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Article -> Quality Give and Take Keeps New Hires Loyal

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Date Added: April 2007

Part two of our 2-part series focuses on retaining the right employees. The last article discussed how aligning new team members through an on-boarding process increased performance. However, performance is not the only way to measure employee integration success.
There are no guarantees high performers remain loyal despite investments in an on-boarding process. The Employment Policy Foundation finds nearly 25% of hires won't last one year, and Leadership IQ shows 46% leave within 18 months.
A key to retention hinges on ongoing communication. For employees who have successfully assimilated into an organization’s culture, positive communication becomes paramount in retaining people.
Based on our research, lack of communication from a direct leader is a main reason people leave. Typically, an issue with a leader arises, and it is lack of, or poor communication, that leads to departure.
Although leaders may think they have mastered the art of communication, a review of the basics shows where gaps occur. In its simplest form, communication is a five-step process:
1.      Sender creates a message.
2.      Message is transmitted through a channel.
3.      Message is received.
4.      Message is interpreted.
5.      Message is acted upon (acknowledged, disregarded, etc.)
With varying degrees of success, messages are constantly created, sent and received. Whether or not they are interpreted or acted upon is relative to the quality of the message.
The best on-boarding process offers no cure against poor communication and its effects. It’s been said the cost of one employee turnover is 150 percent of the annual wage – or $75,000 for an employee paid $50,000 annually. Multiply that figure to determine how much poor communicators cost your organization.
If lack of communication is a main force in turnover, where is money? Money alone does not keep employees happy. More than 90% of emotionally engaged employees would be willing to work for less money. People want ties to the organization extending beyond compensation and benefits. They want to be emotionally engaged, to have a lifestyle and comfort level with the organization. They want to know their work contributes to the achievement of something they believe in. This is even more prevalent for Generations X and Y.
Keep in mind the difference between emotionally engaged people and merely satisfied people. Satisfied people are often content with their work situation. Getting them to show-up and contribute is not a major problem, and chances are, compensation is adequate. Emotionally engaged people are more apt to go the extra mile for a customer and stay loyal to the organization. They become your best salespeople and recruiters of future employees.
Leaders must create an environment conducive to emotional employee engagement. The belief that their work is valued is significant to them and should be to leaders.
Organizations must focus equally on external and internal communication. Investments in internal communication boost retention and emotional engagement – which, in turn, improves customer service. It keeps the right people focused on the right things.
This article was published in the Green Bay Press-Gazette on March 25, 2007.
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