How to Keep Quality Employees
By Milt Wright
Many businesses believe that the best way to keep good employees is to offer them better wages.
This can help but it is not enough. Working for a company that cares about them and their
families is just as important. Turnover is now a principal concern of CEOs because it directly
affects the bottom line.
In a recent study jointly sponsored by Roper Starch Worldwide Network, Inc and Unifi Network,
a division of PricewaterhouseCoopers, turnover has a negative impact on customer service and
satisfaction. America Online conducted a total of 2005 online interviews. The survey results
indicate that employee turnover has a direct effect on customer retention or defection. More than
80% of respondents perceived employee retention as a problem. Many more respondents said
personal issues constitute a greater challenge for service providers than product or price issues.
The study also found that consumers considered low employee continuity and training as
problems that impeded their ability to get high quality service. The study suggested that where
customers perceive little difference in product and price they are apt to differentiate in customer
If keeping quality employees is so important then one must explore effective steps to take to
ensure effective job retention. In a recent survey with 2 million employees and 700 companies
Gallop found that employee tenure and productivity are directly related to the relationships
between employees and their supervisors, not their paychecks. To improve communication with
your employees, supervisors must help employees feel more valued. This can be accomplished
with positive feedback and effective listening. Of the employees at 330 companies surveyed by
the Hay Group Inc, the greatest gulf in job satisfaction lay between workers who felt they had an
opportunity to use their abilities and those who did not. Of those who intended to stay, 83% felt
satisfied that their skills were adequately used. Of those who planned to leave, only 49% felt that
In an article by Georgia Reitmeier "How do we keep the good ones?.. .Listen" Ms Reitemeier
offers tips for opening up the lines of communications with employees. She emphasized the
importance of meeting individually with the employee on a monthly basis. Ask the employee
"What one thing can I do to support you better?" and "What one thing would you really enjoy
doing?" Use body language to show that you are listening. Show interest with your facial
expressions, ask for clarification, treat employees like customers and create a motivation profile.
In this profile ask 'What is motivating your employees to stay with your company?" There is no
guarantee that you won't lose someone, however you will have a much better understanding of
why they decided to leave.
Other tips to consider for retaining employees include: implement a flexible scheduling process,
be honest in performance reviews, mentor employees, provide effective ongoing training to help
employees gain new skills, keep your promises, learn effective interviewing, look out for
unhappy workers and address them quickly, make sure that employees have the materials and
equipment to do the work right, and create an environment that employees feel that their job is
Jim Collins (firstname.lastname@example.org) author of a new book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies
Make the Leap ...And Others Don't, has recently completed five years of research on what
separates the good companies from the great companies. He states that if he were running a
company today, he would have one priority above all others-to acquire as many of the best people
as he could. The single biggest constraint on the success of his organization is the ability to get
and to hang on to enough of the right people.
After 20 Years of being in business we have learned that our employees are one of our greatest
assets. This was a very important lesson to learn. We are still in a slow economy and many small
businesses are not as concerned with job retention. However there is a direct correlation between
job retention and profit. Job retention efforts must be addressed in order to be successful and
effective supervision, communication and mentoring is a very good place to start.