Let’s survey your current staff! How many people in your organization have been there 10+ years, are deep-rooted, and likely aren’t going anywhere until retirement? We’ll call these staff “trees.” And how many people haven’t been there long, and their position will likely turn over multiple times in the next few years? We’ll call these our “revolving door” roles. Today, what percentage of your team is trees versus revolving doors? Is it 70/30, 50/50, 30/70? There’s no right answer or target number, but it’s important to know your current breakdown. Now let’s project out a few years. By 2025, do you think you’ll have more or fewer roles turn into revolving-door positions? If you’re like most of our clients, you now realize an increase in shorter-term workers is imminent.
A New Management Mindset
What does it take to be a sustainable organization moving forward? It takes a new way of leading, planning and operating. Here are some strategies we suggest.
1 – Focus on Slowing the Revolving Door, Not Stopping It
In most organizations, long-term incentives are gone. Few companies offer pensions today, and for those who do, no one under 35 believes they will ever see those benefits. So if we know new staff are unlikely to become “lifers,” how do we extend the tenure of each new hire, even if it’s just a little bit. Can we make a 6-month worker a 12-month worker? How do we get that 2-year person to stay three?
Take a look at your current incentives for staff. Are you stuck in the old annual performance rut? For young staff, 12 months is a long time! And more recognition between the 13- and 24-month mark is a critical time. Have you identified at what points in their tenure most staff leave your organization? If it is mostly within the first 90 days, you likely have a recruiting issue, are not giving people a realistic job preview, or your front-line managers are scaring people away. If it’s at the 13- to 18-month mark, the staff probably see little incentive to stay until the 24-month mark, if they’re convinced they’ll only get a 3% cost of living adjustment (which is NOT a raise!). Think about your employees’ career pipeline. Figure out where people are jumping ship and determine ways to plug that hole in the boat, so they can’t (or don’t want) to escape at that point. And find new staffing milestones worth rewarding – not the traditional model of 5- and 10-year pins.
2 – Prepare & Restructure for a Shorter-Term Workforce
Some companies tell me they rely on the expertise and speed of veteran staff to meet customer demand and make a profit, and they cannot operate with a short-term workforce. It is time for those organizations to thoughtfully determine whether their business models and current pricing are sustainable as labor costs at all levels increase. Several components of our businesses must adapt to this new shorter-term workforce, including operations, training, management, and more. The following are some specifics to consider:
· Are resources readily available for new hires to access or do you expect them to memorize what they learn in orientation?
· Have you revamped your on-boarding timeline to cover what each new hire needs at the time they need it, or are you cramming all the training requirements into the first few days of their new role? (It’s a waste of training dollars and is impossible for people to retain that much information at once.)
· Are your systems, software and apps new-user friendly? Do they have FAQ sections and give step-by-step instructions for comprehensive processes?
· Are your managers spending enough time getting to know their new staff? Are they mentoring new hires and offering ways to advance their careers, so staff don’t feel “stuck?”
· Do your seasoned workers bully or “eat their young” as new hires arrive? Can you separate these toxic individuals from the new hires, or is it time to separate those individuals from the organization completely, if they are causing more employee turnover?
Cara Silletto, President & Chief Retention Officer at Magnet Culture, is committed to reducing unnecessary employee turnover by bridging generational gaps and making managers more effective in their roles. Visit Magnet Culture for programs of solving workforce challenges, or contact Cara at [email protected].
Ready for more? Read Part 2 of this series!