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A critical and constant set of issues affecting the productive operation of any organization involves the recruitment and retention of employees. Whether at the staff or management level, an organization should have a coherent and planned strategy to enhance recruitment and minimize turnover. Clearly, having an organized plan will boost productivity and reduce operational costs.
Consider the following situation. A winery has allocated substantial time and resources in a search for a marketing manager. The individual selected for this position would be a key employee to contribute to the development and implementation of the winery's marketing plan for the next decade. The winery ultimately selects a superb professional, someone who is innovative, skilled and thoughtful. His interpersonal skills are exceptional and he has the right blend of experience. Yet, after less than a year on the job and just as the marketing team was reaching the expected levels of innovation and effectiveness, the new manager elects to leave the winery. The tedious, onerous and costly process of recruitment for this critical position must begin again. This all-too-common scenario should lead the hiring manager to evaluate his or her organization. Could the winery have done anything to prevent this? What led a relatively new employee to leave?
One explanation for this kind of situation relates to the fact that the connection between an employee and the employer is weaker than it has been in recent memory. This lack of commitment stems from the fact that the work environment has changed in the last 15 years. That is, increasing competition and environmental uncertainty, a lack of boundaries across jobs, departments and organizations and a marketplace that is more competitive and uncertain all contribute to this lack of connection. From the employee standpoint, good performance is no longer a guarantee of long-term employment. With information so readily available, workers today are more aware of enticing outside opportunities. This all contributes to an environment of decreased loyalty to an employer. Employees see a weak bond between the company and themselves, making them better able, both practically and psychologically, to move from one organization to another.
As any manager knows, employee turnover puts a strain on a company. Those organizations with staff turnover find their HR budgets consumed by recruiting and training costs. But the damage and costs go beyond the monetary--time lost to find and train replacements translates to a loss of business momentum. With the fast pace of competition today, this can be a blow to a company's strategic plan. And it goes without saying; excessive turnover can tarnish a company's reputation when viewed by remaining employees and external contacts. There must be something wrong; why can't they keep their employees?
Continuity is priceless. When people have been around for a while, there's a sort of flow that keeps everything moving. People know how things are and how they are done, how to fix the little problems--there is a sort of company memory about these situations that makes operation more efficient. Confidence is high and productivity is strong. As a manager, you don't have to worry about hiring and training all the time and there is time to work on other business needs.
We all know that we want to keep our good, performing employees. Employees are more likely to stay put when they are both satisfied with their jobs and also committed to the organization. Common sense assumes that poor employee attitudes about the work situation encourage the quitting process. If the organization fails to meet the individual's expectations, he or she is more likely to leave. But common sense does not help answer some very important questions: What are employees' expectations? How can an organization best meet employee expectations, both individually and collectively?
The key is to develop a retention strategy. Building a strategy for retention requires identification of the factors that can lead to employee turnover and then developing a range of initiatives that will address those issues. The final action is to develop a strategy that enhances both job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
When someone works for you, the employee becomes a part of a "family". Employees have work and non-work related needs and employers need to identify what contributes to a productive employee. Recognize their needs, as well as your own. The more you understand those needs and can meet them, the more successful your retention. Find a balance between what people want in their lives and what you need to run the company. There are ways for management to influence employee loyalty.
Retention Bonuses: Many companies are offering their employees retention bonuses. These are paid out over an extended period. For example, you can accrue a bonus over a year with 2 percent being paid out in six months and 3 percent six months after that. The belief here is that employees become more valuable the longer they are in your employment and you reward them for staying with you.
Retaining employees has never been easy for contact centre managers but the task today is more challenging than ever.
With the average contact centre employee having a tenure of just three years - and the candidate pool for new hires getting smaller and smaller - it's essential that employers make staff retention a top priority.
According to Erika Van Noort, Director of Management Consulting within the Bell team that specializes in delivering contact centre solutions, the key to success is making sure employees feel engaged and connected every day they come to work.
"As many organizations discover in exit interviews, it is not the pay rate that drove people to leave," Erica explains. "Rather, it is areas such as value and respect, work flexibility, training, and overall investment."
Van Noort says employers should look closely at promises made during the hiring process - such as what's said about training and development - and compare that to what the organization actually delivers.
"What if we went into the contact centre six months later and asked new hires if those promises had been kept? Would they be able to cite examples of training? Or would they have to talk about how the centre was too busy so that scheduled training was cancelled?"
Van Noort adds that every interaction an applicant has with your organization - before being hired, during training, and as a full-fledged employee - is a moment of truth. A silent evaluation is constantly taking place.
"Our experience has shown that for any organization to quickly improve turnover, leadership must be committed and aligned," she says. "Then the change must be carried throughout the organization to create a culture where your people feel valued each and every day. That not only helps to retain your people, but in today's highly commoditized market, it also provides a competitive edge that is second to none."
To learn more about how your organization can improve its employee retention, contact you Bell account representative.