The Power of Team Member Retention

It happened again. That key person on your team has put in their notice and is leaving the company. Now you get to start the long difficult process of finding and training a replacement. This has been a common theme throughout 2021 and thus far in 2022 for many business owners and managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 69% of separations occurring in 2021 to be the result of an employee quitting their job. Employees quitting is seeing an all-time high since these data trends started being recorded in 2001.

What if you could increase retention and mitigate having to go through the replacement process? As a business owner, I have had the opportunity to not only experience these pains myself but also talk with a number of other business owners about their own experiences.

Why Retain a Team?

There are many benefits when it comes to team member retention. The first being saving time by avoiding interviewing and training replacements. A second logical reason is to keep your company productivity/capacity maxed out. If you’re experiencing constant turnover, it’s near impossible to work on your business. All your time and energy are spent rebuilding. Other less tangible benefits to be gained by maintaining your team are consistency with your company culture, workplace morale, and bench depth.

Culture

Culture plays a huge role in the identity & values of the individuals working at your company. A study by MIT Sloan has company culture as the number one motivator to why employees quit. I’ve never met someone that was excited about working in a toxic environment. You want to be part of a team that cares about each other, the quality of work performed, and gives you a sense of purpose in life. Keeping your team intact helps keep that culture strong and secure.

Workplace Morale

Workplace morale is higher when your team is whole. The side effect of turnover is work gets unequally distributed while shorthanded, creating pressure to pick up the slack and causing stress and frustration. Seeing people leave when you’ve developed a relationship with them and enjoy being around them will naturally make you sad and disheartened.

Bench Depth

As an owner or manager, a major benefit of a seasoned team is having a developed and deep bench of talent to pull from when business is growing. It’s challenging to build out a business or overcome turnover when the next person off the bench is more of a bench warmer than a star player. When you have turn over it creates a domino effect that can rapidly escalate into a lot of overtime, workplace animosity, and if bad enough, loss of revenue.

Motivating Your Team

With so many reasons to keep team members, what are some ways to motivate your team to stay?

  1. Pay is usually the first item that comes to mind. Yes, it’s something you must consider but it’s not the end all be all solution. You should have a good idea on how wages compare to other businesses in the same industry and in your geographic area.
  2. Next question to ask yourself is, are the right people in the right position? If you look at surveys of why employees leave, it’s no secret that a lousy boss is one of the common reasons an employee with leave a company. Is that person you? It’s a hard question, but one that has to be asked. It may be extremely tough to transition but getting the right person in the management role is key to retention. Are you utilizing the strengths of your team member? If you want someone to be successful at a job they ideally will have the skills necessary to thrive in their position. The oldest, most tenured, isn’t criteria to be a manager.
  3. A major shift with the pandemic is the ability to work remotely from home. There are benefits to remote work that many find appealing. From a cost standpoint, there is less money spent commuting and on overhead for office space. You can see an increase in productivity, especially if you typically have a number of interruptions at the office. Remote work in my opinion isn’t suited for everyone. However, it is something that should be considered when applicable.

Where to Start

Beginning steps for improved team member retention starts with paying at least an average wage, making sure your business is growing enough to create some opportunities for promoting. Spend time creating an environment where people are excited to come to work, and a management team that cares about their direct reports. Spend time with your high performers. So often it is the low performers that get all the attention. Be intentional about spending time with your top performers working with them to understand their personal goals and ambitions and meeting those expectations to the best of your ability.

Will taking these steps a guarantee to never having turnover again? Absolutely not, however it will mitigate the frequency that you experience and hopefully will keep your key personnel in place. There is power in retention, and the ability comprised of a great team.

Written by: Joseph Lyon, CEO

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