Image Contributor Dave Musgrave

Your Best Friends With Benefits: Employee Attraction – Retention

Date PublishedJune 19, 2013
CompanyRenfrew Insurance Ltd.
Article AuthorDave Musgrave
Article TypeJanuary 2013 Issue
Tags, ,
PULSE Interactive

Your Best Friends With Benefits: Employee Attraction – Retention

Employee attraction and retention is one of the foremost business challenges western Canadian employers face today! Added to that is the common employee perception that their employer is not engaged with them. This perception can be toxic, particularly in such a competitive market to attract and retain employees. But what can an employer do?

One of the most common current practices has been to offer compensation greater than your competitors. This may generate new employees, but based on the higher pay foundation it creates a shaky basis for a long term employer/employee relationship.

This environment is not new to western Canada. In the recent past there was a surge of employment opportunities and a scarce supply of qualified employees. For a time we experienced a retraction in this scenario. But here we are again. The economic forecast lends itself to the opinion that the current employee scarcity is going to continue for several years.  What are you currently doing to facilitate your need for new employees and retaining the ones you have? If you have done the research, or even just perused any of the various publications on the matter you will have learnt that there are a number of items that should be considered to remedy this problem. The unfortunate part is, in most cases, both business culture and practices must be altered first.

For attracting employees, the days of simply placing an ad on this job board or that website are gone. Employers now have to invest in marketing to attain the employees they want. Innovation is required to “reach out” to your potential employee in a format that will speak to them. Although social media might seem foreign, checking LinkedIn and Facebook are daily activity for many young potential hires. Website marketing and traditional want ad marketing compliment your other efforts. Placement or recruitment agencies can be effective, but be aware of the costs. Unconventional marketing might include generating a presence in places or forums where your potential employees might be. For example, if your employees tend to be “hockey dads/moms” look to advertising in some of the local hockey publications. Finally, one of the best sources of new hires is your current employees. Initiate an employee referral program where recognition and remuneration occur.

Numerous employee surveys indicate that a high percentage of employees consider their employer as both unengaged and apathetic. Retaining employees amidst this reality requires an entirely different set of “marketing” practices.  The cost of losing an employee differs from employer to employer but there are some general similarities. Production loss is likely the most common followed by, of course, profit. The actual cost to replace a position is between 50 and 200% of that position’s annual salary, with 125% being the average. With this in mind it’s a great deal to “invest” in keeping your employee and the solution to retain employees is actually easier to define than one might think. Here are a few strategies that may help:

1. Hire the right person for the job. Qualifications and experience are valuable, but so too is the individual’s capacity to fit into your vision. Are they the type of employee you could grow to trust? What makes them tick? Do any of their goals and objectives coincide with your firm’s values?

2. Listen to what your potential “new hires” are saying, particularly their goals and objectives. Are there similarities? If there are, use this new information in your future relations with employees.

3. Accept that in our current environment, employees move around a great deal more than they did several years ago. With that, if there’s an opportunity to learn from the departing employee this information could be invaluable.

4. Use workplace marketing. HR departments at larger firms spend a good deal of their resources communicating with employees. Employer engagement creates an environment that fosters employee retention. If you listen to the employee they will, in turn, listen to you. One of most common requests made by employees is for scheduling flexibility. Compensation is number two.

Compensation can include an employee’s salary or wage, but also includes items such as Employee Benefits, Group retirement Offerings, Employee Assistance Plans and wellness Programs. Regular communications via channels that appeal to your employees (e.g. print, email, website, text etc.) should be a standard practice.

Attracting and retaining employees is likely one of the largest challenges for your business, presently and in the future. Educating yourself is critical to your company’s success. Although it may seem like a huge project, creating Attraction / retention Programs is part of building success, as the employees are the foundation of your business’ potential and is well worth the effort.