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7.3: Implementing Retention Strategies

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  • Learning Objective

    1. Explain the strategies and considerations in development of a retention plan.

    As we have addressed so far in this chapter, retention and reduction of turnover is paramount to a healthy organization. Performing research, such as calculating turnover rates, doing exit interviews, and surveying employees’ satisfaction, are the first steps. Once this is done, understanding motivational theories and the application of them in the retention plan can help reduce turnover. Next, we can apply specific retention strategies to include in our plans, while keeping our budget in mind. Some of the retention strategies discussed have already or will be discussed in their own chapters, but they are certainly worth a mention here as part of the overall plan.

    Salaries and Benefits

    As we know from Chapter 6 “Compensation and Benefits”, a comprehensive compensation plan that includes not only pay but things such as health benefits and paid time off (PTO) is the first retention strategy that should be addressed. The compensation plan should not only help in recruitment of the right people but also help retain employees. Utilizing a pay banding system, in which the levels of compensation for jobs are clearly defined, is one way to ensure fairness exists within internal pay structures.

    As we know from this chapter, compensation is not everything. An employee can be well paid and have great benefits but still not be satisfied with the organization. Some of the considerations surrounding pay as a way to retain employees include the following:

    1. Instituting a standard process. Many organizations do not have set pay plans, which can result in unfairness when onboarding (the process of bringing someone “on board” with the company, including discussion and negotiation of compensation) or offering pay increases. Make sure the process for receiving pay raises is fair and defensible, so as not to appear to be discriminatory. This can be addressed in both your compensation planning process as well as your retention plan.
    2. A pay communication strategy. Employees deserve to know how their pay rates are being determined. Transparency in the process of how raises are given and then communicating the process can help in your retention planning process1.
    3. Paid time off. Is your organization offering competitive PTO? Consider implementing a PTO system that is based on the amount of hours an employee works. For example, rather than developing a policy based on hours worked for the company, consider revising the policy so that for every X number of hours worked, PTO is earned. This can create fairness for the salaried employee, especially for those employees who may work more than the required forty hours.

    Please refer to Chapter 6 “Compensation and Benefits” for more information on pay and benefits, and analyze how your compensation plans could be negatively affecting your retention.

    Training and Development

    To meet our higher level needs, humans need to experience self-growth. HR professionals and managers can help this process by offering training programs within the organization and paying for employees to attend career skill seminars and programs. In addition, many companies offer tuition reimbursement programs to help the employee earn a degree. Dick’s Drive-In, a local fast food restaurant in Seattle, Washington, offers $18,000 in scholarships over four years to employees working twenty hours per week. There is a six-month waiting period, and the employee must continue to work twenty hours per week. In a high turnover industry, Dick’s Drive-In boasts one of the highest retention rates around.

    How Would You Handle This?

    You work for a small organization in the HR department. One of your web developers schedules a meeting with you, and during the meeting she says that she doesn’t see any career growth for her in the organization. As a result, she confides that she is planning to leave the organization as soon as she can find another job. She is one of the best developers you have and you would hate to lose her.