How to Retain Valued Employees

Key employee retention is critical to the long-term health and success of your business. Consider these strategies for engaging and retaining your employees.

Key employee retention is critical to the long-term health and success of your business. Maintaining a strong work force ensures greater customer satisfaction, increased sales, satisfied staff and effective succession planning.

While some turnover in an organization may be healthy, even desirable, it can impact your bottom line. Estimates suggest that losing a middle manager costs 100% of his or her annual salary. The loss of a senior executive is even more costly—nearly double the individual's annual salary. With these figures at risk, it is evident efforts need to be made to retain your top performers.

Often most of a company's energy is invested in underperformers. The old adage, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease," rings true through many organizations. By placing your mentoring, guiding and disciplining efforts on poor performers, you neglect your top performers. Dedicate as much time, if not more, to your top talent.

Why do they leave?

Employees leave managers more than they leave companies. The quality of supervision an employee receives is critical to employee satisfaction.

Take a look at the leadership of your organization. Employees value leaders who provide clarity on expectations, career path and earning potential; regular feedback; and scheduled meetings. A good relationship between an employee and his or her manager is critical to employee satisfaction and retention.

All managers should participate in training to develop strong management skills and be accountable for the engagement and retention of those they manage.

How to keep them?

Consider the following strategies for engaging and retaining your employees.

1. Pay competitive and fair wages

Money is and always will be a motivator. Offering below-market wages increases the likelihood that employees will look for work elsewhere. Participate in salary surveys and gather data to ensure you are keeping pace with the market.

2. Offer a benefits plan

Employees evaluate benefits more now than ever before. Determine what benefits are important to your employees and offer a package comparable to your competitors.

3. Provide opportunities for advancement

Employees are unlikely to leave if they recognize your organization is interested in helping with their professional development. Make sure employees know what is expected and establish standards to receive a promotion. Provide them with the tools to succeed. Set goals for each individual during the performance appraisal process and continually review them.

4. Communicate with employees

Employee loyalty increases when employees feel appreciated and included. Have open channels of communication. Providing accurate information from leadership reduces frustration, as well as rumors.

5. Conduct employee satisfaction surveys

The best way to find out what your employees are thinking is to ask. Conduct an anonymous employee satisfaction survey and determine what is and what is not working.

6. Recognize accomplishments

Take the time to recognize big accomplishments as well as the little ones. "Thank you" goes a long way.

7. Be flexible

Employees are willing to go above and beyond for an employer who encourages work/life balance. Offer flexible hours; on-site services, such as dry cleaning, oil changes, or day care; and the ability to work remotely.

8. Have fun!

People spend too much time at work to be serious all of the time. Allow employees to include humor and camaraderie in their day.

Joy Duce, SPHR, is Managing Director, Human Resource Consulting Services at Sikich, a leading accounting, advisory, technology and managed services firm headquartered in Naperville, IL. Joy has significant experience in the development and implementation of policies and procedures that are compliant and aligned with the firm’s business strategies, goals and objectives. You can contact her at jduce@sikich.com.

Sikich is a proud member of the National CPA Health Care Advisors Association (HCAA), a nationwide network of CPA firms devoted to serving the healthcare industry. Members provide proactive solutions to the accounting needs of physicians and physician groups. For more information contact the HCAA at info@hcaa.com.