Losing a key employee sucks.  It’s expensive and it’s a time drain.

Think about this:  What if Mickey Mouse had up and quit Disney? 

“You know, Walt, Minnie and I are seeking more work-life balance. I feel like I’ve been running non-stop on a wheel here for small bits of cheese. Minnie wants to spend more time with the grandmice. I’ve appreciated the opportunities here, but I’ve taken a job with another company”. A silly example of course, but we’ve all felt the pain of having a key employee resign.

How can your company keep its top talent from leaving?

Short answer: ramp-up your retention management. Employee retention strategies and programs are becoming more prominent nationwide; and this means more than bagels in the morning or a summer company picnic in the park.

Commit! Hire or promote a person whose sole job function will be to keep the team motivated, engaged, productive and in place. Call him or her the Corporate Coach, Head Ally or Chief Retention Officer. Try Chief People Officer or create a title that will fit your company culture but recognize that even small companies will benefit from having a set of eyes and ears working full-time on employee engagement and satisfaction. Companies task Human Resources with this responsibility, but for many team members, contact from the HR rep is not viewed positively. A summons from HR has become synonymous with a trip to the school principal’s office. HR can’t play ‘good cop’ today and ‘bad cop’ tomorrow and expect to be the ‘go-to’ department when challenges arise.

Do your homework on pay rates.

Are your compensation rates and benefits lower than those of your competitors?  Are you using available monitoring tools? Economic anxiety is often one of life’s biggest stressors and will negatively impact an employee’s level of engagement, job performance and tenure. A corporate retention pro can help you navigate the treacherous waters of compensation.

Your Retention Officer can be an invaluable link between new employees and the company. Too often questions asked early on are answered incorrectly or in a less-than-ideal manner by a co-worker. I recall once asking about a box labeled ‘Suggestions’ which a previous employer of mine had placed in a break area. The response: “Oh yeah, that’s for suggestions, but even if it’s ever opened, I’m sure all the slips of paper are taken out and put right in the trash”. I imagine the organization would have rather provided me the correct answer to my question than to have me hear an unenthusiastic response from an apathetic team member. For team members who have been with your company for longer periods of time, they may feel ‘out of the loop’ on corporate changes and your Retention Officer can assist. Your RO can be your corporate cheerleader; celebrating, recognizing, rewarding.

Your RO can help your team set goals, encourage attainment, craft employee training and development programs and collect feedback. Include training that is not necessarily job-based. Think about non-job-related tech training or financial literacy help. Your team will appreciate the opportunity to learn new skills within the workplace.

Is your company culture driving performance?

If you answer yes, you’ve found the recipe for success. Your RO can help you define your company culture and how to best serve the team in order to deliver your mission statement. People think company culture is the be-all-end-all for employee satisfaction, but keeping your best people is more than culture and/or inconsistent efforts to increase morale. Your corporate environment should encourage collaboration, creativity and company performance. Your Retention Officer can assure that your company’s values, strategies and behaviors are in sync.

Unemployment numbers nationwide have dropped over the past few years and retaining top performers is critical to keep productivity and innovation moving forward. Lengthening the tenure of your key players can only benefit your organization. A revolving door spells trouble. The more people your organization churns through, the harder it becomes to attract stellar talent.

Don’t be the employer with the bad corporate culture rap who has to end up replacing a real-world version of Mickey with a common field mouse.

Interested in learning more about how to attract top talent that you’ll want to keep around? Partner with one of our consultants today to get more information on how to recruit industry leaders.