In a weak economy with high unemployment, the retention of employees may not be a pressing concern for Human Resources departments. Sluggish job growth means there are fewer opportunities for present employees to consider transitioning into. Uncertainty makes workers more reluctant to seek a position that offers less stability than their present position. Employees feel like they need to hunker down and stay in their present employment.
Recent trends indicate that employees may be shifting in their views and may be more confident in employment opportunities. Government numbers and private surveys reveal employees have more positive outlook on job prospects. This may mean more employees will look into leaving employment for what they consider better opportunities.
A Shift In Numbers
In the last few years government statistics show that there have been more layoffs than employees who quit. The Bureau of Labor Statistics show that for much of the last few years layoffs outnumbered voluntary separations but started changing a year ago. In September, 49 percent of job separations were voluntary quits compared to 42 percent that were layoffs. The rest included seperations such as retirements.
A survey by Harris Interactive with talent software provider Cornerstone OnDemand shows 21 million employees will switch jobs in 2012. Surveyors interviewed 2,141 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older, of whom 1,143 were employed full or part time. Information was sought from participants about how they felt their organization valued them. According to results 37 percent said they’ve been given useful feedback from their manager. 34 percent indicated that they’ve received training and development to help them better perform their job. Only 20 percent have established career goals with their employer The survey also found that overall cost to U.S. businesses from turnover could be over $2 trillion.
There are methods that help with retaining employees.
1. Do more than motivate. Find what makes individual employees excel.
2. Keep employees satisfied. Reward those that offer high productivity.
3. Attract the right hires. Try to recruit employees that offer long term contributions.
During economic slowdowns and times of economic uncertainty,tensions can run high at businesses. As an employer, you may be reluctant tobring on new employees or offer bonuses, while your employees may feel tenseand nervous about losing their jobs. Amid this climate, it is important to findways to engage and inspire employees, especially if you can’t offer them araise. ABC News San Francisco has recently addressed some unique ways in whichBay Area companies are solving this problem and helping employees stay happywith innovative employee perks.
Innovative EmployeePerks and Employee Satisfaction
Some examples of the types of unique employee perksmentioned by ABC news include:
- Bring your dog to work day, which allows you to bring yourfurry family member into the office with you. Many companies have embraced thisidea, at least in part because employees are able to work longer hours andfocus more on work when they aren’t worried about getting home to their dogs orwhat a bored, lonely dog is doing to their house.
- Free meals are another perk, and one company- Zynga- alsooffers blue bottle coffee drips and free breakfast, lunch and dinner. Theirmeal plan is overseen by a culinary officer who believes food is integral tocompany success, especially since employees don’t have to leave the building toeat and can eat together.
- Hiring housekeepers for employees. One company, Akraya,hired cleaners for 31 staff members so they could be more productive at work.
These are just a few examples of some of the perks offeredto employees that can help make them feel engaged and appreciated. Otheroptions include a gym or personal trainer on site, incentives for purchasingfuel-efficient vehicles, or on-sight chiropractic care and haircuts.
In all of these examples, the key is finding a simple way togive back, make an employees life easier and make the employee feel like the companycares.
A recent study by the Center for Work-Life Policy provides some significant insight into the mind of Generation-X employees that can help employers to take advantage of the talent in this important segment of the workforce. Knowing and understanding the motivations and frustrations of Gen-Xers is important for employees who want to capture and keep top talent, especially with a coming shortage of skilled workers when baby boomers eventually retire.
Motivating Generation X
The Center for Work Life Policy study, called The X Factor: Tapping into the Strengths of the 33 to 46 Year old Generation indicated a number of key facts that employers should know about the important talent pool of Gen-Xers:
- Almost 1/3 of higher earning Gen-X employees work more than 60 hours per week. Many have strong career ambitions driving them to put in these long hours. In fact, 75 percent of women and 72 percent of men described themselves as “ambitious.”
- As many as 43 percent of women and 32 percent of men in this generation have opted out of having kids. Of these childless individuals, a full 60 percent of women and 36 percent of men indicated in the study that they believed their employers viewed their personal commitments as less important than the personal commitments of colleagues who are parenting children.
- 41 percent of Generation-X employees report feeling as if they aren’t advancing quickly enough in their jobs. This is due in part to a lack of promotion opportunity because baby boomers are not retiring quickly enough.
- 49 percent of employees in the study reported feeling stalled in their careers
- 43 percent of Gen-X workers reported that their student loan debt was one important consideration in which job they selected. 74 percent reported that their credit card debt was a driving force.
These statistics indicate a few key things about how employers can maximize the pool of Gen-X talent. It is clear that these employees want to work and place a high premium on their jobs. As such, you can foster this drive and encourage great employee work ethic and performance by simply working to address the concerns shared by most in the study.
While you may not be able to promote employees due to baby boomers not retiring quickly enough, you may provide lateral opportunities for expanding job responsibility or provide other forms of ensuring employees know they are valued and that their careers are going somewhere. You may also wish to think about exploring some type of student loan repayment programs or incentives to score and keep top talent, and about making a conscious effort to ensure that those with and without children are treated the same in terms of flexibility and respect for personal commitments.
When an employee voluntarily resigns their postion, Their company may provide the opportunity for an exit interview. The exit interview is usually conducted by a Human Resources representative or sometimes a member of the training and development office. The interview is an opportuninty for the organization to gather information to improve employment issues and retain employees. To make the most of these interviews there are several points to consider.
Spread The Word
If an organization has a policy of exit interviews, front line staff and managers should be made aware of it. When an employee submits their resignation, supervisors may not be aware of exit interviews. There should be a set policy of how the exit interview should be scheduled. It should be made clear that the interview is voluntary.
Setting The Stage
In order to make the interview conducive to getting information, certain conditions need to be met. Ideally, the interview should be face to face in a comfortable private setting. The purpose of the interview and what is expected of it should be explained. If notes are taken during the interview, the interviewer should make sure the employee is comfortable with this and know why notes are being done. If a writen statement or questionaire is prepared for an employee to sign, it should be explained why they are being asked for a signature.
Types Of Questions
The interview is an opportunity for an agency to find ways for improvement and questions should be focused for that purpose. Employees should be asked why they are leaving and what was satisfying about their work. Thay should be asked if they received enough training to do their job properly. They could also be asked how they felt about methods and frequency of employee evaluations. They could also be approahed about ways to improve the organization. Other questions can be asked based on the organization and their needs.