The Best Defense is Good Offense

Clark Neuhoff People

Employee Retention is No Accident

Since I began working the with private business owners 16 years ago, one of the biggest challenges that always comes up is finding good people.  This hasn’t changed yet and is not likely to anytime soon.  Last month unemployment dropped to 3.9%, lowest since 10% back in October of 2009.  This plus a steadier economy, the on-going shortage of good talent and upward pressure on wages is now creating another challenge.  These conditions will now give some employees the courage, or at least the curiosity to consider other opportunities.

Sure, sometimes you have to make some people moves and this will make it easier – although you shouldn’t wait for them to leave (article for another day), I’m concerned about your best people, the ones you really don’t want to lose.  Are you doing everything you can to retain them, keep them “engaged”, do you even know how happy or content they are, or if they’re thinking about a change?

In the EOS Process® we help all our clients get the Right People in the Right Seats by specifically identifying when there is a Wrong Person in the Wrong Seat.  We have a number of simple, powerful tools to do this.  But the issue often overlooked is the Right Person in the Right Seat.  How is that an issue?!  Well who gets more of your time?  Neglect is often sited in exit interviews for why good people leave.  I think it’s just like with customers, isn’t it always easier to keep one than to find a new one?

A quick Google search on employee retention and engagement showed 2.57M and 2.6M hits, all offering the Top 7, 8 or 10 Tips and Strategies to Improve Retention. So with all this help why don’t managers focus more on it?  The Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM put it this way ”The importance of addressing these factors is generally well understood by most managers, but actually doing so takes time, so these tasks are often left for another day. However, the payoff of focusing on employee retention … is well worth the investment of time and financial resources.”

So it comes down to time and attention.  We get it, all our clients are busy too – they’re entrepreneurs!  Which is why all of the tools on the EOS process have been honed and refined to produce the greatest results in the shortest amount of time.  While the entire EOS Process drives retention and engagement there is one tool in particular that will build stronger relationships with each of your employees and make sure you stay on the same page.  Its called the Quarterly Conversation.  There is a deep dive discussion on this tool in chapter 8 of How To Be A Great Boss by Gino Wickman and Rene’ Boer but here a checklist to get you started.

  1. Schedule the conversation well in advance
  2. The point is the substance (the face-to-face, open, and honest dialog) not the gesture
  3. Its ok to take notes – for yourself, not the employee’s file
  4. Its not a performance review
  5. Don’t meet them on your office, go off site
  6. Be prepared to give feedback but let them do most of the talking
  7. Find out what’s working and what’s not – from their perspective
  8. Its ok to be nervous – the Quarterly Conversation is a new experience for both of you

The conversation is mutually beneficial; you’ll each walk away with constructive feedback that will make you both better.  Your investment of just four meetings a year will more than pay for itself be keeping just one great employee.

Next Steps: