How to retain employees in a hot job market

The U.S. labor market has added tens of millions of jobs over the past few years. But did you know that millions of Americans quit their job every month?

It costs nearly 20 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace an employee who defects. The costs of reviewing applications, processing candidates, conducting interviews, training and purchasing equipment for new hires aren’t only monetary — they also cost time and lost productivity.

Given the high cost of losing an employee, not to mention today’s low unemployment rate, retention should be a top priority for every organization.

Developing a retention strategy, ironically enough, begins at the exit interview. Those last conversations with an employee moving on are a great way to analyze why employees are leaving. Questions should be related to the employees’ time with the company, what they enjoyed, what they disliked and what prompted their resignation.

So, if you discover that the main catalyst for employee turnover is a lack of upward mobility, think about how to change that. It could mean creating new roles or, if such roles already exist, developing a clear guide for advancing career paths at your organization.

You can also consider creating a survey to gauge employee satisfaction with the company. Include questions about what people like and what they do not like about their job.

There is no hard and fast rule for successful employee retention. Creating a retention strategy for your organization requires you to analyze both your company and its industry.

We know that healthcare and retirement benefits are an important reason to stay with an employer. Flexible schedules, catered lunches, work-from-home days, employee wellness programs, and a greater number of paid company holidays are increasingly coming into play as ways to ensure that employees remain happy and productive, find a good work-life balance, and ultimately stay with the organization for a longer period.

Just remember: whatever environment you create sets the tone for any employee’s tenure with you and immediately helps reinforce that joining your company was a smart choice. Or not.

About the Author

Lon Matejczyk

Lon is the former publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal and Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group.He has served in leadership roles at various newspapers in Iowa, Florida and Wisconsin. Lon received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and attended the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Earlier in his career, Lon spent several years as a sea captain and held a 100-ton Coast Guard license. Lon is a former rugby player, referee and administrator and now coaches under 13 year old kids. Lon has served on the boards of numerous community and business organizations including Colorado Springs Leadership Institute, Peak Venture Group, CS Quality of Life Indicators Business Index Committee, Junior Achievement and is a member of The Colorado Thirty Group.  Lon was given the “Making the Pikes Peak region a better place to live work and play” award by the CS Chamber of Commerce, was the VFW Post 1’s business citizen of the year.