How To Keep Your People - The 'MAGIC' Formula

By Dan Oakland

For Prairie Business Magazine

July 2022 Edition

Business executives all over the country are lamenting this "Great Resignation" - a market environment where people are abandoning ship for greener pastures. Those pastures may look a bit different for everyone, but frequently include more flexibility, less stress, more money and greater opportunity.

There are two things to know to develop an effective retention strategy - when your people are most likely to leave, and why they are looking to leave.  

Fifty percent of your turnover happens in the first six months of employment. That means you need to take a hard look at both your hiring and onboarding processes, to see how you can improve. In hiring, for example, are you doing a good job in explaining your culture or are people finding they bough something different than you sold? In onboarding, what are you doing beyond the day one paperwork, tour and orientation? How are you getting the new person connected to your people and acclimated to your way of doing business?

Whether a person leaves within the first six months, or after six years, the reasons are similar. We know that when COVID started, people hung on to their jobs if they could. Once the economy bounced back, though, things started to change. One employee who made a change in 2021 expressed this sentiment: "COVID made a lot of people realize life was short, so they asked themselves, 'Do I really want to be doing this for the next 20 years?"

A mid-level manager who also left her job last year said: "I was overworked and overlooked. I was away from my family 60+ hours every week, and expected to log in and answer my phone on nights and weekends and vacations. Some days I felt like I was back in high school with the cattiness and backstabbing."

In working with the scores of employers and employees over the years, decisions to leave or to stay with an employer boil down to four primary factors that every business owner and executive need to hear:

1. Money - Do I believe I'm being fairly compensated, and is it meeting my needs? If "no" to either part of that question, the employee will be looking. For most people leaving a job, money is not the primary motivation, but it is a critical factor in their decision-making process. And with inflation the way it is in 2022, employers need to constantly re-evaluate what they are offering new hires, and what they are paying people on their team. 

Dan Oakland

CEO & Senior Human Resources Consultant


Doing nothing means you are quickly falling behind the market, and that means you will lose more people. 

2. Fulfilling Work - Am I finding satisfaction in the work I am doing? At the end of the day, if an employee is not finding some level of satisfaction in what they are doing, they will not last long-term. That's why it's so important that people find fulfilling work, whether that be physical labor, intellectual stimulation, customer interaction, building, creating, selling, servicing, or something else.

3. Feeling Valued - Do I feel appreciated by the people I work with and for? Appreciation and value at work comes from how people are treated by their supervisors and co-workers. If a person is acknowledged and respected versus ignored and neglected, they have a much better chance of staying and becoming a loyal team player. If the supervisor is checking in with them, and if coworkers are helping them when needed, they are going to feel as if they have value, and in turn, bring value back to the team.

4. Relationships - Am I developing connections and friendships at work? The more connections a person has to the organization and the team, the stronger the bond. The sooner the new employee gets to know others with whom they work, the better. Your primary focus may be eon their training and productivity, but if your people can help them develop a handful of good relationships within the first couple of months, we know that the person is much more likely to stick around for the long term.  

We hear a lot these days about company culture - good and bad. The bottom line is, if you focus on the four factors noted here, you are going to have a culture that attracts and keeps people, guaranteed. It's not really "magic" but it will impress your people, just the same.

Are you struggling to retain your people? If so, give us a call today.  



ALTERNATIVE HR|| 605.335.8198 

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