In nearly any industry, and with unemployment rates being their lowest in decades, it is easy to see that attracting good talent can be a challenge.
Obviously, paying your employees a good living wage is crucial if you want to retain them. However, money isn't the only reason behind an employee's decision to stay with a company or leave it.
There are much better motivators for improving employee retention than a raise.
According to research conducted by Gallup Inc., 75 percent of workers who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of their bosses and not the position itself.
When employees feel disconnected, undervalued and unappreciated, it doesn't take long for them to jump ship and look for another job that will recognize their contributions. Too often, poor management lies at the heart of an employee's departure.
Studies have shown that employees are loyal to their direct report boss before they are to their organization.
To sum it up with a widely held truth: People don't quit their jobs. They quit their bosses.
Employees yearn for good bosses. According to one study, 65 percent of workers surveyed report they would rather have a good boss to report to versus a pay raise to ensure their satisfaction with their employment. Money matters, but it is more important to have a work environment where an employee feels his or her efforts and input matter.
The biggest challenge faced by most business leaders today is fostering an environment where their people are engaged, enabled and energized. I don't mean to single out our specific industry but rather corporate businesses as an entity. Be it a shop of five to six people or a corporation of thousands.
So, what can you do as an employer to keep employees happy and wanting to continue working with you outside of throwing more money at them periodically? Here are six things to make an impact and retain your best talent:
1) Hire better leaders first
A lot is said about managers needing the capability to find "weak links" in the team and to make the changes to the team members who may be making the workplace negative. But little is said about the importance of an organization to weed out a bad manager.
For example: Is repeated turnover in one store, branch or regional division a recurring theme? Perhaps the answer needs to be a closer look at the manager in charge of that area.
2) Offer better benefits
An excellent way to show you care about your employees can be in the form of more substantial benefits. That's not to say your office needs ping pong tables and bean bags (kudos if you do), but healthy benefits or small employee perks also can be a tangible benefit to discuss during interviews that could also be a sway factor for your candidate.
Outside-the-box thinking here: My local car wash chain offers unlimited car washes for $30 per month. We are in the tire business, and a good portion of employees in the business tend to be car enthusiasts. Offering that to them could be a tangible benefit they are reminded of every week they visit the wash and it costs them nothing.
Health benefits also have value. Wellness programs and other health benefits show you care about employees and their well-being (and many are tax deductible).
3) Offer development and advancement opportunities
Money is a good thing, but not the only thing. Instead of more money, why not offer employees a chance to grow and develop professionally and to learn new things?
You invest in hiring and signing bonuses to seek top talent; do you also offer your loyal employees a chance to grow via development classes or a seminar? Happy employees are more productive and will make more impacting contributions.
4) Offer mini-rewards
Backing up for a moment to the car wash perk idea. Frequency of recognition for employee efforts matter more than the cash value. You can look to reward truly great work with flexibility of schedules, remote work days, an afternoon off or bumping a paid vacation day.
Providing lunch to your technicians or warehouse employees is great, but is this done just on a busy Saturday, or can you expand that consistently? If vendor partners bring donuts in regularly, can you offer to grab Starbucks for your team?
5) Let's make work fun
Happy workers equal more productive workers. Providing a work place that is fun and rewarding can often be rarer than you think.
Encouraging employees to bond through organized activities regularly fosters a team environment and need not be expensive.
The fact is, employees notice the vibe of the office climate more often than the leadership does. If you advertise a "work hard, play hard attitude" for your candidates, what does your "play hard" offerings look like on your end?
Keeping the atmosphere at work light-hearted and positive really makes a difference. Taking time out to have fun at work decreases stress, builds stronger bonds and enables your company to mesh the work/life experience by getting employees to see your company as more of a family than a business.
The bottom line to retaining your talent is understanding that your business culture matters far more than money to your workers. Especially to the ever-sought-after Millennial workers.
What matters more is for your employees to have a sense of purpose, a culture where they feel appreciated, work/life balance and to have a boss who makes the employee feel that the boss truly has their voices heard and respected.
Edward Koczan is a veteran of the tire industry, having worked with Tire Rack Inc. and as a sales manager for several tire manufacturers. Mr. Koczan is founder of Tire Authority, a consulting firm helping tire and auto service businesses change and engage best practices in their business operations. He can be reached at [email protected].