Thursday, April 09, 2009

Employee Retention Strategies...

This is a normal scenario wherein the companies all over the world is concerned about the retencion of the Employees. The Hr in the company has been trying varioud activities to retain the most valuable assets of the company, the manpower but their efforts have hardly been awarded as the atirtion rate across teh globe is 35-40%. Now globalization has urged for a stiff competition among the competitors, so making the retention of employees an important action in the corporate world.
there is one famous saying
"Take away my people, but leave my factories, and soon grass will grow on the factory floors. Take away my factories, but leave my people, and soon we will have a new and better
-- Andrew Carnegie
No in the tough competition the corporate word is all set make retension as a major activity in every organization. The hr is following many steps to effectively retain the manpower but following are the few factors for which their effeots go in vain.
Reasons for labour turn over:
  • For higher Salary
  • No Growth opportunity/lack of promotion
  • For Higher education
  • Misguidance by the company
  • Policies and procedures are not conducive
  • No personal life
  • Physical strains
  • Uneasy relationship with peers or managers

And here are few of he benefits provided by most of the companies as various measures for retaining the manpower.
Employee benefits provided by most of the companies:

  1. Group Medi-claim Insurance Scheme: This insurance scheme is to provide adequate insurance coverage of employees for expenses related to hospitalization due to illness, disease or injury or pregnancy in case of female employees or spouse of male employees. All employees and their dependent family members are eligible. Dependent family members include spouse, non-earning parents and children above three months
  2. Personal Accident Insurance Scheme: This scheme is to provide adequate insurance coverage for Hospitalization expenses arising out of injuries sustained in an accident. This covers total / partial disablement / death due to accident and due to accidents.
  3. Subsidized Food and Transportation: The organizations provide transportation facility to all the employees from home till office at subsidized rates. The lunch provided is also subsidized.
  4. Company Leased Accommodation: Some of the companies provide shared accommodation for all the out station employees, in fact some of the BPO companies also undertakes to pay electricity/water bills as well as the Society charges for the shared accommodation. The purpose is to provide to the employees to lead a more comfortable work life balance.
  5. Recreation, Cafeteria, ATM and Concierge facilities: The recreation facilities include pool tables,chess tables and coffee bars. Companies also have well equipped gyms, personal trainers and showers at facilities.
  6. Corporate Credit Card: The main purpose of the corporate credit card is enable the timely and efficient payment of official expenses which the employees undertake for purposes such as travel related expenses like Hotel bills, Air tickets etc
  7. Cellular Phone / Laptop: Cellular phone and / or Laptop are provided to the employees on the basis of business need. The employee is responsible for the maintenance and safeguarding of the asset.
  8. Personal Health Care (Regular medical check-ups): Some of the BPOs provide the facility for extensive health check-up. For employees with above 40 years of age, the medical check-up can be done once a year.
  9. Loans: Many companies provide loan facility on three different occasions: Employees are provided With financial assistance in case of a medical emergency. Employees are also provided with financial assistance at the time of their wedding. And, the new recruits are provided with interest free loans to assist them in their initial settlement at the work location.
  10. Educational Benefits: Many companies have this policy to develop the personality and knowledge level of their employees and hence reimburse the expenses incurred towards tuition fees, examination fees, and purchase of books subject, for pursuing MBA, and/or other management qualification at India's top most Business Schools.
  11. Performance based incentives: In many companies they have plans for, performance based incentive scheme. The parameters for calculation are process performance i.e. speed, accuracy and productivity of each process. The Pay for Performance can be as much as 22% of the salary.
  12. Flexi-time: The main objective of the flextime policy is to provide opportunity to employees to work with flexible work schedules and set out conditions for availing this provision. Flexible work schedules are initiated by employees and approved by management to meet business commitments while supporting employee personal life needs .The factors on which Flexi time is allowed to an employee include: Child or Parent care, Health situation, Maternity, Formal education program
  13. Flexible Salary Benefits: Its main objective is to provide flexibility to the employees to plan a taxeffective compensation structure by balancing the monthly net income, yearly benefits and income tax payable. It is applicable of all the employees of the organization. The Salary consists of Basic, DA and Conveyance Allowance. The Flexible Benefit Plan consists of: House Rent Allowance, Leave Travel Assistance, Medical Reimbursement, Special Allowance
  14. Regular Get together and other cultural programs: The companies organizes cultural program as and when possible but most of the times, once in a quarter, in which all the employees are given an opportunity to display their talents in dramatics, singing, acting, dancing etc. Apart from that the organizations also conduct various sports programs such as Cricket, football, etc and regularly play matches with the teams of other organizations and colleges.
  15. Wedding Day Gift: Employee is given a gift voucher of Rs. 2000/- to Rs. 7000/- based on their level in the organization.
  16. Employee Referral Scheme: In several companies employee referral scheme is implemented to encourage employees to refer friends and relatives for employment in the organization।

Even Though the companies are offering the above benefits the turnover of the employees has not come to an end.

