Retention the Right Way –
How to Keep the Good Ones
It’s become common knowledge that it’s often less expensive to keep your current employees than to try to hire someone new. The struggle is real, and the cost of acquisition of a new hire can impact the bottom line of any business. Many of you reading this right now know the story all too well: You hire a sharp, qualified person, they start out great, then at some point and for no recognizable reason they begin to lose focus. Perhaps their enthusiasm wanes, or maybe they start consistently showing up a couple of minutes late. There are even situations where they just aren’t getting along with the rest of the staff as well as you thought they would. This leads you to press the “oh, crap” button and begin the search for new blood.
Trust us when we say that we know how you feel – our staff here at YellowTelescope has hired and trained thousands of team members. They didn’t all work out of course (nobody’s perfect ☺), but there are ways to “tie them in” rather than keeping the revolving door rotating while you wait for a miracle. To simplify, we’ve broken it down into 2 categories below for your reading pleasure – one for new hires, and one for existing employees.
- Be mindful of the position they are hired for and how it relates to their experience. If they are looking for something full-time and all you have is an opening for a part-time receptionist, you can be sure that they’ll be out the door pretty quickly if something better becomes available.
- Set proper expectations during the interview. I would much rather have someone politely turn down the job offer then and there than not show up on their 3rd day after realizing it wasn’t what they were expecting.
- Buy them lunch on their first day. And eat with them. And talk about anything that doesn’t have to do with the job. The sooner they realize you are a real person and not some sort of robot the better off you’ll be.
- Introduce them to everyone. Very easy, often overlooked.
- Work relationships are important. They’ll be spending quite a lot of time with you and other employees, and in some cases more than they spend with their family. Make sure they feel welcomed by not only you, but everyone else as well.
- When a decision that is on the table could impact their responsibilities, it can’t hurt to ask them what they think about it.
- Where appropriate, empower them to make certain decisions, no matter how small they may seem. Not only does this take some of the work off your plate or the plate of other employees (that’s why you hired them in the first place, right?), but it gives your new employee a feeling of inclusion and trust. Practice saying “I trust your judgement”.
- Buy them a cake on their birthday and take a minute to celebrate with the office. It takes 18 seconds to sing “Happy Birthday to You” – we timed it ☺.
- Apologize if you do something wrong.
- Sometimes life outside of the office can have an impact on work performance. Let them know that they can talk to you if they need to. Whether they do or not is not the point.
- Buy breakfast for the team every once in a while – doesn’t have to be expensive, donuts or bagels work perfectly.
- Find what motivates your team and set contests that reward them for their hard work. It shouldn’t be an automatic “win”, but make it realistic. For example, our team had a sales contest last year that would reward us all with a weekend in New Orleans if we hit the number. Spoiler alert – we hit it.
- Praise in public, ridicule in private. Most of the time there isn’t much to be gained by making an example of someone.
These tips aren’t magic, but our core team has been together for quite a while (the lowest tenure is 3 years, the longest is 18) so we know we’re doing something right. We have a core belief that building a successful business starts with your people, and retention takes a particular type of time and effort that can only come from the top. If there are still some question marks or you need assistance with staffing, don’t hesitate to reach out today to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.