Remember this old saying? “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.” It's good to reflect upon that sentiment when you’re releasing a rehabilitated condor into the Californian Rockies or waving goodbye to your high-school girlfriend as she boards a plane to her new college in New York City, but perhaps it’s not the best philosophy to have when employee retention is your goal. After all, when your recruiting team snags a superstar for your workforce, you’re going to want to hang onto her – tight. Here’s the good news: you can, and you don’t have to come across as clingy or desperate to do it. You just have to use this handy employee retention calendar to give workers a little boost right when they need it most. Whether you’re hiring someone to help with data entry or somebody to run your human resources program, following this helpful timeline will keep your employees dedicated to your business for years to come.
First Day. Showing your workers that they’re valued is the key to successful employee retention. Welcome each new hire personally on his or her first day and you’ll lay down the foundation for a solid relationship. If you own a small company and you have the time, give new recruits a one-on-one tour of the office, or sit down with them to explain your new human resources software. If your schedule doesn’t allow for that level of personalized attention, take the time to write a detailed email welcoming each new employee – or, better yet, make it a hand-written note.
One-Month Anniversary. Schedule a meeting with each new employee after they’ve been with the company for a month – not for a performance review, but to talk about the person's ideas and concerns. Does the new member of your human resources program feel like he’s constantly doing everyone else’s busywork? Does your new junior salesman get bored easily and feel like he isn’t being challenged? Get a feel for employee issues early so that you can address small problems before they become big deal breakers.
First Quarter. Yearly bonuses are great, but if employees are struggling to remain motivated, they may grow tired of squinting to make out the light at the end of the tunnel. So offer them some smaller incentives that are well within their reach. Reward the most successful sales team with a catered lunch from their favorite restaurant. Give a new iPhone or iPad to the manager of the highest-selling store in your region, or a few paid days off to the employee with the best attendance record. Little rewards like these help keep workers motivated. Just as importantly, they have the power to boost your overall employee retention rate.
First Year. Offering a yearly bonus is one of the oldest employee retention tools in the book, and for good reason. When an employee has been with your company for a year, a salary boost really lets the person know how much your organization appreciates all the hard work. It's also a great time to reassess the employee's needs and goals. If a worker is striving for a position in upper management or wants to be the head of a certain division, the one-year anniversary is a great time to provide some tools to make the journey easier. You might offer a highly motivated employee two tickets to a relevant skill-building seminar. You might even pay for certification in that new skill.
Employees love it when they see that your company is interested in helping them grow professionally. Why would they leave when sticking around pays such dividends?
Down the Road. Don’t ditch your employee retention calendar once a new hire celebrates their first year of employment. Keep it with you and continue to offer incentives and feedback on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis. After all, if the employee is a truly great asset, you really can't afford to slack off. There's always another opportunity out there somewhere, and the last thing you want is to start taking your best workers for granted. Consider reevaluating policies like maternity and paternity leave for long-term employees. Allow tenured employees to accumulate sick days and use them in larger chunks. These kinds of policies will allow workers to start a family or deal with a serious illness. You'll free them from additional worry and stress, and they'll appreciate it.
Remember, even if you follow your employee retention calendar to the letter, your business will never have a turnover rate of zero. No company's recruiting efforts can possibly score the perfect employee for every position. Some new hires will fail to impress. Some experienced employees will have spiritual awakenings and decide to leave the world of accounting to backpack through Southeast Asia. When these things happen, set these employees free like the beautiful butterflies they are. Then, as they flutter gracefully into the sunset, you can nod knowingly, take a deep breath and get back to work.