Retention Strategies

  • Main retention strategies

Communications - Getting Your People to Care
Communication is the first step toward creating the kind of environment that people care about, and if they care, they just may stay. I'm not talking about a lot of New Age stroking designed to bring out the inner person or false praise that creates a misplaced sense of security. Instead, keep your people in the loop about what's happening with the company. At any time, all of the employees should have a pretty good idea of how business has been, and they should be aware of what issues the company is attempting to address.

  1. How often employees are appraised?
  2. What are the expectations from the employees/team-members?
  3. What are the parameters to measure their performance? Have you communicated to them?
  4. What will be the consequences, if they fail?
  5. What will be the rewards, if they exceed the expected level?

The role of a CEO, HR Manager is like a director of a movie; choreographer of a stage show, where there is a defined role for each character, each participant. Setting expectations initiates the process. Managers need to sit down with each employee and clearly define what's expected of them. Management consultant, Kenneth Philips, states that when expectations are not clear, employees may not be in sync with their job's current demands and priorities. Setting expectations is not a once and done activity. Jobs change. Priorities change. Resources change. Managers need to revise and set new expectations throughout the year. Setting expectations revolves around the following three areas:

  • Key job responsibilities
  • Performance factors and standards
  • Goals

The three principles that should drive expectations are clarity, relevance, and simplicity.

Expectations should focus on outcomes, not activities. In other words, you achieve clarity when you identify the expected results rather than the method for achieving them. Managers often make the mistake of attempting to direct the process that an employee will use rather than being clear about results. The advantage of identifying the outcome is that you, the manager, focus only on the goal; after all, the employee will develop the method for achieving the desired results.
The principle of relevance helps define the "why" of the assignment. If the employees have
a full understanding of the project's importance, they can make adjustments as unanticipated factors crop up within the process. They probably also will be more committed to the result because they can see more easily how it fits into the big picture and how their efforts impact the company.
Simplicity creates a sense of grounding for employees as they endeavor to carry out assignments. If managers identify the work in simple, straightforward terms, employees will find it much easier to follow through on managers' wishes. To accomplish this, a manager must identify the key message in a fashion that the employee can embrace.
Proper Rewarding
A research reports says that in today's scenario,
  • 70% of your employees are less motivated today than they used to be. 80% of your employees could perform significantly better if they wanted to.
  • 50% of your employees only put enough effort into their work to keep their job.

Employee Reward covers how people are rewarded in accordance with their value to an organization. It is about both financial and non-financial rewards and embraces the strategies, policies, structures and processes used to develop and maintain reward systems. The ways in which people are valued can make a considerable impact on the effectiveness of the organization, and is at the heart of the employment relationship. The aim of employee reward policies and practices, if any in the organization is to help build a high degree of recognition value into every reward you offer. Recognition is the most cost-effective motivator there is. While the high cost of other rewards forces us to give them sparingly, recognition can be given any time, at very little cost. Some very ordinary items and events can be imbued with extraordinary motivational significance, far in excess of their monetary value. I am constantly amazed at how motivating a pizza or movie tickets can be if is given with sufficient appreciation. A sincere thank you can be delivered at any place and at any time, costs absolutely nothing and can be more motivationally powerful than a substantial monetary bonus. Organizations can provide innovative recognition in an infinite number of ways.

Highly motivating organizations even celebrate small successes. A health-conscious company
distributes fruit bowls to employees' work areas when key personal milestones are attained. Another company uses a more fattening approach: fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies to say thank you. Reduce entitlements and link as many rewards as possible to performance.
Clearly the traditional "pay for loyalty" systems in most organizations need to be changed. Don't
let attendance be your major criterion for rewards. Most employees resent those who only put in their time and yet receive the same reward as those who go the extra mile. Today's employees have higher expectations for what work can and should be, and they want to receive rewards that reflect their personal efforts and contributions.
This is why so many companies are moving toward performance-based rewards, including
performance bonuses, gain-sharing and non-monetary recognition. Although not a panacea,
companies are finding that these new reward systems do allow them to give substantial rewards to those who really deserve them. Smart organizations are looking for opportunities to reduce across-theboard entitlements, and thereby find more resources for discretionary performance-based rewards, without increasing the total cost of rewards. Troubleshoot your reward system to make sure that what it is rewarding is what you really want to happen.

