Keep and Grow Talent to Grow Business

Keep and Grow Talent to Grow Business

Voluntary benefits and services will become more important over the next three to five years.

March 21, 2016

Retention is Key to Growth,” says staffing company Aerotek. Employee turnover is a concern as 21% of employees intend to quit in 2016, up 5% from January 2015.

For those ages 18-34, three of ten employees will depart—up 23% over 2015.

As discussed in last week’s Roundup, it’s a candidate’s job market and employers struggle to fill open positions.

But even when the employee accepts the job, the employer must remain vigilant to retain talent, or face costly disruption.

Do you know “The Real Cost of Losing an Employee”?  According to, “happy employees help businesses thrive” and employee turnover disrupts productivity and morale, hurting the bottom line.

True costs of voluntary employee departures vary, in part by employee job responsibility:

  • Expenses to replace an employee earning less than $30,000 annually cost about 16% of yearly wages.
  • Mid-range positions earning $30,000-$50,000 cost 20% of that to replace.
  • Well-educated executive positions can cost upward of 231% of annual salary to refill.

But there are additional costs when employees leave beyond hiring expenses associated with recruitment and hiring.

Onboarding requires training and management involvement. Lost productivity can cost one to two years as new employees gain momentum on the job, and existing employees may become disengaged in an atmosphere of high turnover.

Can you find ways to grow your business not only by saving hiring costs, but also by developing, engaging, and keeping the talent you acquire?

‘Don’t find fault—find a remedy.’ –Henry Ford

Be observant of staff and management activity to monitor potential for employee departures. Your awareness may keep employees on the job.

Do you know “Seven Signs Your Rockstar Employee is Eyeing the Door,” according to Employee Benefit News?  The article indicates you might watch for lesser productivity; snappy dressers who may be attending job interviews; isolation that may indicate personal calls to competing employers; and ethical changes like problems with punctuality.

Additional warning signs include unusual time off requests, large life events like marriage or divorce, and less involvement with co-workers.

What about management’s influence in turnover? See “Unhappy Employees? 4 Things That are Driving Them Crazy,” from Business News Daily.

“Unhappy employees don’t just stick around and remain unhappy.” Survey results reveal burnout will spur job hunting for almost 40% of employees.

Here’s what management should do to keep employees smiling:

1. Don’t bombard staff with emails. As much as 21% of work email communications are irrelevant.

2. Avoid unnecessary meetings.  Status report updates can take place via work collaboration systems. For employees, “the most painful part…is taking time from doing work to report on work.”

3. Give them a break.  Don’t create and maintain company culture in which staff feels pressured to remain at their desks in the office and connected to the job even in off hours.

4. Listen.  Employees need to feel valued and empowered.

‘Brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated.’ --Robert McNamara, former president Ford Motor Co.

Tis’ 2016, Let’s Focus on Retention for Good,” says HR Digest.

Retention planning strategies include: Drafting mutually beneficial employment agreements; development of a loyal culture to challenge and grow talent; creation of a company vision for employees—communicate how they contribute; and finding new ways to provide feedback and nurture engagement.

Fast Company agrees the modern workplace needs to use the company brand to reinforce corporate culture to foster engagement and retention.

“Having a compelling mission and vision… is no longer just a branding issue that’s mainly about consumers. It’s now also crucial for keeping employees inspired, engaged and on board for the long run.”

Three other things companies can do to keep employees around is increase their access to senior management, grow their curiosity and allow them to help problem-solve, and accept the “blurred line between work and life” as a “two-way street.”

Employees like to work from home, enjoy flexible hours, and will often check in on work tasks during “off the clock” times.

Keep in mind that “You’re getting someone who considers your brand an extension of her own personal brand.”

Become familiar with “Top 10 Employee Retention Tips for 2016” as outlined by ADP. Not only do you need to promote your corporate culture, you must also develop leadership, provide attractive compensation packages to remain competitive, and be attentive to top performers who are likely more costly to replace.

Challenge your staff, allow flexibility, and recognize and reward their accomplishments in monetary as well as non-monetary ways.

Finally, provide opportunity for professional development, be a good communicator to avoid confusion, and conduct exit interviews to ascertain why workers depart.

All of these efforts will work to combat turnover.

Today’s workforce is diverse and changing lifestyle needs must be on the radar of employers who hope to keep teams intact.

“The vast majority of U.S. employers believe voluntary benefits and services will be important to their value proposition over the next three to five years,” notes an article at Employee Benefits News.

In fact, 92% of survey respondents feel voluntary benefits are “an important part of their total rewards,” in comparison to 73% who held this notion in 2015.

Voluntary benefits allow “high level of personalization to employees while leveraging group purchasing power” and “add little or no cost to employers” due to their voluntary nature.

Some examples of voluntary benefits are purchases made by payroll deduction, student loan consolidations, and “multi-life long-term care insurance.”

In addition to these benefits, it is anticipated the following will experience large growth in the next two years:

  • Employer-provided ID theft protection may double to 70% in 2018 from 2015’s 35%.
  • Critical illness insurance was provided by 44% of companies in 2015. By 2018, 73% may offer it.
  • Education loan repayments are provided by 4% of employers in 2015, but could jump to 26% by 2018.
  • Pet insurance may grow from 36% in 2015 to 60% in 2018.

One final handy resource provided by Robert Half outlines several considerations and references on effective employee retention strategies.

Consult this site to learn more about your orientation programs, corporate culture, employee communications, and team building habits that all influence employee retention.

Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, observed that “Today’s marketplace is incredibly competitive in every industry around the globe. The difference between success and failure is talent, period.”

Keep and grow your talent to keep and grow your business.

LORA BRAY is an information research analyst for CUNA’s economics and statistics department. Follow her on Twitter via @Bray_Lora and visit the CUNA blogThe Research Roundup: Economic Perspectives.