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Move now, act first! Why you must make the first move in your employee retention strategy

Move now, act first! Why you must make the first move in your employee retention strategy

In recent discussions with three different small business owners across various industries, a common and pressing theme emerged...

The intense battle for talent retention has never been greater. 

First, these entrepreneurs deserve recognition for their forward-thinking approach. They are not merely wrestling to attract new candidates; their primary focus is on retaining their existing, valuable employees.

We live in an unprecedented time where employees, from executives to front-liners, possess an array of options. This reality was evident in the concerns shared by these business leaders. They spoke of Uber, the gig-work options, or just the malaise that employees have towards the "9-5."  The traditional model of employee loyalty based on compensation is fading, giving way to a new paradigm centered around culture, work-life balance, and proactive engagement.  

They understood that the labor market has changed...and perhaps forever, and if they don't adapt - they will flounder.

Furthermore, these leaders have recognized a critical truth: inaction or delayed action in implementing tactics and strategies to positively impact employee retention can be costly. If they don't act first, they could lose a key employee, or employees, before they have the chance to address the what could be the cause of possible attrition.  Waiting on employees to share their dissatisfaction with their work environment or desire for better compensation or benefits is often results in being too late. Such scenarios can lead to a domino effect, where one departure may trigger others. The choice to be reactive, rather than proactive, can force employers into a more costly, defensive position.  

These scenarios often leave entrepreneurs with their head spinning, asking what could I have done differently, and now asking what is it going to cost me in order to stop the run for the door!

Three Key Areas for Proactive Engagement...and simple questions to ask yourself.

Total Compensation:

In a tale as old as time, cash is king.  Compensation still remains the number one consideration in determining will they stay with their current employer. However, total compensation extends beyond the simplicity of a salary; it encompasses a comprehensive package that includes various financial and non-financial benefits.

  • Is my total compensation package in line with my competitors? 
  • If a competitors called my most productive employee, would they listen to their offer? 

Be sure to know where your compensation package sits in your employees eyes, and what threats exist around it that could cause an employee to leave. Total compensation is a multifaceted concept that goes far beyond just a paycheck. It's about creating a package that caters to the diverse needs of your employees, ensuring their financial well-being, professional growth, and personal satisfaction. 

Cultivating Culture:

In the rapidly evolving business landscape, cultivating a positive and engaging company culture has become more than just a desirable attribute – it's a crucial pillar of talent retention; and central to success.

  • Is my company's culture one that my employees and I are proud of? 
  • Does our mission align with every role in our company?

The tone of a company's culture is set at the top. Leadership must not only define and communicate the desired culture but also embody it in their actions and decisions.  Companies that take an intentional focus to their culture can create one much greater at keeping employees, than one that happens haphazardly.  

Work-Life Balance:

Fostering work-life balance is as a central element in talent retention. In today's dynamic work environment, achieving a healthy balance between professional and personal life is not just a perk but a necessity for sustainable success.

  • How well do our working arrangements (office, remote, and hybrid) cater to the needs and preferences of our employees in creating a balanced work environment?
  • How does our PTO policies compare to our competition or industry standards?

Well-balanced employees are more engaged, productive, and loyal. By implementing strategies to create work-life balance within your organization, you are not just enhancing your employees' quality of life but are also setting your businesses up for long-term success. Moving quick to create this is a key differentiator in today’s competitive talent market.


The Real Impact, and Dollars, of Being Proactive

By taking a proactive action, employers can have a greater influence for what employees value, rather than the more costly and less effective approach of reacting to their demands. This approach can save considerable costs, estimated between 20 to 30%, compared to reactive strategies. Additionally, the employer gets the "mileage" of forethought in the needs of their employees.  This method avoids high turnover expenses, fosters a positive work culture, and ensures effective financial planning, leading to enhanced employee loyalty, productivity, and long-term business success.

(Quick) Case in Point: Introducing Employee Benefits

One of the business owners I spoke with decided to introduce a healthcare plan within their budget. This action, taken before any employee request, not only demonstrated their care for the team but also positioned them as an employer who values long-term employee welfare. This pre-emptive move significantly enhances employee loyalty and reduces the likelihood of them exploring other options.

In Conclusion: Assess, Act, and Retain

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