The Facts About Employee Recruiting and Retention

September 14, 2008

Q: I am constantly asked about employee retention and recruiting the “best” people, thus, the subject for this week’s newsletter. I certainly hope you enjoy this, find it interesting & educational and share with your management staff.

A: THERE IS AN IMPENDING CRISIS IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE. TOO MANY JOBS, TOO FEW PEOPLE! Projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast a shortage of 10,300,000 workers by 2010! And this shortage is simply raw numbers; it doesn’t fully address the growing skills gap. The numbers also don’t take into account the changing attitudes in the workforce.

Because so few corporate leaders are fully cognizant of their predicament, executives who DO prepare for the new operating environment will lead their organizations to a bright future; those who ignore the threat, risk dangerous vulnerability. With these thoughts in mind, I have six suggestions for owners and managers with regards to employee retention and staffing.

Suggestion # One: IF YOU PAY PEANUTS, YOU GET SQUIRRELS! The old expression that “you get what you pay for” is never truer when it comes to employees. To get above average talent, service and productivity, you must consider pay grades that are above the average for competitors in your marketplace. It is ludicrous to think you can get a world-class staff by paying below average wages.

Suggestion # Two: PEOPLE JOIN A COMPANY BUT THEY LEAVE A BOSS! When I ask members of a management team why they have heavy turnover, the answers are usually the same: no recognition, no promotional opportunities, no training, work not appreciated, lousy benefits, too much stress, overwork and of course the most popular, a better opportunity for more money. What amazes me is all of these excuses are fixable by management, but they go into a non-response mode with a complacent, “oh well.”

But in reality the number one reason IS LOUSY MANAGEMENT OR SUPERVISION! If the basic supervisor-employee relationship is not good, employees leave with dispatch. And what is really sad is that this problem is fixable.

Suggestion # Three: LOUSY COMPANIES CONDONE LOUSY MANGERS AND GREAT COMPANIES FIX LOUSY MANAGERS! Executives and owners often confide in me, “George, it isn’t easy”. Just because so and so is a lousy manager, he/she means no harm. OR He/she has been with me for so many years and is a good person. OR my all time favorite, he/she is my wife’s brother/sister.

Loyalty is one thing but if you have a supervisor or manager that continually drives away good talented people, you have ONLY two choices: Fix him/her by getting them into a training and/or self development program or GET THAT PERSON OUT OF MANAGEMENT!

Suggestion # Four: SOME PEOPLE JUST SHOULD NOT BE WORKING FOR THIS COMPANY! Have you ever thought of someone in your organization that you would gladly fill out an employment application for them for ANOTHER company and then offer to drive them to the interview? Whenever I am asked, “what is the fastest way to turn around low morale” my first and immediate response is to get rid of the “turkeys” in the organization. Your company should be staffed with EAGLES not turkeys.

Suggestion # Five: RETENTION IS A LEADERSHIP PROBLEM, NOT A HUMAN RESOURCE PROBLEM! Leadership, whether strong or weak, ultimately determines the overall retention rate of your company. Retaining GREAT employees is far too important to completely delegate to mid-level managers or human resource managers. Retention must be front and center within every strategic initiative, expansion plan or turnaround situation that you face. Remember, leaders are not necessarily good managers and managers are not necessarily good leaders. It doesn’t have to be that way, but most times it is.

Suggestion # Six: HIRE A GREAT OUTSIDE GROWTH CONSULTANT TO HELP YOU! If you do not have internal staff with a learning and training curriculum, spend the money and hire an outside, highly qualified (one who has been there and done that) consultant to help you design a plan, train all trainable employees and get over your high employee turnover. It will be the best money you ever spent. Third party influence many times works much better than hearing from a peer or upper management person. Employees WANT to learn, they WANT to grow and will reward you when given the opportunity to do. Lack of retention cost corporations millions of dollars on a DAILY BASIS! You don’t have to fall into that category.

May your week be filled with health, happiness and the achievement of your personal and business goals.

George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.
Grinnell, IA