Retain and cultivate your crew

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Less than one-third of Americans are engaged in their jobs in any given year, which usually results in low productivity and high employee turnover. As the costs of attrition and recruitment soar across our industry, we must keep in mind that an employee’s first year at a company is highly predictive of their long-term goals.

Taking this information into consideration, along with the industry’s ongoing struggle to secure sufficient H-2B visas to keep businesses afloat, retaining the current workforce remains a top priority for business owners nationwide.

Retention starts at the time of hiring and requires constant communication, evaluation and implementation of solutions throughout an employee’s time with the company.

To improve retention, there are several components that must be considered, all of which must be applied through a holistic approach so that the team can grow both collectively and individually to promote efficacy and employee satisfaction.

Hire smart.

Hire the right people for the job off the bat. When recruiting, try not to guide yourself by the candidate’s personality. Instead, focus on their preparation, job skills, enthusiasm and proven results. This will ensure a shorter learning curve and help to mitigate turnover, which can later cost more down the road.

Train your managers.

Too often there is a disconnect within the hierarchy of the organization. Make sure managers are trained well and are in tune with your organization’s mission and goals.

Managers account for at least 70 percent of variance in employee engagement scores. A good manager dedicates time to coaching their team.

Maintaining harmony in the ranks involves making sure each employee, from the top down, understands their role and can provide leadership and support as part of a team.

understand your employees.

Ensure that employees are working under appropriate conditions. Always keep in mind that rules have to be followed in order to meet certain standards.

However, overly rigid rules can cause the opposite effect by driving good employees away. Foster an amiable, non-accusatory environment. Learn more about your employees’ needs and get to know what motivates them.

Perform stay interviews.

Don’t wait until an employee has one foot out the door to learn which aspects of your business they find appealing and how they’d like to grow. Employees who feel invested are more engaged and happier in their workplace environment.

Show balance.

Be flexible with schedules, taking into account that many employees have families. Be aware of the amount of stress your employees have and, if necessary, provide them with resources to manage it. Show employees that you care about each of them personally, not just the immediate results they are producing at the company.

Don’t burn bridges.

Whether you like it or not, employees may leave your company for another opportunity. Those employees should still be considered valuable assets and how you make them feel at their time of departure will affect your retention rate. Keeping your door open and treating them with respect will encourage them to speak positively about your company, which can help attract future candidates and maintain the company’s reputation.

Measure retention.

Finally, don’t forget to measure retention rates. You will never know how much you have improved or which areas you need to work on if you don’t keep track of employment activity.

The basic formula for measuring employee retention consists of dividing the number of employees leaving the company by the total number of employees over the same time period. Multiplying the result by 100 will express your rate as a percentage.

Juan Torres is founder of Next Step Solutions and president of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance

March 2017
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