The Business-Technology Weave

Dec 2 2010   10:33AM GMT

Employee Retention – Maintaining the Team

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


Just for the sake of variety, let’s take a breather from our discussion of content.  We’ll return to it in a day or so, and further the discussion of content management, acceptable use, general security – and related policies.


An interesting concern came to me the other day in a discussion I was having with the owner of an IT startup company.  He has a common concern about turnover.  Now, IT personnel generally are pretty stable folks.  (Hold the jokes ‘till after the presentation, please).  If an organization is creating the right environment and paying fair salaries and wages, things should be relatively stable.  But we have to face something: 

It’s the best, most crucial, people who are at risk.  They’re extremely marketable and it doesn’t take a lot of effort on their part to find employment that looks to be more lucrative. 

If an organization is in a market like DC or NYC, their best people are probably fending off pitches when in quasi-business, more social, environments.  If you, the reader, are one of these marketable people, you can further your organization’s stability by taking your suggestions to the table.  Let’s look at what helps to retain people.  Money is important, but it’s not the only thing effecting retention of people.  Here’s a quick list, in no particular order:

        Education/training opportunities:  This is important not only in terms of reimbursements, or paying, for training – but in terms of scheduling, and just general support and progression of employees’ abilities and opportunities.  Here’s where business too can affect a more responsible forward edge for the organization – things are rapidly changing, and you don’t want to inadvertently screen your cutting-edge and forward looking employees from the training arena; people want to feel like they’re getting somewhere – and the org needs them to actualize.


        Flexible schedules:  It’s a new world and younger employees in particular figure that business and access is universal – why not work from home when possible?  Also, if someone proves themselves to be responsible, and wants to work four 10-hour days one week, to effect a 3-day weekend, and there are no other business inhibitors, why not?  Let’s be imaginative. 


        General work environment:  Is your office attractive?  You don’t have to have expensive furniture and original masters on the wall.  Check your lighting:  The office doesn’t have to have the blast of lumens necessary for a hospital operating room.  Get something a bit soft; and give individual employees a choice in their respective spaces.  Be particularly sensitive to “cube land.”


        Social environment:  Let’s have fun.  Really.  Both on and off the job – but retain a professional care for positions and necessary measures of respect.


        Incentive pay/bonuses, base salaries:  Oh well, it turns out that money does matter, after all.  Be competitive.


        Insurance benefits:  They are what they are.  Again, not a lot of flexibility here – you must be competitive.  But – ensure that HR is doing their job.  They should be exposing all benefits, and have them make the sale:  HR should be enthusiastic about pay and benefits, instilling this upon new employees’ orientations, and maintaining this positivity throughout pay and benefits updates to staff.


        Employee recognition programs:  Have you seen the commercial where the boss is combining employee recognition events with business?   Hilarious.  The organization has to take time to let employees know that they’re important, valued, and that they’re individuals.


        Paid time off:  Whatever other ideas are out there, I had a great boss (in all “business” respects) who used to do something that I loved:  the award of spontaneous days off.  He’d say, “Hey, why don’t you pick a day next week and goof off.”  ‘Course, maybe he was just trying to get rid of me…  hey!


        Retirement programs:   Again, make sure HR makes these sales and that people are fully informed regarding benefits and perks.


‘Tis the season to be jolly – so get out and about at your place of work and tell someone you enjoy working with them.  Whether they’re a co-worker, subordinate, boss, vendor, etc. – let’s maintain the team.


NP:  Richard Thompson, Solo in New York, Hannibal LP.

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