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Plan the work and work the plan.  That’s what one of my former bosses who was an engineer told me when we were discussing employee retention strategies.  He was a huge believer that if you did not have a strategy you would not optimize your results, or worse yet, not even achieve your basic goals.

As an employee retention author, I found a study that indicated that only 10% of companies had a written employee retention strategy.  I was in shock.  Employee retention costs are huge in many organizations yet employee retention has not risen to the level of other critical business processes.

When doing employee retention training in industries where intellectual talent drove the business and made the difference between profits or no profits, I took it for granted that everyone had a retention strategy because of the industries I worked in.  By taking 7 easy actions to begin with, you can start to get your employee retention strategy in place without writing some fancy document that nobody will read. Here they are:

  • Begin tracking your employee turnover. If you measure it you will improve.  This step is critical because until you measure it, you won’t know the cost magnitude of your retention problem.  When you do…it will enable you to demonstrate to senior leadership that their backing and money need to be behind a strategic retention plan.
  • On a huge white board, start writing down why people stay in your organization or why they leave. Write down every idea that you comes up with as well as areas you think will improve your employee retention.  Every idea!  Do this over the course of several weeks.
  • Take the ideas and categorize them into key topic areas.
  • Keep the white board visible in your office and ask employees for their thoughts when they see the board. Add their thoughts to the topic areas on the board as you hear about them.  You will see the list expand beyond your wildest dreams.
  • Pick the ones that are easy to put into action and systematically begin assigning them to people and implementing them. It is important that you start to get some easy “wins” and that you see some progress.  This sends the message that you are serious about your employee retention strategy and gets you action that can begin to impact your retention numbers and your bottom line.
  • Determine those items that will take some time to implement and establish priorities and begin systematically implementing them. Establish time frames of 30 day increments for the first half year and then a one year goal.
  • Track your employee turnover to see the impact it is having. Not only do you want to track the turnover, you want to them convert it to the dollars that are being saved and are dropping to the bottom line.

Clearly, this is not a fancy written plan in some formal planning document!  It will work, however.  I have done it and the results were incredible.  I always tell my audiences as an employee retention speaker not to wait because time is money.  Start writing your ideas on the whiteboard!