Importance Of Employee Retention And Motivation Management Essay
For employers, a challenge to deal with, in order to improve retention, are the common reasons for which the employees tend to migrate towards better positions. Here are some of them:
Expectations not met: Expectations play a large part in determining whether an employee is satisfied or dissatisfied with the current state of affairs. On joining the firm the individual will have a range of expectations covering areas such as the style of management, the working hours, holidays, pay, and bonus and so on. It is not unusual for employees to leave within the first six months when they discover that things aren’t quite as they imagined they would be. Their expectations may have been unrealistic from day one, but each departure is yet more disruption, harming productivity, adding extra unnecessary costs and making it more difficult to reach goals for sales, revenue and profitability. Few firms seem to appreciate the importance of expectations. They don’t ask candidates about their expectations, giving them the opportunity to select someone who is unlikely to be disappointed, and therefore, more likely to stay.
Mismatch between the person and the role
Employees, who find themselves in roles that do not suit their individual strengths, tend not to stay around that long. A productive employee gets promoted into a position that requires skills that they do not possess a role that exposes their weaknesses, and as a result, a role that they do not enjoy. Faced with the prospect of having to spend many months, perhaps years, in a job that is a struggle, a job that they find difficult, a job that is a mismatch for their specific talents, most of them choose to leave the company and go.
Mismatch between person and the culture of the firm
It is not so much that there is a single ideal culture, more that cultures vary, and as many departures show, not everyone is likely to be ideally suited to culture of your firm.
Some workplaces are high pressured, fast paced, dynamic, ideal for people who thrive on adrenaline, who enjoy this tempo, constantly being on the go. Others are caring, emotional, long discussions, shared views. Endless dialogue before action is taken. Everyone’s opinion counts. Put an employee in a culture that suits their temperament and they feel at home. It is an environment in which they can function to the best of their abilities. But put an employee in a firm whose culture does suit their personality, their style or their approach and it rarely works. They don’t settle, they under-perform, they miss the feel of previous employers where they were able to contribute more. They leave.
Insufficient opportunities for growth and advancement
Employees want to make progress, to get ahead. They want to make that next step up the career ladder. They think about where they would like to be in 5 years time, in 10 years time.
Their loyalty is largely to themselves, to make the most out of the natural talents, the skills, and determination they possess. They recognize the importance of building new skills, refining current ones, getting new experiences. If the opportunities aren’t available with their current employer, they will find look elsewhere.
Insufficient recognition or appreciation
The Employees that don’t receive adequate recognition for their contribution, that get little appreciation for their efforts, start to wonder why they bother. And it doesn’t take much to tempt them away. Employees that did not feel valued, that felt that their efforts, their hard work, was not appreciated, that their achievements, their contribution to the success of the business, was not recognised. Employees want to feel valued; as though their role is important, as though the business needs them. They want someone to say thank you. Thanks for that piece of work, thanks for helping out in a crisis, thanks for dealing with that problem.
Problems with direct manager
The state of the relationship between an employee and their direct manager goes a long way towards determining whether they stay or leave. Some employees stay far longer than might otherwise be expected because of the relationship they have with their supervisor. Others leave jobs in the first few months because they sense their manager is not someone that brings the best out of them. And they need to get away. Because the daily challenge of dealing with someone they dislike, someone that lacks basic people skills, is just too much to bear. Poor relationships between employees and their managers are one of the most common reasons for employee turnover.
Dissatisfaction with pay
Not receiving a fair salary, a fair pay rise, a fair bonus. Dissatisfaction with financial rewards is complex. Much of the dissatisfaction is due to comparisons. A previously adequate salary starts to feel insufficient when you have just learnt that a new arrival is receiving a higher wage for performing a similar role. Salaries rarely remain a secret. The information leaks out. If it isn’t fair, if it isn’t equitable, if the procedure for determining pay settlements is tainted, employees become dissatisfied. And in time many of them leave.
The stress of work, the stress from working long hours, and the stress related to pressure from above; employees can take only so much. Stress drives employees into the arms of alternative employers. They simply want to get away from the workplace, from the people involved, from the firm. A stressful workplace is rarely a productive one. Attrition is high, people don’t matter; there will always be someone else to fill the vacancy. And in time they too will probably leave for much the same reasons. Stressful work environments tend to be high turnover environments. If there is an alternative, people take it.
Lack of work life balance
Employees have responsibilities to their employer, to their families, to their friends. There are times when the demands of work require extra hours, staying late to get things finished, working during weekends to meet deadlines. For some employees the demands of work are no longer compatible with the needs of their family, the needs that exist beyond the workplace. Perhaps they coped better when they were younger, before they got married, before they had a family. But now the arrangement just isn’t practical. They need a better balance. They need to have time for themselves. Time to take care of loved ones. Free time not devoted to work.
