The Key to Employee Retention

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Employee Retention FinalA company’s culture is defined by those who work there. Employees bring depth and create a positive atmosphere with winning products and services. The companies that attract and retain the best employees stand the best chance of succeeding in overcoming its challenges and achieving the highest levels of performance.

If you want to improve your company culture, time and considerable effort are the only means to alter it. To make a true interest in making a positive change to your company culture, figure out why there’s a gap between what is and what should be.

There are numerous strategies for creating effective employee retention programs. Review priorities, cost/benefit options, resources, and fit to determine what possible opportunities drive the biggest value in exchange for allegiance and loyalty.

The Manager-Employee Connection

I’ve spoken with several hiring managers on the topic of best retention strategies, and a consistent theme is having a solid connection with people. Hiring managers play a critical role in insuring expectations are reasonable, adequate support/guidance is in place, and individuals are being heard.

Managers who excel in connecting with employees have strong soft-skills. They are aware of individual’s personal hobbies/interests/family (what makes them tick). When you get to know people on a personal level, you establish a bond that goes beyond being an associate. You establish a camaraderie akin to a best-friend status; you know what’s in the best interest of that person and are willing to go the distance. Positive relationships between management and employees are based on respect, trust, consideration, and caring.

A good example of a leader who fostered strong ties with his employees was exemplified in the recent Market Basket Company strike. Employees were willing to walk off the job in support of their ousted CEO Arthur T Demoulas.

There were many 20 to 30 year veterans willing to sacrifice their careers to show their support for him because they felt he cared about them: “Many store employees say that Demoulas cared about their welfare, protected their pay and benefits and kept prices low at the chain’s stores.”

That’s loyalty!

Employee Incentives

Besides insurance, vacation, holiday and sickness compensation, there is a plethora of incentive options available. Gym membership discounts, health + wellness programs, educational reimbursement, car allowance, and sabbatical time off. Company recognition programs (safety, attendance, suggestion box, personal achievement) are also on the short list.

Since most companies don’t have the deep pockets of Google or Microsoft to offer limitless options, fit is important ingredient. One company that almost always puts them on the map as a “best company to work for” category is They have a younger workforce (the vast majority GenX) and they cater to an athletic, social responsible environment.

For more ideas to meet your budget and fit your company, check out this article from Forbes on “America’s Top Companies For Compensation And Benefits.”

The Mistake to Avoid

Micro managing is a common mistake that many managers fall into; it breeds a feeling for mistrust between the two parties. Accountability can be accomplished with quick a check-in to insure expectations and delivery are in alignment. What’s optimal is a model where there’s minimal obstruction for control. This is provided the goals and objectives are accomplished efficiently.

Bottom Line

Empowering teammates establishes trust and builds relationships. Mutual respect is a given. Key employees are typically self-dependent/self-driven. They are the catalysts in driving departments to their peak performance. When leaders recognize and value successful employees, the company reaps great rewards. In doing so, all teammates will strive to work even harder to go that extra mile.

A positive culture is the centerpiece for businesses to attract engaged employees. If your employees feel valued and know their managers have their best interests at heart, you will likely attract other key people to your culture.

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Vantage Point is led by Jay Casavant, who founded the firm in 2007 after being in the high tech recruitment business for 22 years.

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