Your Workforce by Roger Herman

Creative Ideas for Retaining Employees

If you’re like most employers responding to opinion surveys today, finding and keeping competent workers is your major challenge. Employee turnover is costly, causing workforce instability, reduced efficiency, lower effectiveness, and negative impact on the bottom line. While everyone agrees that turnover is a problem, there seems to be a reluctance to invest resources to retain top talent. Part of this hesitancy comes from a sense that counter-turnover efforts really don’t make a difference; people leave anyway.

Ignoring employee turnover won’t make it go away. The risk of doing nothing is great. The loss of customers, supplier confidence, investor support, and employee morale can be very expensive. Can you put a value on these costs? What does it cost when you lose a valued customer because you can no longer provide the level of service, expertise, or reliability demanded in today’s competitive market?

Some business leaders are reluctant to invest very much in building retention because they fear it might be disproportionately expensive to keep people. However, an increasing number of employers are finding ways, usually inexpensive, to hold the interest—and the loyalty—of their people. As employee retention specialists for over a decade (Roger wrote the seminal book in the field, Keeping Good People, in 1990), we have collected a treasure chest of best practices. We share them with you here in hopes that you will learn and be inspired to make a difference in your organization.

In our research, we have found many companies that do some unique things to attract, optimize, and hold their valued employees. Others engage in more common practices, but do them well. Some approaches may seem a bit out of the ordinary, but that’s what helps position those companies as Employers of Choice. To be chosen by the employees you want is a worthy objective, especially when your competitors are eager to hire the same people.

Every day we learn about another company doing good things for its people. Those employers who want to earn the respect, gratitude, and loyalty of their people will continue to develop new ways to demonstrate their support of valued employees. Their initiatives will give them a competitive edge—in keeping current employees and in attracting others of the same caliber.

What will you do to build the dedication and longevity of your employees? There are no limits.

Roger Herman is owner of The Herman Group, Greensboro, NC and is a specialist in employee retention.

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