Loss of confidence in the firm, particularly leadership
Confidence matters. Companies go bust; you just need to read the papers, watch the news, to realize the risk involved. When employees lose confidence in the firm’s leadership they head towards the exit door. They know that confidence matters, that seemingly invincible companies can collapse in days, if not hours. They don’t want to be left without a job, should the company go under, or be taken over.
Other factors for retention strategy’s that might be identified as a challenge are a robust economy, shift in how people view their careers, changes in the unspoken “contract” between employer and employee, corporate cocooning, a new generation of workers and changes in social mores.
Employee Retention Strategies helps organizations provide effective employee communication to improve commitment and enhance workforce support for key corporate initiatives. Some of those are:
Retention Focused Recruitment:
Recruitment and retention are interlinked. Some departures are almost inevitable from day one. Make sure you select the right person in the first place.
‘ Realistic job preview – To avoid new recruits leaving during the first few weeks when they discover the job is somewhat different to what they had expected, provide a realistic job preview.
‘ Sharing expectations at interview ‘ Expectations regarding the pay policy, willingness to work long hours, ability to work effectively in teams, need to conform to the firm’s culture, willingness to travel and the candidate’s expectations regarding career advancement, expected rate of rise in salary, preferred management style
‘ Person – culture fit – It is important that employees share similar values and are able to function within the cultural environment of the firm. A fair proportion of early departures are employees that were never likely to be able to perform to an appropriate level within the firm, due to having values that are incongruent with those of the firm.
‘ Person/skills – job fit – Think carefully about the skills needed to do the job well.
Study your best performers and determine their competencies. A good start to select competencies is to identify talents, knowledge, self-management traits and motivations.
‘ Referrals – new recruits that were referred by current employees tend to stay longer. They have the advantage of inside information and so are less likely to find the job or role contains unpleasant surprises. Current employees are unlikely to want to jeopardise their own standing by referring friends who are just not appropriate for the work involved.
‘ Including team members in the recruitment process – For roles that a largely team based, or managerial, it is worth taking into consideration the opinions of those who will have daily contact with the post holder. It is a fact of life that many hiring failures come down to clashes of personality when interviewing prospective managers, consider the notion of upward feedback.
‘ Promote rather than hire – Internal promotions send a signal to employees that they too may get the chance of career advancement, if they remain with the firm. Conversely, if strong internal candidates are not selected, it may look like the best option is to leave, if you want to get ahead. By doing that as a company you save money on recruitment, save money on signing bonuses. It is signal to employees where an employee needs to know the culture of the company in order to fit within.
Retention Focused Orientation:
Effective orientation plays a vital role in the longer term retention of employees, yet many orientation programs are little more than induction. The purpose of orientation is to get the new recruit settled into position as quickly as possible.
‘ First impressions count.
‘ The time window is very small.
‘ Not having the new employee’s equipment in place
‘ Ignoring them or leaving them to read manuals
‘ Long lectures, too much information, endless form filling
‘ Not involving the new recruit’s manager and department
‘ Monologue rather than dialogue
‘ Make sure equipment is in position
‘ Show them how they can achieve
‘ Explain what is expected of them
‘ Explain how to add value
‘ Explain how to be a team player
‘ Help them to feel at home
On their first day:
‘ Introduce the new employee to team members
‘ Give them a brief tour of the workplace, showing them where things are kept
‘ Explain the importance of their role in the success of the business
‘ Introduce them to their buddy
‘ Brief them on the company’s business strategy, objectives, values etc
‘ Ask the employee to promise that they will come and talk to you before deciding to leave the company
During the first week:
‘ Ask them how they like to be managed, motivated
‘ Give appropriate assignments
‘ Get them started so they can make a real contribution
‘ Establish medium term goals including both personal and career development goals
‘ Detail available resources, schedule any training, arrange a mentor if appropriate
‘ Arrange short meetings to check how they are doing
‘ Get colleagues to meet them to explain how best to communicate
‘ Invite them to the next social event
Many departures arise from frustrations due to the day to day experience of the role, rather than the issues relating to the firm or to individuals.
‘ Move them internally first – If someone is unhappy in their role, see if you can find them a new position internally, before they opt to leave.
‘ Match talents to the requirements of the role – Match talents to the requirements of the role. Get employees to use their natural strengths, their intrinsic talents. If you want people to stay, get them to use their natural talents. Most people enjoy doing what they are good at, they like being able to excel.
‘ Increase job variety – Sometimes the lack of variety involved in their role can frustrate employees to the extent that they decide to leave. Some people like routine, others like change. Again, a little imagination, a small adjustment, can be the difference between losing them and retaining them.
