Employee retention is a critical issue for any type of business. It is an issue that businesses face daily, including small to medium-sized businesses.
When an employee decides to leave, it can result in many different problems, including that employee joining the competition. Other issues include losing valuable talent, lowered productivity, training costs, and the cost of searching for a replacement.
The bottom line is, all business owners, big or small, should focus on employee retention. Retaining talented and motivated employees helps businesses become successful. Conversely, losing talented team members can put that business in serious danger. One company that is helping business owners to increase employee retention is GoalPoint Employee Planning.
GoalPoint Employee Planning has become very successful at helping small to medium-sized businesses retain their talented employees, so we decided to chat with the company’s founder to learn more. This is what she had to say.
First of all, please introduce yourself.
Hi, thank you! Well, I’m Chris, and I’m a leadership and team-building expert. I’ve been either building strong teams, teaching businesses how to build strong teams, or teaching college students how to be great leaders and build strong teams for almost half my life.
You are the founder of GoalPoint Employee Planning. Can you explain more about your business?
Sure! We help small to medium-sized businesses hire the right people at the right time, train them to be awesome, and lead them to reach even their most ambitious business goals. Your employees are your most valuable asset, and they can make or break your entire business. We feel it’s so important to plan your workforce in such a way that they:
1) show up excited and ready to focus on business goals
2) get the support they need while working on them
3) and have the skills needed to achieve them
Think about what it was like for you when you first opened your business. Your excitement, passion, and dedication were probably second to none. You can build an entire workforce with similar passion, excitement, and commitment to YOUR business goals if you create the right environment. We help you create that environment.
In a statement, you recently said that you are advising small businesses to rethink their hiring strategy during employee shortages. Can you explain what you mean by that?
Well, it’s no secret that small businesses are struggling to find help right now. Several businesses in my area have even closed due to a lack of help. And, unfortunately, it’s happening all over. As a result, businesses must think outside the box when it comes to hiring strategies. So here are some questions to consider as you look for ways to fill your vacancies:
How does the workload of your current staff look? Are there tasks that they could stop doing or hold off doing at this time? If so, what tasks could they do in place of those? However, it’s so important NOT to overload your current staff. If you burn them out, they’ll likely leave you, and you’ll be in a worse spot than before.
Can any of these vacancies be outsourced? If so, should you hire an individual contractor to fill the gap or an agency?
What about staffing firms? Do they have anyone available to help you out?
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of “sharing” employees with other businesses. You might be able to find someone that can help you out a day or two.
At the moment, small businesses are struggling to find employees. Why is that?
There are always fluctuations in employment due to economic factors, but we see now a new problem amid many old ones. You have some industries struggling in the current economy while other sectors are booming. This is not new. What’s new is that more and more people who get laid off don’t necessarily want to go back to work right now. There is not enough incentive for them to do so. This affects the available talent for the booming industries.
Of course, people like to say that the unemployment incentives caused the massive worker shortage, but that isn’t the only problem. It’s much more complex than that.
Something else to consider is that there are often labor shortages at differing times in differing industries. There may be a surplus of workers one day and a need a few months down the road.
Also, if employers aren’t paying industry-standard wages or comfortable living wages, they will always struggle to find good workers. Current conditions command better salaries than before. The market is on the side of the employee right now. They have choices and will choose to find jobs that will pay them at least a living wage.
One of the biggest problems small businesses face is a high turnover of valued employees. So what can the small business sector do to keep hold of its experienced team?
This is such a great question. Unfortunately, businesses that have traditionally have high employee turnover anyway are probably seeing even more of an increase right now. The most important thing those small businesses can do to reduce employee turnover is remember that these are real people with real lives, real problems, and real aspirations.
Something so frustrating to hear employers say is that their employees should just be grateful to have a job. That sort of mentality creates so many other problems within their workforce.
Employers need to understand that they need their employees as much, if not more than their employees need them. Power dynamics are shifting. The workforce mentality is shifting, and those businesses that will be successful will change with it. Employees aren’t scared to leave if they don’t feel valued. Employers need to find ways to ensure their employees feel valued at work.
