| || |
Employee Retention of Journal Communications -
April 13th, 2011
Journal Communications, Inc. (NYSE: JRN) is a publicly traded media company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It publishes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a daily newspaper, and it also owns television stations, radio stations and weekly newspapers, among other businesses.
If you are losing employees left and right, there's a reason. Find out why by conducting a professional survey. Look for tell-tale signs of low employee satisfaction. Pinpoint the problems. Take the needed steps to remove what drains employee satisfaction. Improve your retention rate by discovering the real reason employees are leaving your company. Contact us to learn more about employee satisfaction surveys.
Do your employees have the tools and knowledge they need to get the job done efficiently and effectively? Answer that question with confidence by using professional surveys. These allow you to pinpoint (and solve) critical gaps in employee knowledge or training. By asking an extensive series of questions, a professional survey discovers opportunities to improve the knowledge and performance of your workforce. Contact us to discover employee satisfaction surveys.
Employee surveys give you an honest assessment of your team's training, engagement, and overall employee satisfaction. This data gives you the tools you need to maximize the performance of your greatest resource: your people. When your employees are not exiting your company, you can build a skilled team with confidence. When your employees know how to achieve their tasks effectively, your company will be able to provide stronger service and quality. When your workers are satisfied and engaged, the company succeeds.
Building software is an art. But like a building, a well-built piece of software will stand the test of time without constant upgrades and maintenance. Unlike construction, however, each building that you create is unique. If software developers cannot cookie-cutter their software applications, much like tract homes, how can they become more efficient? Being more efficient allows us to create higher-quality software in less time. And less time means less money. From building libraries of reusable controls to executing an agile-development process to growing employees with the help of mentors, every aspect of software development can be improved to lower the cost of software creation.
This article is a profile on the evolution of a professional-services company that is focused on software-application development. Over the past 10 years, this company has had to become more efficient to remain competitive and unique in a market that has commoditized many aspects of its offerings. Many hard lessons were learned, but what has emerged has allowed the company to continue to thrive even in today’s economy. At the core is a hybrid agile methodology that is used to deliver everything from enterprise-size applications to one-week demo applications. This is powered by like-minded software and system engineers, as well as project and engagement managers.
Discover the process that this company uses today to build its software consistently on time and on budget
Your customers can be extremely diverse, having very different backgrounds and expectations on how custom software development is performed. Or you might be lucky and have only internal customers who are intimate with your software-development process. Regardless, your work will be remembered by your ability to hold to your word of when what you say will be delivered is delivered.
What must be acknowledged is that no matter the quality of the technical solution that you produce, success will be measured by how you meet the expectations of your customers. The process that you use to create custom solutions should actively engage the decision makers who will be passing judgment on whether or not the outcome is successful. Your customers should never be surprised or embarrassed. They can be surprised because the feature that they thought was going to be developed was not developed, or a deliverable was late and they did not know about it ahead of time. They can be embarrassed because promises that they made were broken, due to a feature not being delivered when it was supposed to be delivered.
Custom software development can take on a life of its own after the project has begun. It is well known that it is quite impossible to detail every requirement of each feature before any code is cut. Gone are the days in which weeks (or even months) are spent on requirements documentation that quickly becomes obsolete during the project. The software industry has been alive for a long time now, and your customers are much wiser. The concept that the features mature as the project progresses is not foreign, and your customer will expect you to be able to react to change during the project. Keeping the customer engaged and part of the decision-making process for these changes is what must be done.
Everyone knows that change will occur during the building of a custom solution, new features will be born, and priorities will change. Embracing this fluidity and immersing your customers in it allows everyone to be on the same page. When your customers want a new feature, it will be placed on a feature backlog that is to be built. A priority will be assigned to it and an acknowledgement made by everyone that without a change in scope or timeline, other features will not be developed in the final deliverable. By allowing your customers to change priorities during the project and helping them understand the ramifications of performing that action, they become part of the solution and will become your ally.
Your customers will feel enabled by being able to affect the project. They should be kept engaged with status meetings as frequently as you can (for example, twice a week) in order for them have a constant pulse on the project, and not by weekly status reports that no one ever reads. If they are part of the creation process, and not just there to receive the deliverable at the end of a sprint, your customers will already know what will be delivered to them before they see it and they can actively set expectations on their end. The risk for performing rework to appease a customer is significantly reduced, you complete the project when you said that you would, and your project team can be released on schedule to work on another project. Your customers will ask you back for repeat business and will be a reference for new customers.
It can be perceived that what is being endorsed here is a recipe for a never-ending project, which could not be further from the truth. The goal of the process is to guide the airplane that is your project to a scheduled landing in one piece, entirely intact, and as close to as what the customer wanted. The fact that some details might be missing from the final product will have been a decision to which your customer has already agreed.
A high turnover rate among workers is costly for employers due to the expenses associated with recruiting new employees and training them. Productivity also suffers because it takes new workers time to get up to speed and match the output of experienced employees. That's why it's worthwhile for employers to focus on ways to retain workers before they decide to look for new employees.
Offering employees perks that help them achieve a better work-life balance can significantly increase the desire to keep their jobs. For instance, allowing employees to occasionally work from home helps them if they need to care for a sick child. Benefit packages that include health and life insurance and retirement plans keeps employees on the job as well. Yet such plans need to be useful to employees to have an impact on retention. Offering a health plan with numerous exclusions that causes employees to pay for most of their healthcare expenses out of pocket won't help retain them.
Focus on employee development and advancement to prevent workers from feeling trapped in dead-end jobs, which usually leads to a high turnover rate. Educational opportunities offered by employers and on-the-job training not only helps workers learn new skills to advance their careers, but also helps to improve job performance. Let employees know you're willing to promote from within when possible. Employees often leave to pursue better job opportunities when they don't see a chance for advancement within the company structure.
Offer Financial Rewards
Financial rewards can help retain employees and boost their job performance. Create a bonus system that rewards workers who reach a specified job-performance goal. This retention method likely won't be effective if the bonus offered is a paltry amount of money. It also won't be effective if it's not an equal-opportunity bonus from which employees at all levels can benefit. For example, subordinates usually won't be motivated to step up their job performance so that their manager can get a bonus.
Employee-retention tips from the Wall Street Journal suggest that employers establish open-communication policies with employees. That includes hosting company meetings where workers can ask questions about the company's future and share ideas on improving performance or working conditions. Many employers conduct exit interviews with employees who resign to determine why they're quitting, but the Journal suggests engaging in "stay interviews" as well. Such interviews should be conducted with longtime employees to determine why they've stayed with the company and what they see as deal-breakers that would cause them to leave.
Journal of Employee Communication Management, published by Lawrence Ragan Communications, Inc., covers issues facing employee communication managers. Each issue features articles on creating an open and supportive communication climate where employees are comfortable voicing their opinions, making employee communications a priority on management's agenda, teaching managers how to be effective communicators, integrating communications and human resources departments, rewarding employees, and more. The journal contains essays on the topic of employee communications, written by leading corporate communicators in a variety of industries.
Subscribers to Journal of Employee Communication Management are corporate communication leaders and public relations professionals who are responsible for employee communications, including communicating employees roles and the organization's goals. They subscribe to the journal because it teaches them how to be strategic and operational in terms of employee communications. These individuals have backgrounds in a variety of fields including public relations, business, education, and journalism, but have devoted their careers to corporate communications. They will be receptive to a variety of communications and employee-related offers.
Last edited by pratikkk; April 13th, 2011 at 12:08 PM..