The Law of Rewards - "What you reward is what you get" - Is extremely powerful.
If you believe teamwork is going to get you the results you want, make sure you reward teamwork, and not internal competition between departments. Reward promptly: Rewards should be given as soon as possible after the performance has taken place. This is why the most successful gain-sharing programs pay employees monthly, rather than quarterly or annually as in the past. There is a well-accepted law of behavioral psychology, that if you want someone to repeat a behavior, you should positively recognize it immediately. From this law, smart supervisors and managers can learn a vital lesson: Look for any employee doing something right, right now, and recognizes it.

A support to this, here is one of the favorite reward story:
"When a senior manager in one organization was trying to figure out a way to recognize an employee who had just done a great job, he spontaneously picked up a banana (which his wife had packed in his lunch), and handed it to the astonished employee with hearty congratulations. Now, one of the highest honors in that company has been dubbed the "Golden Banana Award".
Give employees a choice of rewards. Rewards are as different as the people who receive them and it doesn't make sense to give rewards that recipients don't find rewarding. For example, some people prefer more pay, while others prefer more time off. A promotion might be more rewarding to one person, while a job-sharing arrangement might be more rewarding for another. Some people are excited about sports events, others about movies. Some employees would love a dinner in a romantic restaurant, others a book by their favorite author. Food, fun, education, improved work environment, gifts, travel, family-oriented activities - the options are endless.
Increase the longevity of your rewards. This can be done in a number of ways: One of the keys to reward longevity is symbolism. The more symbolic an item is of the accomplishment, the more likely it is to continue reminding the employee of why it was given. For instance, a T-shirt of coffee mug with a meaningful inscription will continue rewarding those who wear it, or use it, long after its initial receipt.
There are many tokens of appreciation I still keep on or near my desk that remind me of the joy of past accomplishments, while the monetary rewards I have received are long spent and long forgotten. Another way to increase the longevity of rewards in your organization is by using some kind of point system. Rather than rewarding each individual behavior or accomplishment, points can be awarded, which employees can accumulate and eventually trade for items from a reward menu or gift catalog. This keeps the anticipation of rewards fresh for longer periods of time. It also addresses the need for reward individualization.
Be continually vigilant of demotivators that may undermine your organization's best efforts to provide power rewards, and reduce them promptly. Most demotivators can be dramatically reduced by soliciting employee involvement in identifying highestpriority demotivators and by enlisting top-management commitment to support their reduction. It is probably self-evident that considerable sensitivity is needed in the administration of any reward system. One demotivator that is probably endemic in any reward system modification (especially as an organization moves from entitlements to more performance-based rewards) is a sense that something is being taken away. Employees need to be educated about the reasons that this is being done, understand the ultimate benefits to them and the organization, and should probably have some input into the change process.

To avoid the perception of unfairness, it is important, first and foremost, that the process for allocating rewards is viewed by employees as being impartial. This requires an objective measurement system that few organizations have. Without such objective measurement, any reward system is probably destined to failure.

Ancillary Retention Strategies
The quality of the supervision an employee receives is critical to employee retention. People leave managers and supervisors more often than they leave companies or jobs. It is not enough that the supervisor is well liked or a nice person, starting with clear expectations of the employee, the supervisor has a critical role to play in retention. Anything the supervisor does to make an employee feel unvalued will contribute to turnover.
Frequent employee complaints center on these areas.
 Lack of clarity about expectations,
 Lack of clarity about earning potential,
 Lack of feedback about performance,
 Failure to hold scheduled meetings, and
 Failure to provide a framework within which the employee perceives he can succeed.
The ability of the employee to speak his or her mind freely within the organization is another key factor in employee retention. Talent and skill utilization is another environmental factor key employees seek in workplace. A motivated employee wants to contribute to work areas outside of his specific job description. The perception of fairness and equitable treatment is important in employee retention.


Best employees are, those employees you want to retain, seek frequent opportunities to learn and grow in their careers, knowledge and skill. Without the opportunity to try new opportunities, sit on challenging committees, attend seminars and read and discuss books, they feel they will stagnate. A careeroriented, valued employee must experience growth Opportunities within your organization. Take time to meet with new employees to learn about their talents, abilities and skills. Meet with each employee periodically.
No matter what the circumstances are but never, never, ever threaten an employee's job or income. Even if you know layoffs loom if you fail to meet production or sales goals, it is a mistake to foreshadow this information with employees. It makes them nervous; no matter how you phrase the information; no matter how you explain the information, even if you're absolutely correct, your best staff members will update their resumes. I'm not advocating keeping solid information away from people; however, think before you say anything that makes people feel they need to search for another job.

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