It’s no secret that the world we live in (especially when it comes to the workforce) is constantly evolving. We find that oftentimes, the ways associations have been run successfully in the past no longer align with the needs and expectations of today’s staff, volunteers, and members. So to keep up, innovative thinking is required. Many of our younger staff’s top priorities in a job don’t have to do with money, but with scheduling, other incentives and career advancement: All things that effective managers can adapt to and use to retain their top talent.
Could You Be More Flexible?
To start off, organizations have way more scheduling flexibility than managers often think they do. Where they fall short is putting traditional practices before the needs and reality of their workers. “How it’s always been done” is useless when it comes to working around the complex schedules of today’s workforce as managers have to factor in things like daycare open/close hours and student schedules.
There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to scheduling, so organizations must get creative (and solicit ideas from their employees). Does it make sense for your company to offer four 10-hour workdays? Shift a typical 9-5 shift back an hour to 8-4? Offer 4- and 6-hour shifts to accommodate staff needs and ease the burdens of 8- or 12-hour folks during their busy times? There can be several solutions when managers take time to find them.
What Could “Advancement” Look Like?
Outside of scheduling needs, today’s new workforce is also focused on their career advancement. It’s a competitive world – and an employees’ market – so managers should put as much importance on advancing a new hire to keep them keen to stay as they did in recruiting them in the first place.
But money is tight, and promotions are few and far between: We get that. So creativity again has to be at the forefront of managers’ minds. How can you develop an employee’s career without giving them a pay raise or a new title? The opportunities are endless: Put them in charge of special projects. Give them a mentor. Let them be a mentor to incoming employees. Send them to conferences or seminars. Offer on-site classes or encourage other training opportunities. Introduce them to key leaders within the association to build their network. Cross-train.
The last thing today’s new workforce wants is to be stagnant in their careers. So managers must make an intentional effort to stimulate movement, even when no official promotion or pay raise is available. The more you extend staff members’ knowledge, skills and networks, the better your odds are they’ll stick around to continue
Do You Need More Job Levels?
In addition to this, we are seeing organizations and managers create more advancement tracks within a certain role. While a flat hierarchy was all the rage starting a few decades back, promotions are more readily available when there are more levels within the organization – so it may be time to create more layers in your hierarchy. This way, staff can “level up” more frequently from an entry-level 1 to a more advanced level 2 and eventually to a subject-matter-expert-level 3. This keeps staff from becoming discouraged about the rut they’re in, which is what happens when employees see only one or two management positions that all staff are vying for.
Today’s workforce was not taught the patience needed to spend five to ten years paying their dues before climbing the traditional corporate ladder from one rung to the next. Building new rungs into your ladder can help you retain a larger segment of your workforce.
What Incentives Should You Offer? And When?
Creating new “carrots” – or incentives to stay – can also make a huge impact in slowing the revolving door of today’s employee turnover. What will make workers want to stay longer at your company? Ask them – and then implement their ideas as best you can.
Instead of only offering the current 12-month “carrot” where employees receive feedback and a small pay increase, celebrating employee milestones at shorter intervals – every quarter or every six months, for example – can keep employees more motivated. Sprinkling small incentives along an employee’s career path – such as additional paid time off, access to new educational resources, a mentor, a seat on a committee, unique perks like free oil changes, etc. – can be more enticing.
Retention is a multi-piece puzzle. And managers have the power to create more effective solutions that will encourage employees to stay longer.
Authors Cara Silletto, MBA and Leah Brown are with Crescendo Strategies. The workforce thought leaders and speakers at Crescendo Strategies work with thousands of business leaders to help reduce unnecessary employee turnover. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to see how Crescendo Strategies’ programs or Workforce Retention Bootcamp could help your organization.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/tomertu
The reasons behind employee turnover can be complicated – and hard to pin down. This article is part 4 of a 6-part series delving into retention strategies and tips that make it easier to keep your employees. This series was derived and modified from the M.A.G.N.E.T. strategies outlined in the book “Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave and How to Keep Them Longer.”
Part 1: Management Effectiveness Makes or Breaks Retention Efforts
Part 2: Recruiting Strategies to Bolster Staff Retention
Part 3: Employees’ First Days on the Job Affect Their Willingness to Stay
Part 5: Empowering Company Leaders Improves Retention
Part 6: Need to Retain Your Talent? Start With Building Trust