Originally published by Smart Business

Insights | Talent by Robin Doerschuk


Your business is losing employees. It’s nothing to worry about. You can just replace them, right?

“Of course businesses can replace employees who choose to leave, but understand that it takes time to hire and train new people. Even an experienced employee can take a year or more to get acclimated,” says Robin Doerschuk, director of strategic solutions at Alliance Solutions Group, the family of companies in which Major Legal Services resides.

That ramp-up time can cost an employer that person’s salary plus additional costs associated with training and getting the new person up to speed. The total expense of replacing an employee ends up being triple the cost of the person’s salary, whether entry-level or executive.

“If you can retain employees for the right reasons, they will succeed and flourish, take on new projects, stay later, work during vacations and holidays because they’re a part of the organization so they want to help,” she says. “They become an ambassador for your company.”

Smart Business spoke with Doerschuk about the costs of turnover and how to keep employees around longer.

What are the top reasons employees leave or look for another job?

The most common reasons employees leave their employers are:

■ Not feeling valued. This is a big one, especially for millennials. This generation of workers particularly needs to feel like they’re being valued. Employees who don’t feel connected to the company or valued for their contribution have no loyalty.

■ Don’t respect their boss. The most cited reason employees give for leaving a company is not having respect for their bosses. This can be the result of a boss breaking an employee’s trust in some way, or when the boss’s role and what they contribute to the business is unclear.

■ No advancement. A company can’t retain talent if it doesn’t develop its employees by investing in their skills. Select someone as a team lead or to manage a special project. Employees who feel as if there’s no chance of a promotion or career development will go somewhere else.

■ Does not offer work/life balance. Offering work/life balance will necessarily mean something different depending on the type of company and the needs of the employee. Those businesses that have employees working in shifts might consider offering the chance to work four 10-hour shifts to give them longer weekends. It may mean allowing someone to leave early to attend a child’s sporting event. Companies with busy periods that require all hands on deck should let employees know the importance of being at work at those times, but should find ways to accommodate employees when things slow down.

■ Not recognized for their work. Employers that want someone to do good work need to let employees know when they’ve done a good job. A recent study suggests millennials need to be told six times per day that they’ve done something well. While this seems to be important for the younger generation of workers, it doesn’t apply to everyone.

How can employers reduce employee turnover?

When employees start, or even during the interview process, ask them about their passions, their strengths. Use the responses to formulate a job description that matches those strengths. Figure out how to get rid of or minimize the parts of the job they may hate and make them responsible for tasks that harness their abilities.

Another key is regular affirmations. Let them know when they’re contributing to the team. If they feel they have your respect as a manager, they’ll work harder. Trust them with projects, give them freedom to fail and teach them how to improve so they don’t fail next time.

Today’s employers must think differently. Actively work to find things you can do to improve — change your hiring or training procedures, allow flexibility in employee roles, offer more of what they’re looking for in order to keep them. Don’t treat employees as a number. Treat them as individuals and retention will take care of itself.