I define “healthy retention” as an organization’s ability to retain good performers long-term and to release poor performers as soon as the lack of fit becomes evident and cannot be remedied effectively. A healthy retention process begins before the preparation of job- and organization- based recruitment materials, and it continues throughout each person’s career.
While leaders often do a very good job of addressing some – or perhaps many – elements of the retention process, their misalignment with the goal of healthy retention is an obstacle to a successful process. In the images below, the big arrows represent the direction of a healthy retention process; the small arrows represent very good programs, practices, processes, and systems that comprise a healthy retention process. As you can see, even really good elements of a process cannot succeed when they are at odds with each other. A healthy retention process requires the alignment of all its elements.
There are three major controllable reasons for unhealthy retention processes. Leaders:
Below are suggested remedies for increasing the health of your retention process.
Problem #1: failure to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy retention
Remedy: clearly define what “healthy retention” means for your organization. Assess your current status. Identify the gaps between where you are and where you’d like to be. Take action to address those gaps.
Problem #2: take a very narrow view of what elements comprise a healthy retention process
Remedy: take an expansive view of retention. Recognize that healthy retention begins with purposeful preparation, includes recruitment, selection, orientation, and probationary period, and continues with employees’ workplace experiences throughout their careers. Develop your healthy retention process accordingly.
Problem #3: view and treat retention as a task instead of as a systematic, on-going process
Remedy: identify all the elements of a healthy retention process. Connect the dots among them so they complement each other and accelerate progress toward achieving organizational goals instead of obstructing or duplicating one another.
Turnover is extremely expensive for organizations, requiring extensive direct and indirect costs as well as disrupting operations and reducing productivity. Would you rather cut corners in your retention process and pay the resultant high price, or would you prefer to invest in developing and retaining a high performance workforce that gets better over time as its positive reputation attracts the best candidates?
Are you curious about the extent to which your organization’s retention process is healthy? Take a look at our Healthy Retention Self-assessment. To find other articles and resources that may be of value to you, I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com and my blog at www.OptimizeBusinessResults.com
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