What is "it"? Well, "it" can mean many things but in this case, I am referring to companies that understand the need to keep key talent in new and creative ways that make the employees want to stay. I know I write a lot about different things companies are doing to keep employees and this blog is no different. There are a lot of companies doing a lot of very creative things and unfortunately, the majority of companies are doing nothing but offering a salary and benefits and wondering why employee loyalty is low. So I will continue to share the great ideas I come across in hopes that maybe a few companies out there will get "it".
Many organizations I work with see a spike in turnover right at the 3-5 year mark in tenure. The reasons for this are many; the employee has some new skills and abilities and is more marketable, they have realized this is not a good fit for them, they haven’t received the advancement and training they were promised, etc. Generally, once the employee gets past the five year mark, their likelihood to leave decreases dramatically.
This is a problem for many organizations as they are just starting to recoup the costs of hiring these employees. I was on a webinar last week where the topic of keeping employees at the 3-5 year mark was discussed. One of the presenters was the President of an IT consulting firm. He realized this was a problem for his company so he decided after the end of the third year of employment, the employee gets one month to work on whatever they want, essentially a sabbatical. When that employee hits the five year mark, they get three months off or $25,000. This company recognizes the cost and negative business impact that will result when these key employees leave. These are the employees that are dealing with the customers on a daily basis so they President sees this as a small price to pay to ensure their customers are happy.
On a loosely related note, there was another idea that came up during this webinar which is not something I have ever heard of before. This company gives each employee a certain amount of money (ranging from $50-$200 depending on how the company is doing). The employee can use the money on whatever they see fit, the only rule is they have to use the money in a way they feel will make the company better. Employees have pooled the money to invest in new training materials, books for a library, taken their team out bowling, bought lunch for everyone, etc. I am going to go so far as to say this is one of the best ideas I have heard of in a long time. This gets the employees involved into being part of the solution, instead of part of the problem. Instead of the employees sitting around whining and complaining, this company said here is some money, we are empowering you to make the right decisions to make this place better.
I know some of you are thinking right now, "Wow that is a lot of money to give out." You are the exact person these blogs are for. You need to realize this is not an expense for these companies, this is an investment and by doing so they can decrease employee turnover, increase employee loyalty, decrease customer churn, and positively impact the entire organization. The returns of this will far outweigh the costs.