Why is employee retention so necessary?
I could talk for days and days about this topic. But, if you don’t want to invest all sorts of time and money into someone only for them to be stolen away by your competition, then you should stay focused on finding ways to keep your top talent.
Keeping your best employees goes so much deeper than throwing a few gift cards their way or giving them the occasional extra day off (hopefully paid!). Most of you are probably familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. It’s a visual of the five levels of human needs. If the lower-level need isn’t met, a person can’t even begin to focus on the next level of needs.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has been applied in the workplace, and it starts with your employees having their survival and security needs met. These are the bare minimum needs to keep your employee showing up at least part of the time. Trust me, though; they will jump at the chance to work anywhere else that seems even remotely better.
Gift cards and a few extra days off only motivate employees at the survival and security level of the hierarchy. Think about that for a second…if you only try to motivate your workforce with survival and security-type tactics, you’re not even encouraging them enough to stop scrolling through the help wanted ads.
You say that you can help with retention strategies to keep valued employees. Can you explain more about that?
Absolutely! It starts with us helping you take a holistic view of your workforce and determining how engaged they currently are. Then, we figure out how to take them from their current level of engagement to a highly engaged workforce. Highly engaged employees transcend from being a vital contributor to your business to becoming an inspiration to other team members. This helps them achieve their full potential with you and not your competition.
One of the many problems about losing a valued staff member is the cost behind it, which many people do not understand. Can you explain the various costs involved when a business fails to keep hold of a team member?
Numbers vary greatly from position to position and across industries. Most leaders understand the cost of recruiting, training, etc. However, they don’t often think about all of the lost productivity leading to the employee’s departure. If your employee leaves, they were most likely thinking about it for quite some time.
How long do you think they stay before they leave? Well, someone asked, and Quora answered. Some people were saying up to 6 months.
The average, somewhat happy employee is productive for less than 3 hours per entire workday. Imagine that same employee becomes unhappy. How productive do you think they are then? Now, think about how long they may work for you before they leave. If you pay them $20 per hour, you are likely paying them over $100 per day for nothing.
The real question should be, how long do you want to pay an unhappy employee? And, considering up to 85% of people are unhappy with their jobs, it’s time for employers to figure out how to make their workforce happy.
Do you believe small businesses are doing enough to keep hold of their valued employees?
I believe that small businesses are doing the best they can with what they know. But, unfortunately, it’s not always enough to keep their people. Now is not the time to rely on the old way of doing things.
I always chuckle when I go into a local restaurant and see this sign: “Attention, Employees. New incentive plan. Work or get fired”.
While it’s just a joke, leaders must understand that most people want to do good work. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to create an environment where your employees can do their best work.
How much damage can it do to a business by losing valued employees?
Quite honestly, losing a key employee forces some businesses to shut their doors. That’s why it is so important to have a solid Employee Planning Program. The entire future of your business should not be dependent on retaining one or even a few key personnel.
Would you say employee retention is all about how much a small business is willing to pay them, or are their other factors involved?
Well, as mentioned earlier, employees need to have their survival and safety needs met. But, they don’t always stay for the money or leave for more of it. People need to feel valued and that what they are doing is important. And, there is a difference between them feeling valued and important and you thinking they are.
Suppose an employer helps their employees reach the highest level of engagement on Maslow’s Workplace Hierarchy. In that case, retention is no longer an issue, even if their wages are lower than their competitors.
And what about finding new employees, how can you help with that?
As a part of our Employee Planning Program, we help businesses develop their recruiting and hiring strategies. As a result, they will know who to hire, when to hire them and how to get them.
So, what type of business should contact you for your help?
We work best with small to medium-sized business leaders who understand the importance of having a highly engaged workforce and want to develop a plan of action to make it happen.
For more information on GoalPoint Employee Planning and employee retention, please visit https://www.goalpointplanning.com/employee-retention-strategies-for-small-businesses