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Legal Ease Focusing On Employee Retention By Richard D. Alaniz, Alaniz Law & Associates V


irtually all employers in the country,


employees. It is estimated that there are


including investment


casters, are struggling to hire approximately 7½ million


job


openings available across the U.S. That far exceeds the current unemployment rate, which is at its lowest point in decades. No one has a good answer for this hiring dilemma. But it has prompted employers to look much more closely at holding on to those employees already onboard. Employee retention is finally garnering the attention it deserves. If you can keep your trained and experienced employees, the difficulty in hiring new employees may not be as harmful to the company as might otherwise be the case.


Determining what keeps employees


from moving on to the next perceived job opportunity is not always easy. For example, studies show that millennials on average change jobs about every 14 months and often for nothing more than a slight improvement in time off or more freedom to work remotely. Some change jobs merely to have a new experience. However, there are some fundamental employment components that should be present in all workplaces to try to ensure job satisfaction irrespective of the industry. Among these fundamentals are competitive wages and benefits, and fair and consistently applied employment policies. These are minimums in today’s hyper-competitive job market. Without them, you are not even in the game. Every employer seeks to have


engaged and satisfied employees since they are the ones least likely to leave. A recent Gallop poll found that only 34% of employees are engaged in their jobs. 53% of employees are not engaged, doing the bare minimum to simply remain employed. And 13% are actively disengaged – they would rather be almost anyplace else than in your workplace. While there are likely many reasons for this lack of employee engagement, and


22 ❘ November 2019 ®


1. Daily Conversations and Sincere Gratitude


Trite as it may seem, an occasional “Good morning” or “Thank you for staying late yesterday to complete that project” and similar


sincere remarks


can make a world of difference in how employees feel about their company and management. It takes almost no effort to acknowledge employees, but it must be done sincerely. Successful managers are usually those who every day make their employees their principle concern. One way of accomplishing this is to spend time interacting with them on the production floor on a daily basis. Too often the press of business keeps owners and managers from spending time where it could be most beneficial – in the workplace. Management by walking around can pay great dividends if fully utilized. Sam Walton, one of the world’s most successful businessman, spent much of his time each week walking through his Wal-Mart stores and distribution centers engaging the employees and managers in conversation. He wanted every employee to know how important they were to the company’s success.


they will vary with each individual, one of the most common is a feeling that their employer cares little or nothing about them. From their perspective, the focus always seems to be on production and rarely on those that are producing. Unfortunately, in some workplaces even a sincere “Good morning” is lacking, much less an atmosphere of caring and appreciation.


What Should Be Done? So, how does a business owner, plant or department manager, or even a supervisor begin to create that employee goodwill and caring workplace culture that is going to help keep employees engaged and satisfied, and more importantly on your payroll?


He demanded that his managers and supervisors know their employees as if they were family members. How well they worked together was just as important as how much profit their department generated. The one clearly fosters the other. Daily contact and sincerity in the words spoken can pay dividends when it comes to holding on to your employees.


2. Solicit Employee Concerns Employees who feel that their


employer sincerely cares about and wants to address their concerns are much less likely to jump ship to another employer. Managers and supervisors are in a unique position to obtain direct and valuable feedback on a one-on- one basis in their daily interactions with employees. However, employees must feel comfortable that they can speak honestly and directly without fear of being reprimanded. Assurance of non-retaliation by anyone, including other employees, for what they share is sometimes needed. It is also important to remember that such conversations are not the time to be defensive or argue. Most importantly, managers must address the concerns that employees share, even if the issue is something that cannot be resolved exactly as the employee wants. A well-explained “no” is better than no response whatsoever. Daily interactions where employee concerns are solicited are obviously not the only way to have employees open up about troublesome issues. Most employers have an “open door” policy even if not in a formalized program. To be effective however, employees must feel confident that issues raised will be given fair consideration without criticism or repercussions. Too often management’s “kill the messenger” reaction makes the policy one of a closed rather than an open door because employees are fearful of using it.


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