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Bank on It

Scouting and Keeping Good Talent in the Workplace

Bank on It
Christine Dermengian
Bank of Hawaii Vice President and West Hawaii Business Banking Manager

Hawaii’s economy has been a boost for small businesses except when it comes to our work force. Employee loyalty is at an all-time low while turnover is at an all-time high. What many businesses do not do is manage for employee retention by strategizing on keeping key employees. The cost of recruiting and replacing a valued employee can add up to thousands of dollars. Some companies work on the premise that a body is better than nobody. But without the right “body,” the morale of your company and your customer relationships may be in jeopardy.

Here are some simple tips to win the war for talent:

* Make your place of business a great place to work.
This does not mean that you have to change your workplace into Disneyland. But what you should do is share your vision and strategy with your employees. A commonly stated reason for leaving a job is “meaningless work.” If your employees do not understand where your company is heading or how their particular job fits in the strategy they may deem their work as not meaningful. Companies that foster strong values often include volunteerism as part of their overall customer service strategy. Create a mission statement that gives meaning to all levels in your company.

* Make retention an important business goal.
Reducing turnover should be an expense-reduction strategy for all companies. Keep your managers accountable for the quality of their work force. A bad hire is similar to a bad policy – the time and effort put into recruiting, interviewing, training and paying an employee who isn’t a good fit often translates into an unsatisfactory end result.

Few companies cultivate strong personal relationships with their workforce. Treat your employees as your customers to create a climate that fosters long-term commitment.

* Create an employee retention process in your business.
Focus on the right employees upfront by using peer evaluations, job feedback and pay equity analysis to insure you have the right systems in place. Open communication must be the golden rule and meetings should have feedback shared equally by both manager and employee to insure there is real buy-in from the meeting’s objectives. Keep your employee tied into the company’s goal by having suggestion systems, task forces and committees designed to improve the work environment.

* Make managers accountable for keeping quality employees.
Job evaluations for managers should not only focus on sales and service excellence but also on employee satisfaction. Keep your eye on the middle performers rather than just the top and bottom performers. Know your attrition rates and be accountable for them. Create professional development plans as a partnership between you and your employee and revise that plan annually. Be proactive about motivating your employees with every contact made to avoid surprise resignations.

* Scout out talent and develop it.
Know what type of individual you need in your firm and create an atmosphere where they themselves can raise the bar on their performance. Create common goals and teamwork as supportive infrastructure. Provide constant feedback as to performance and make sure results can be measurable. As trust is built, lessen your supervision and increase your coaching. When employees feel responsible as well as accountable, they will be their harshest critic and find the way to accomplish the goal.

These simple tips can change your mindset about the employer-employee relationship. Visualize your employee pool just as you would keeping and acquiring key customers. Change your role from a vacancy- filler to team champion. Without this philosophy in place, you may find yourselves on the sideline rather than on the playing field.


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Hawaii Business,January