Employee Retention: Your Key to Bottom Line Success
By Roger E. Herman, CSP, CMC author, Keeping Good People

Every time you lose a valued employee, you're losing money right off your bottom line. It makes sense to stabilize your workforce as much as you can, so you can generate a stronger profit.

Human resources? Bottom line? Yes, they are connected. When you have to replace an employee, it can be costly. First of all, you may have to pay overtime or hire temporary workers to fill the void. Production becomes more expensive, if you can even keep up with what has to be done. Falling behind costs money . . . and may cost you a customer.

Recruiting, selecting, and hiring a new employee takes time and money . . . neither of which you have a lot of. Then, when you do find somebody that you hope will work out, you have to invest in training time and some team building to move that new employee into a position of productivity. Meanwhile, the business keeps moving. There's no way to push a "pause" button while you adjust.

Benefits of Stability

Most of the benefits of workforce stability are obvious. Let's explore a few others.

When you have a stable workforce--few, if any, people leaving unexpectedly--you also enjoy a good morale. People know each other, they're comfortable with each other, they work well together. This kind of relationship can be powerful when there's a rush order to get out or when there's a problem somewhere in the manufacturing process. People are more likely to pitch in and help each other when they know each other and believe in mutual support.

Continuity is priceless. When people have been around for a while, there's a sort of flow that keeps everything moving. People know where things are, how things are done, how to fix the little problems that pop up every once in a while. There's a sort of corporate "memory" about these things that makes operations a lot more efficient. Confidence is higher, and therefore productivity is also strong.

You and your managers and supervisors don't have to worry about hiring and training new staff all the time. You can invest your time in generating orders, communicating positively with your customers, and working more closely with your people. Training dollars can go toward improving skills of people who know the business and want to strengthen their ability to make a contribution . . . and to earn higher rewards.

Hire Right to Begin With

Silly as it sounds, the best way to keep good people is to hire good people. You would be amazed at the number of companies that just hire warm bodies to fill positions. They don't care how talented the people are or how interested they are in the company's work. These employers just look for bodies, expecting people to leave through the ever-spinning revolving door.

It makes no sense to hire someone who's going to leave in a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months. Avoid these applicants. Concentrate on the people who "fit" your company, the people who want to be there. Hire those who are looking for a career, not just a job.

Yes, it may take a little longer to find the right people. It's worth the time and the trouble to screen properly to get the people who are best suited. We recommend use of screening tools like "Check-Start" to select the right applicants. Don't invest money in people who are not going to be a loyal, dedicated part of your team. Make it more of a privilege to work for your company. It works for the US Marines: they're the only military service today that meets its recruiting quota--"looking for a few good men." The best ones want to join the Marines because of the organization's reputation. You can create the same reputation in your field, in your community.

Care About Your People

When someone works for you, it's like being part of a family. Show that you care about them. Recognize their needs, as well as your own. Find a balance between what people want in their lives and what you need to run the company. Let's look at a few ideas:

Roger E. Herman is author of Keeping Good People, Lean & Meaningful, and a leadership book titled The Process of Excelling and more. These books and more from Roger can be found on Amazon.com.