Every business owner knows the importance of having the right people on staff. There's a reason why so much time, effort, and money go into the hiring process.
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But sometimes, human resources departments get so focused on scouting out new talent that they neglect another critical component of company success: employee retention.
One of the easiest ways to reduce your company's hiring demand and avoid overworking your HR representatives is to limit employee churn as much as possible. Follow these three tips to do just that.
1. Make Employee Policies Understandable
The bigger a company gets, the more it worries about protecting itself from litigation. It's difficult to fault any business for thinking this way and acting appropriately.
Companies hire seasoned attorneys to draft work agreements, PTO policies, acceptable use of company assets agreements, and more. But it's all too common for companies to forget that the employees reading these forms aren't lawyers themselves.
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Too much legalese can confuse employees about what exactly they have agreed to or are entitled to. And when a problem arises due to miscommunication, an unhappy employee can become a toxic employee.
Clear and understandable policies are a simple and very effective way to stop this potential problem from occurring, thus reducing the likelihood that you chase a good employee out the door.
2. Listen to Your Employees
If you're hiring skilled and intelligent people, it's a giant mistake to ignore their feedback. They are not only on the front lines and therefore more knowledgeable about the company's day-to-day operations than their higher-ups are, but they are also the first people to be aware when things are not running smoothly.
For small offices, employee feedback might be easier to obtain than it is for large companies or organizations with distributed teams. Luckily, there are software solutions to help collect, organize, and analyze employee feedback while keeping it all anonymous.
One option is Vetter, an online employee suggestion box that's simple to use and offers tons of options. It allows for executives, management, and employees to all take part in making suggestions on how to improve the company.
An alternative to instituting a virtual suggestion box is to create an extremely clear path for two-way communication. In many companies, most information starts at the executive level and trickles downward, rarely flowing in the other direction.
What you should do is make it a policy to have department heads meet with their subordinates at least once a month, whether face-to-face or virtually. Likewise, managers should meet with department heads, directors should meet with managers, and so on. That way, information can flow up and down the corporate ladder with ease. These meetings should be a priority, not something that frequently gets postponed or canceled.
3. Stop Being Stingy
This should come as a no-brainer, but there are still many businesses that try to nickel-and-dime their employees. It's understandable and important to get a high ROI from payroll, but the simple fact is you cannot neglect fairly compensating those who are doing the work.
Many businesses from the old guard used to have (or still have!) internal policies forbidding employees to discuss their financial compensation with one another. This, of course, didn't stop these conversations from going on behind closed doors, but it did make it difficult to use this information during salary negotiations and performance reviews.
What these policies fail to do, however, is keep good employees from jumping ship.
With a rise in workplace transparency thanks to services like Glassdoor, employees have more information about the internal operations and policies of companies than ever before. This lets employees not only compare their compensation to that of their colleagues, but also compare their employer's salary practices to similar companies.
Keep your talent in place by paying them well. Doing so might even cost your business less over the long haul.
Hiring and training new employees is expensive. Constantly burdening HR with replacing talent due to churn takes away from the time they could spend seeking out the best and the brightest. Taking a proactive approach to employee retention will not only help make your human resources department stronger, but it will also energize your entire company.
Tim Backes is a writer, marketer, and career counselor.