Unemployment rates have fallen again. This is great for the economy and job seeker, but not so wonderful if you are struggling with staffing. Just as it is easier and cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one, it’s far better to retain great employees than to have to attract and train new ones.
Before you post your next job, I encourage you to consider:
1. Your reputation. People talk, and wise job seekers find out what a company, boss and department are like before signing on. Are you known for being fair, honest and a great place to work? If not, do what it takes to make lasting changes and repair your damaged image.
2. How your employees feel. A key factor in turnover is whether your people feel cared for and appreciated. Employees rarely leave when they feel valued and know that their contributions matter. The opposite also occurs. A study by OfficeTeam referenced by a recent Forbes article indicates that 66 percent of employees would likely quit their job if they didn’t feel appreciated. With Millennials, it jumps to 76 percent. Yikes!
3. How you treat your employees. Do you encourage and work with your people to find solutions when something goes wrong? Or do you dish out the silent treatment and punish or belittle employees? Are you approachable or do your employees hide information or keep ideas to themselves? Do you acknowledge their presence with a smile and greeting when you pass them, or do you busily walk right by? Do you thank them for their contributions or think they should be grateful to have a job? Little things mean a lot. Big things like verbal abuse, icing people out and being punitive are invitations to exit.
4. The competitiveness of your wages. While you don’t have to offer the highest pay in your market if you are unable, you certainly don’t want to be on the bottom end of the scale. Wages are tied into value, and it’s hard to keep great employees when others offer more.
Before you balk at the possibility of increasing wages, consider the cost of replacing an existing employee. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates the average replacement cost of a salaried worker to be 6 to 9 months of wages. The Center for American Progress estimates it costs 16 percent of the annual salary for high-turnover jobs earning under $30,000 annually, 20 percent for those earning between $30,000 and $50,000 a year, and up to 213 percent for highly educated executive positions. That doesn’t even take into account the frustration and burden placed upon your remaining employees.
5. How you find new employees. When looking for new employees, where are you fishing? The help wanted pages? That’s a great start. Wise businesses cast a wide net when looking for individuals who will excel in their industry. You may find your next rock star at your local 4-H, junior achievement chapter, county fair, master gardener classes, horticultural club or other programs at your career technical high school, community college or four-year institution.
Keep your eyes open for the right person at conferences. Post positions at ziprecruiter.com or hortjobs.com, utilize career services to tap into graduating students and alumni. Hire a cooperative education student. It’s a great way to test drive someone with business and technical skills as a potential employee. They’ll get to show you their stuff and also earn wages, career related experience and academic credit.
You’ll never go wrong taking care of the great employees you already have and thinking outside of the box when hiring. Not only will you find yourself having to find and train fewer new employees, but you’ll also decrease frustrations, boost loyalty and increase your impact. What could be better than that?