‘ Tailor roles to suit individuals – If you have individuals you wish to retain, it makes sense to tailor roles to suit them. This way they get far more value from work and it is more difficult for other firms to attract them away. Customizing roles to suit individuals can be a winning retention strategy for some firms.
‘ Enriching jobs – Enriched jobs have long been shown to offer extra value to many employees
The keys to job enrichment: Skill variety, Task completion, Task significance,
Autonomy and Feedback
‘ Intrinsic motivation – Understand why people want to work in the first place
‘ Passions – Individuals that get to focus on their passions are far more difficult to tempt away. Connecting to passions is a great way can be a great way to improve retention. Most alternatives will start to look far less attractive once an employee gets the chance to focus on something they are passionate about.
‘ Meaningful work – Some employees find it difficult to connect their day to day work with the end product. In a sense their work appears to lack meaning. By explaining how their job fits into the big picture, you can create meaning, thus increasing their motivation, and perhaps their willingness to stay.
Retention focused managing:
People join companies, but leave managers. It’s one of those common sayings that are mentioned in almost every book on retention.
‘ Select managers with good people skills – The selection of managers is crucial. Don’t promote individuals into people management roles when their strengths lie elsewhere.
‘ Use incentives, recognition and support to encourage retention ‘ Use incentives, recognition and additional support to encourage managers to adopt behaviour that reduces the push factor
‘ Ask managers to help you – Asking managers to help you. Sometimes the smart tactic is to explain the problem and ask managers to help.
‘ Do reassign poor people managers so they can use their strengths ‘ Do reassign poor people managers into areas where they can use their strengths. It is far easier to build on natural strengths than to fix weaknesses.
‘ Pay careful attention to the way you assess and reward managers – If you assess managers on the numbers that is what they are likely to focus on. If their pay is determined solely by results, don’t expect them to pay much attention to retaining employees.
Think about ways in which their assessment, and perhaps even reward, can be designed to encourage behaviour that will assist retention. Focus on creating value for employees.
‘ Consider upwards feedback – To encourage managers to pay attention to employee development, get employees to provide upwards feedback.
‘ Explain why their work is significant
‘ Work life balance guide
‘ Performance agreement
‘ Development plan
‘ Goal setting
‘ Provide the resources they need to the job
‘ Delegation, autonomy and initiative
‘ Encourage ideas
‘ Provide challenging work
Retention Focused Career Support:
The new psychological contract between employee and employer appears to be largely focused around career development.
‘ Coaching and mentoring
‘ Career development interviews – Annual career development interviews are a sensible retention measure. Examine a wide range of options from new work assignments, job enrichment, special projects, additional responsibilities, job sculpting, training, to internal and external moves. Make sure the focus is on what is best for the employee.
‘ Development plans
‘ Qualifications: professional and educational
‘ Upwards feedback on manager as employee developer
‘ Internal job banks – Create new options so that employees can move internally, rather than having to leave the firm, not necessarily at the managerial level.
‘ Alternative career paths
‘ Filling unmet needs
Build a culture that promotes learning.
Not something that can be achieved overnight, but a few low cost strategies that encourage learning can have an impact in situations where employees are unhappy about the amount of career support they are getting.
If opportunities for genuine career advancement are limited, the best you can hope for is to extend the length of time an employee stays. Though this sounds a strange way to improve retention, it can work as employees are willing to stay while they are developing new skills that will benefit their career in the longer term.
Work ‘ Life Balance Measures:
Offering a range of flexible working options can have a dramatic impact on employee turnover in certain circumstances. Giving employees more control over the hours they work can be the difference between retaining them and having to spend a fortune trying to find a replacement. Try to move towards focusing on productivity and results rather than hours worked.
‘ Part time work
‘ Job sharing
‘ Compressed workweek
‘ Working from home
Retention Focused Reward:
Profit sharing, or gain sharing, appears to be the most effective reward strategy from a retention perspective. Of all the various reward strategies to have been implemented over recent years, profit sharing appears to be the most effective from a retention perspective.
Recent years have seen firms place emphasis on communicating their message to employees. Communication in the opposite direction is rarely as effective. It is possible to improve lines of communication should employee insight reveal this to be an issue that needs to be addressed. Some firms use schemes that encourage employees to contribute their ideas on potential improvements. Others appoint people in roles specifically designed to listen in to employee opinion. Annual employee attitude surveys are a common occurrence in many sectors. While a few firms choose to conduct pulse surveys to measure the temperature on certain key issues. Conducting retention focused interviews every six months is a sensible way to keep track of the current state of play.
Intelligent employers always realise the importance of retaining the best talent. Retaining talent has never been so important; however, things have changed in recent years. In this professional market, there is no death of opportunities for the best in the business, or even for the second or the third best. Retention of key employees and treating attrition troubles has never been so important to companies. It is a fact that, retention of key employees is critical to the long-term health and success of any organisation.
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