Employee Retention Solutions
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Employee Retention Solutions

Employee retention can be devastating to any company, so what are you doing to avoid losing your valuable staff?

By Steven Branstetter, Training and Development Manager, Crawford Thomas Recruiting

Just about every business owner and manager I have ever met all have one common goal; to make a profit.

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  • That is why we are in business to begin with, right? So how do we make a profit? By increasing sales, cutting cost, and opening new locations. I know this might seem like very basic information, so let's dive a little deeper. Did you know there is actually one thing you can focus on to succeed in all three areas? It starts with the most basic building block of a good organization, the people. Your employees are the ones on the front line, increasing sales. Your employees are the ones working on ways to cut costs. Your employees are the ones with the leadership ability to branch out into new locations. So how do you get better employees? You can start by keeping the ones you already have. Employee retention can be devastating to any company, so what are you doing to avoid it? It will cost you time and money, not to mention the most valuable asset, good people. Today we are not going to get into how to hire good people and what to look for. We are going to talk about ways to keep your employees happy, improve their skills, and to attract great talent in your market place.

    Before we begin, I do agree sometimes it is better to cut ties and move on, as not every employee will work out. I would like to recommend a great book: Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud to expand on this topic. We will focus on the things that we can control. Most employees leave a company because they are underperforming, they are unhappy, they do not get along with management, they find a better opportunity, or a complex life situation. Now the last example on this list is a little out of our control but we can do something to help with the other situations. An underperforming employee will leave on their own behalf or the company will let them go due to poor performance. Your training program is the first place you need to look in this situation, if you already have one in place. This is not just for someone within their 90 day probation period either. What about your employees that have been with you for multiple years? They still need to grow and develop as well so be sure to put some effort into ongoing training, such as conferences and ongoing education. Bringing the topic back to your new employee, what does your training program look like? Is it all online, out of a training manual, with a trainer, or by osmoses? It is well documented in academia that everyone has different learning styles, so it is important to give your new employees multiple opportunities to learn the skills needed to be successful.

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    "Your attitude determines your altitude" I love this quote; because it perfectly describes one of the biggest reasons employees leave companies. An unhappy employee is unproductive, unmotivated, and brings down the rest of the team. The sad part is most of the time it is the easiest and cheapest to fix, and probably the most overlooked. Let's start with the basics, the "Hygiene Factors". These are the little things that are often over looked by employees when they do have them, but are very dissatisfying to employees that do not have them. Most of these fall into the "work environment" section such as: employee parking, clean working stations, comfortable seating, and pleasant atmosphere. It is always good to review these things from time to time as they often get overlooked. Keeping an open ear to what your employees talk about as well is a good way to stay plugged in. Another big cause of unhappiness is going to be directly related to the relationship the management has with the rest of the employees. You need to be careful to not get too friendly as employees will stop looking to you as a leader and start looking at you as a colleague. Another big mistake I see mangers make all the time is complaining to their employees. I learned a long time ago that complaints should always go up and never down. You need to be looked at as a leader and ambassador for your company, not someone getting caught up in the office gossip. I can tell you for a fact that not everyone will get along with everyone, but you will need to be able to work together.

    Almost everyone you talk to who changes companies on their own behalf will tell you it was for a better opportunity. The interesting part about this statement is that opportunities come in many different forms and are different for everyone. Some people want to make more money. Some want more responsibilities. Some want more freedom. Now you might or might not be able to offer these things to all your employees right now, or maybe you can if you knew that's what they wanted. One thing that any leader can provide an employee is vision. Vision of the direction of the company, vision of future positions that will be available, and vision of future enhancements to be made are all part of being a leader. If you listen to your employees and ask the right questions you will know what a better opportunity means to them. I must warn you to be careful, as you will do great harm to your relationship with your employees if you promise things that you cannot deliver on. This will do much more harm and provoke employees to look for opportunities elsewhere.

    Last, but not least, we need to think of the bigger picture when dealing with employee turnover. What is it doing for your company image? I think we have all run across the "Chop Shop" or "Churn and Burn" companies before. They are known for their very high turnover and are not well sought after by top performing employees. The current employees at these companies know that they can lose their position at a drop of a hat. It is something I hear from candidates all the time, "I am looking for a career, not another job". Employee tenure needs to be celebrated for both your company and you as a manager. The old saying, "People do not leave companies, they leave leaders" is something that comes to my mind a lot when talking about this subject. It is our job as leaders to improve ourselves everyday to help prevent this. By reducing employee turnover you will have better sales, cost will go down, and you will be able to expand to new locations. All this will be possible because you will have great people around you.

    Steven Branstetter is the Training and Development Manager at Crawford Thomas, a nationwide executive recruiting firm based in Orlando, Fla., with offices in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. He has extensive knowledge with recruiting in multiple industries, working with OEMs and independent dealerships. Branstetter can be contacted 1-321-257-0811 and steven.b@crawfordthomas.com.

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