Companies that manage their employees well are also successful in getting the maximum profit from their work. Organizations that rank high in employee engagement are often some of the most profitable and successful companies. Poor employee engagement usually adversely affects turnover, poor customer service, low morale and a generally demotivated bottom line.
As the job market shifts from companies to professionals, so does the balance of power. This encourages employers to proactively bring policies within their companies, which will directly impact and improve retention initiatives. The cost of implementing such strategies is a lot less than the cost of replacing the best performers in the company.
As Gallup reports that disengagement costs hurt the U.S. by around $500 billion annually, it easily illustrates why employee retention is important.
For companies that desire to build an appealing work culture that retains employees, here are a few companies that provide some actionable employee retention ideas.
Hyatt: Training for the long run
On an average, a housekeeping staff in Hyatt stays with it for more than 12 years. In fact, more than 14,000 of the estimated 75,000 US employees at the Hyatt have worked for more than a decade with the company. Moreover, Hyatt has championed diversity in its workforce. For ten years running, Hyatt has been declared the best employer in the Human Rights Campaign’s Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality list. The AARP highlighted Hyatt’s commitment to hiring older Americans. It has also been featured by the NAACP and Hispanic Business magazine for recruiting African American and Hispanic employees respectively. Clearly, the hotel company has several retention efforts that are worth emulating.
The training program at Hyatt, for instance, is brilliant. Besides, the company has a top-notch program of lateral hiring by identifying potential leaders from its existing workforce. It trusts its employees so much that the number one source of new hires in the company is via recommendations by its Employee Referral Program. In the last few years, the company started a training module called “Change the Conversation,” based on principles from the Stanford School of Design that emphasizes listening.
Mars, Inc.: Sweet to its employees
According to research by Fortune, the turnover in the company is only around 5% in the United States and it can claim families who have had multiple generations working for the company.
It’s not just that Mars Inc. treats its employees with free M&Ms, but the colossal chocolate and snack food empire also prefers to show its appreciation to employees for living the company values. A 100% family-owned business, Mars Inc. has five principles — quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency, freedom — which are on every wall of every Mars office and manufacturing site across 73 countries. Further, Mars takes its principles seriously. Take, for example, “quality.” Around 2% of all M&Ms produce are discarded for “blemishes” or other failures in quality. This dedication and adherence to values are reflected in the loyalty it has earned from its workforce.
SouthWest Airlines: Allowing autonomy, recognizing performance
Southwest Airlines is a company epitomized in its employee engagement practices. The credit for this goes to the company’s practice of encouraging employees to stay inspired to do things differently. They’ve allowed autonomy like no other. Employees from various departments are free to design their own official dress. They discuss their work life. By becoming a great example of customer service by having happy, committed employees, SouthWest puts employee happiness above customer satisfaction.
Recognizing their employees who really go the extra mile is another important aspect of Southwest’s engagement practices. Every week, the CEO of the company gives a “shout out,” where he publicly praises employees who delivered more than what was expected of them. It also gives a monthly feature recognition in SouthWest’s magazine to an employee who stood out that month.
World Travel Holdings: Work from home full time
From an employee’s point of view, work from home option is hugely desirable as it supports their need for work-life balance. Data from Intuit reveals that 79 percent of full-time workers want to work from home at least part of the time. In this context, companies such as World Travel Holdings, a leading cruise company, which offer work from home options, boost their employee engagement efforts considerably. The figure of employees that work from home full time can be as high as 70 percent.
We place a strong value on creating an environment, where our employees can work from home, which has been instrumental in us being able to hire and retain top talent.” --Debbie Fiorino, Senior Vice President of Human Resources.
DreamWorks Animation: Celebrate success with rewards
Employees at Dreamworks Animation are not only cheered by the amazing animation they create but are also provided with perks such as free refreshments, paid opportunity to decorate workspaces and company parties after big projects are completed. A practice that employees really appreciate is that at such parties and events, people are encouraged to showcase their achievements at work and projects with their peers. This creates an opportunity for appreciation of non-work related projects, gives a fillip to creativity and gives employees the feeling that they are more than just the workers for the company.
ScrewFix: Open, honest feedback
This U.K.based hardware company ensures that its employee engagement scores are always high, by giving employees the opportunity to provide feedback every fortnight, without rules or guidelines to their managers. They are encouraged to give their inputs on everything -- how things are going, the company’s culture of interaction with customers and suggestions for betterment, how they think about the working environment and the style of management. Among other initiatives, one result of this activity is the implementation of a new customer card, which quickens the in-store process, identifying customers and enabling them to make quick purchases. Like many other initiatives now in place, this would never have come to fruition, had the employees not been asked to give their input. Having this kind of regular, 360-degree feedback in the organization makes employees feel trusted and valued for their ideas, it also steers the conversation and creates a company culture where people feel that they make a difference. They feel that their value is more than just their role and they really contribute to the company’s growth.
Charles Schwab: Treat employees like customers
Charles Schwab doesn’t just focus on the financial prospects of its clients; it divests the same concern and attention into the financial future of its workforce. The company has finance-based benefit plan for its employees as part of its employee recognition process. Most of the company’s employees also participate in the corporate bonus plan which helps them to secure their future. One of the most effective and unique employee retention initiatives of the company is to allow the employees to help their peers to go forward. Employees are offered complimentary personal Charles Schwab financial consultations and support. The company also runs financial workshops and discounts and savings on their own trading and portfolio. To strengthen the employee’s financial status, they also give their employees an employee stock purchase plan and comprehensive medical, dental and visual plans.