People often ask this employee retention speaker and employee retention author why building a culture of employee retention is so difficult to achieve with today’s employees. Granted people were more inclined to stay with an employer in the past but they may have been more disengaged and just putting in their time. The reason that building employee retention into the culture is so difficult is that it takes about 10 years to build a culture. 10 years is a LONG time and during that time you are going to run into major obstacles over that length of time and people as well as organizations generally don’t have the perseverance to stick it out for 10 years.
Having been an HR leader for almost 30 years before becoming an employee retention trainer taught me that most organizations, particularly publicly held corporations, don’t look long term. The outlook is short term and when an obstacle is encountered, and a leader can’t break through the obstacle in short order the person is often asked to leave or leaves on their own. Then the cycle starts all over again. With this taking place, there tends to be no real continuity in leadership that has the same mindset towards culture change. So, priorities, ideas and direction are constantly shifting. It’s no wonder there isn’t an ability to build a consistent culture. Culture building takes time!
The other major reason that employee retention doesn’t take place is that people don’t tend to think of it as part of a culture building strategy. Often times, they don’t see that having a strategy around employee retention is a must as part of having an organizational culture. When senior leadership gets together, they tend to talk about a culture where people are valued, the customer is taken care of and that there is some responsibility to the community. Those tend to be the big three. Within the people being valued side, there are multiple components; two of which are employee retention and employee engagement. All we do is say, “Okay…we value our people.” Then we never talk about the two critical pieces of employee engagement and employee retention, much less work to accomplish them. The system breaks down before it starts.
This employee recruitment speaker found that in the three real culture initiatives I was engaged in during my career, the most successful was when we used an outside consultant to assist us. I believe the reason that was the case was he kept us focused on the strategy so we didn’t get lost in the day-to-day activities of just running the business. In most organizations, there tends to be a lack of focus. Whatever the immediate crisis is…that’s what gets attention.
If you are looking to drive culture change and consciously embed employee retention into your organization, you need a strategy around it and someone to help stay focused on the long-term. Absent that, it will never happen!