There’s no doubt that today’s businesses that want to see exponential growth and success rely on finding the right people that will get the job done. For a very long time, the focal point has been to find and hire people. Recruitment is, more often than not, considered to be the solution. Organizations have usually not spent the same efforts in keeping team players. With a fast paced market and rapidly changing circumstances, this way of working needs to adjust.

Key people have a lot of opportunities today to move up, which means that their current employer needs to work on retention as well. Finding a harmony between recruitment and retention is work that needs to be done, yet many organizations are not doing the work to achieve this result.

More intentionally than ever before, organizations who want to ensure a higher retention rate, need to do the work. Explore how their internal strategies affect employee loyalty and what engagement methods works. To ensure long-lasting relationships and continued business growth, there’s an enormous cost tied into people leaving as well, which is a part of the number crunching many organizations fail but need to do.

This is not an HR- question. This is an upper management area and needs the focus and the investment it deserves. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to scale business growth, profitability, and significantly lower turnover rates.

Retention as a business strategy
Talent retention can’t be a reactive effort. Employees are very well aware if this work is genuine, rooted in the center of the business and the organizational culture- or not.

Talking about how important people are without showing up for them rarely translates into high performing team members. On the contrary, this is a costly and inefficient way to lead employees. These people are meeting your clients and for them, your employees are how they view your brand. They build their network and creates trust and long-term relationships with your clients. A study done by Bain & Company highlights the effects on client retention: retaining 5% of customers annually can generate up to 125% more profit for your business.
So if your key players leave- they are also bringing the network they’ve created with them. There are so many examples of how this works. If there’s a good relationship between a client and a business, more often than not, that loyalty is tied to the actual person they are doing business with rather than a brand. Your brand.
Also, customer acquisition is a costly process as well. Getting a new customer is about seven times more costly than to keep an existing one.
So what needs to be done? Below, I will give you a few ideas to consider.

  1. What people are contributing: monitoring what an employee brings to the company, during their time, is an essential part of the concept called employee Lifetime Value (ELTV). This can be a part of evaluating your employees and figure out which are your key players- and which are not. The concept also highlights how improved processes regarding onboarding, hiring, management and development along with management and culture can increase the profitability. It’s also and area to consider regarding investing in key team members.

Understanding what motivates individuals:
There needs to be room for both leadership and employee development. Have engaging your interactions with existing and potential employees, with consistent, interesting and adjusted communication to their situation, drives up productivity and profitability. This might sound like an overwhelming task, but today there are several solutions that will decipher some of this information for you. The programs identify and analyze the relation between engagement and retention. How and why people are engaged with what they do, how does that translate into the business metrics and what you can improve to retain them.
This will also help in supporting the line managers and senior leadership to understand where people are at and how people can work together better.
This perspective allows businesses to anticipate team members behavior pattern and needs before they do themselves, creating deeper engagement. Implementing a more proactive approach also establishes a new level of trust. For example: calling a staff meeting. Through sharing the agenda in advance and making sure the usual questions are answered, means the staff is kept up to date, it creates fewer repetitive interactions- time that can be used to other, more forward-looking activities.

Interaction:  Keeping key team members will be more and more dependent on five things: communication, feedback, leadership,  training and personal development. So as a leader today, your ability to build relationships and engage with team members in personalized, relevant ways at throughout the employment will help them stay engaged and connected.

Technology platform: To enable a business to leverage what it knows about the employees, there’s a broad variety of tools that can be utilized for this purpose. Ranging from social media solutions to old school surveys, there’s help to get and ways to engage team members.

The architecture of retention: Ensuring the right level of support is there, juggling business and personal needs and priorities along with building a world class team mean intense work. To get a system to keep the right players on board, a real, hands-on strategy along with the engaged support from senior management which needs to provide that the necessary people and financial resources are allocated. There’s no silver bullet, nor a quick fix. But since the cost of not doing this work creates staggering numbers.
So let’s look at the numbers involved.

The overlooked cost of recruitment
There are a variety of estimates out there, calculating the cost of recruitment. Where it’s not about just not about the time and effort from the candidate and the company, nor including the onboarding process or getting started in a new job.
That cost, which is often overlooked, is also about replacing the key team members that are leaving. What that really means. Finding that similar person to fill a spot is, more often than not, a very costly and time-consuming activity. Not even starting to consider what the worth is of that key team members network, elevated skills, and influence that their decision to leave will cost the company.

Change the game

Employees who are unhappy and/ or in search of a better job often finds it quite easy today to switch companies. If they are looking and feels as though the grass is greener, the rewards offered by other companies for changing jobs may be sweeter than staying with you. This has created the perfect storm, where strong offers are used to attract key employees, but this focus on wanting something new more often has taken the place of loyalty both for employees and customers. This makes it challenging to work on retention- without a plan.

Making sure to know your industry and the models other employers are using to find and keep the right hires. Re-read for instance Blue Ocean like industry leaders still do and take a few steps back to evaluate how you and others are doing. Finding out how, and not just what makes people feel seen and appreciated. Predict the needs and behavior to show commitment.

When people aren’t seen or feel like their voice isn’t being heard, they usually complain. The major part though, will not come to you directly to complain. They will talk with their friends. When leaving, an exit interview will not necessarily provide you as an employer with the answers you are looking for, as to why they’re actually leaving. People don’t like to burn bridges, but often, they have more reasons than one to leave. While working on a communicative environment, you want to ensure that people who leave have a positive view of the organization and bring that impression with them as they leave. This is similar to clients as well.

Positive employees increases the likeability of your brand

People who really like working in your organization are your best ambassadors. Clients respond better to this, along with that, employee loyalty goes up. And it’s about being genuine in the interaction. Focus on getting to know the real people, instead of a more traditional, transactional view of the staff. People who feel seen will do a better job and love to work for you and with their coworkers. When people feel like they truly can be who they are, they perform better and are more helpful. T- shaped people, to use a product development software term, are people who are really good within a niche and also possess good knowledge of other areas. And work really good with others. Groups with this team setting are usually among the most highly effective teams. Letting people be involved and being transparent will help in getting them there. Since people support what they create, they become more likely to stay.