the reasons for, and value of, any new programs you intend to put in place. This involves including them in the design, where possible, and providing detailed information about the implications for them of any new program.

Prepare to measure and evaluate any programs you put in place. Understand up-front how you will determine whether programs were successful. Look at both the program itself and the way it is implemented.

Remember that one of the best ways to reduce turnover is to recruit the right people in the first place.