Employee Retention Essay

This essay has a total of 2222 words and 11 pages.

Employee Retention



In 1999 employee turnover shot to its highest level in nearly two decades. On average,
1.2 % of the workforce left their jobs each month last year. This did not include
departures due to layoffs, downsizing, or departures of temporary staff. Job turnover is
soaring for a few reasons. One is definitely the strength of the economy. If companies
need to find workers they can raise salaries, which increases the likelihood that someone
will leave a job for one that pays more. Another reason is the loosening of bonds between
employer and employee. There are lower levels of loyalty in today’s work environment. I
believe money and perks can be used to attract people to a company but to retain skilled
workers, it takes more then just tangible elements. In order to retain good employees,
today’s workplace must make the proper adjustments to meet their demands. Good employees
will not continue to work for a jerk if they know they can find a good job elsewhere.
Empowering employees, career advancement opportunities, the right job fit, and a positive
workplace environment can foster loyalty and commitment. But, most importantly, is
high-quality leadership.

First of all, employee ownership equals empowerment. Empowerment is getting employees to
do what needs to be done rather then being told what to do. A controlling manager is not
at the core of empowerment. “Efforts toward continuous improvement take hold only when
employees feel a sense of pride and ownership in their jobs. And pride and ownership are
the heart of empowerment efforts. Empowered individuals take initiative to find better
ways to accomplish their everyday tasks” (Eitington, 161). Empowering employees allows
them to be part of the decision making process. This leads to a better company image,
employee satisfaction, and decreases employee turnover.

At Home Depot, headquartered in Atlanta, employees who are responsible for maintaining
product aisles in the company’s stores, proudly and prominently display their names for
customers to see. A smart organization gives its employees a sense of ownership. This
doesn’t have to be in financial terms, as shown with Home Depot. By giving employees an
integral role in the operation of their departments and business units, the company
fosters loyalty and commitment from employees. It also inspires them to do their best.
Giving employees enough freedom and power to carry out their tasks allows them to take
ownership of the results. When individuals believe that the work they are doing is
important and that their tasks are meaningful they will maintain commitment to the company
and will desire to grow with the company.

Secondly, developing clear career advancement opportunities is an important step in
fostering a sense of loyalty, trust, and commitment. Career plans, rewards for
achievement, and encouraging further education are excellent ways to support employees. A
career plan will help the employee set their long- term goals. Career development plans
are agreements between employee and employer and they spell out exactly what one will
receive to develop their skills such as tuition, time-off, formal training, classes, etc.
Plans also include milestones for the achievement of learning goals. Rewards for
achievement whether monetary such as a raise in pay or nonfinancial such as a change in
title to reflect the level of work achieved are all-important to the fostering of loyalty
and fulfillment. Encouraging further education not only makes employees more valuable to
the company but it promotes a sense of well-being and satisfaction, which leads to loyalty
and commitment.

Starbucks Coffee has more then 400 retail stores, 26 major airport locations, a thriving
mail order business, and direct sales to businesses such as Nordstrom, Barnes and Noble
bookstores, and Delta shuttle. They have sales growth of 65 percent each year. All
Starbucks employees, known internally as “partners”, start their careers with twenty-four
hours of classroom training at one of the company’s regional training centers. They study
retail skills, coffee brewing methods, customer service, pouring the “perfect” shot of
espresso, and much more. Courses are taught by district managers, specialists, and
training mangers that have all been through the courses already and have worked in a
retail store for at least two months. Employees are making careers at Starbucks instead
of dropping out. Starbucks offers their employees increased training and career
advancement and this is a key factor in employee retention.

Thirdly, the right job fit is an important component in employee retention. Providing
opportunities to explore different positions within the company creates openness and
growth. A great example is a chemical company that I read about in a consulting magazine.
They place new scientists in the Research Assignments Program, which provides an
introduction to various company research positions. These new hires spend 12-16 months
exploring different research areas before they accept a specific position in a laboratory.
These new scientists complete three to four different projects at different research
laboratories. At the end of the program, each person transfers to a position that is
chosen based on the individual’s preference and performance and the company’s current
research priorities. This benefits new employees by giving them an opportunity to learn
more about the company and helps them to develop a company network with a variety of
managers and employees. A learning environment, such as this one, provides a chance to
learn on the job and this improves skills, knowledge, and performance. It also keeps the
employee’s interest level high. The employee will be more eager to go to work if they
feel they will learn something new and improve themselves. Finding something that an
employee is interested in and allowing them to go further with it is the beginning of
employee loyalty. The best organizations provide employees with opportunities to learn
and better themselves. This enhances employee trust and loyalty follows.

Also, corporate culture, company policies, and interpersonal relationships all work
together to create the workplace environment. Culture drives the organization and its
actions. Corporate culture speaks to the experience of work and what is meaningful to
members, including shared beliefs, values, rules, and rituals within an organization.

Strive for a climate that stresses and rewards openness, freedom, exploration,
experimentation, the interaction of different individuals, team collaboration, and the
mutual partaking of creative experiences. Recognize that a closed system – one marked by
limited entry and exchange of ideas, and stifling of thinking, feeling, and imagining –
establishes roadblocks to needed creativity. (Eitington, 607).

A firm earns loyalty by creating a positive work environment that is stimulating and
emphasizes employee growth. Today, loyalty is sustained through an organizational culture
that encourages motivation, energy, and innovation.

Employees value a workplace in which their input is encouraged and appreciated.
Emphasizing knowledge sharing and employee feedback is very important when looking to
retain skilled workers. An open door policy encourages employees at all levels to ask
questions, contribute ideas, and resolve issues. A sharing atmosphere gives everyone a
voice in creating the type of corporate culture they would like to work in.

A company that values interpersonal relationships encourages managers to meet with their
employees. Meeting over lunch to answer questions and share information helps create a
tighter bond between employee and employer. The loosening of bonds between employer and
employee is one of the reasons for high employee turnover. One-on-one meetings encourage
employees to meet regularly with their managers and peers to discuss such topics as
project status and training and development plans. Regular business meetings are an
excellent way to get employee input, make improvements, and address concerns before they
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