As a headhunter, I see that what often motivates employees to leave their jobs is not only easy to understand, but also easy to fix. Yet companies continue to ignore their employees’ gripes. As a result, the company ultimately suffers when replacement costs and productivity losses outweigh the simple fixes they could have deployed to retain their key staff.
Here is a list of easy fixes companies can employ to minimize turnover:
#1. Remote working. Every time I hear a hiring manager decry remote working, I interpret it one of the following ways: (1) The manager can’t manage, monitor, and motivate well. (2) The manager is paranoid or doesn’t trust staff for some reason. (3) The employee was the wrong hire to begin with, unworthy of trust. (4) The employee is not suitable for remote work.
None of those reasons negate the fact that remote-working is a great opportunity to retain SOME key staff who have proven themselves trustworthy and capable of functioning well with reduced supervision. Many employees whom I headhunted liked their jobs but hated their commute. Yet, their company or manager simply would not allow them to work from home, despite their solid track record!
Not only is that attitude archaic, it also encourages other companies to take advantage of the inflexibility.
Candidates have often willingly chosen lower pay in return for a remote position.
As the modern age refuses to be stopped, companies who don’t understand this are in for a nasty surprise. Similarly, companies who are currently exploiting this WFH policy will have to raise their pay scales because their competition is catching up.
#2. Financial factors. Candidates who work for a number of years in their job suffer from a salary appreciation standpoint. In the modern age, what’s often ironic is that companies are willing to pay more for new talent (and the expensive recruiting fees that come with it), than pay their internal loyal staff well.
What happens? Loyal staff suffer! Their salaries appreciate only as fast as inflation which is hardly anything. Instead, companies should consider merit awards throughout the year, to make sure their employees feel financially valued and appreciated!
The real reason why employees feel so salty the base salary issue is that they FEEL undervalued.
Job decisions are largely emotionally-based. Money means more than the actual financial value of what you can buy with it. Employees don’t feel special when they’re kept at a monotonous salary or commission level while their colleagues are being awarded with bigger and better offers for leaving their jobs. The grass may not be greener on the other side, but they feel that their current gig is getting stale.
You can also offer a few extra vacation days to make up for the times your employees were overworked! Those are almost FREE perks you can give away. Ask anyone: meaningful perks that allow for relax and recuperation are much more appreciated than ping pong tables, massages, free acai bowls, and cheesy game rooms.
#3. Title. But, that goes against our bureaucratic system of very fixed and rigid title paths! Oh c’mon! This is the lamest and easiest bit companies can adjust to fix their employees gripes. Some employees want a different role with a tweaked or slightly more advanced title. Can’t you rip through the thesaurus and come up with something that makes you both happy?!
The reality in the modern age is that bureaucracy doesn’t work. The more regulations, rigidity, and monotony there are, the higher chance that your employees will leave you. Sometimes you don’t even need to raise peoples’ salaries as long as you adjust the title.
Don’t let a word in the dictionary get in the way of your employees’ self-worth.
#4. Empathetic and competent leadership. Too many managers are not only incompetent and out of touch, but also mean to boot! The best thing companies can do is to FIRE these ineffective “leaders”. Or, if you’re unwilling to fire, at least get top performers out from under their servitude. Top performers HATE ineffective leaders.
I have encountered some serious nightmare clients. People who really shouldn’t be employed point-blank, let alone hiring for a team. Rude, mean-spirited, smelly (one client stunk so badly of B.O. and dressed so poorly that I couldn’t imagine any candidate joining their team), AND incompetent. My candidates who interviewed with them bemoaned how terribly unknowledgeable they were. Yet, year after year, these managers are still interviewing candidates with no end in sight.
These types of politically-savvy-yet-incompetent managers will stunt your company’s growth. Don’t let your personal ties, boardroom buddy-ship, or any other non-business reason continue to allow these monsters to torment their staff. Not only will they drive headhunters’ fees up, they’ll make everyone who has to deal with their ineptitude and over-sized egos miserable.
As employee tenure continues to decrease within the modern era, in order to retain staff, companies need to be flexible, open-minded, and culturally-strong to survive. Employers who don’t understand that it’s now a candidate’s world will struggle to retain their top staff to reach business excellence. Evaluate how you, your teams, and your organization can change antiquated policies that are hindering your company’s future.
Dandan is a headhunter, career coach, and speaker featured on Huffington Post, Inc.com, Apple News, Monster, and Time.
Contact Dandan Global for career coaching, especially if you’re interested to start or continue your career in headhunting.