HR Studies and HR Training For Employee Retention
An important topic to discuss in any HR training program or HR studies course is the idea of employee retention. During a down economy, retention tends to be higher across all industries because people need jobs, and fewer opportunities exist out there. However, when the economy recovers, people will “jump ship” if they find other companies treat good workers better than their current employer. If a company can build a strong and loyal base of employees, it will have an advantage over other companies that cannot create that same loyalty.
We believe moving up the “relationship chain” is critical for organizations. A long-lasting relationship that converts to strong retention is the desired result for companies that want to sustain themselves through good times and bad.
One might define the employee relationship chain in three parts:
• First Stage: The Start of an Opportunity
• Second Stage: Building a Partnership
• Third Stage: A Strong Relationship
These stages have been studied and utilized extensively in the world of marketing and branding, and are common lessons in HR studies or HR training. Let’s discuss each stage in more detail.
First Stage: The Start of an Opportunity
Some people say that initial act of hiring an employee can be considered “entering a relationship”. We do not agree: the initial contract is just that – a contract – not a relationship. It is an opportunity to create a relationship between the employee/company and the employee. The employee is looking to be provided with good work in a stable environment. Sometimes there are still feeling of uncertainty (for the employer, employee, or both) – employee orientation can help to assuage this. At this point both employee and company are focused on continuing the opportunity and beginning to build a relationship.
We can look at the vocabulary of the employee as an indicator of which stage of the relationship chain we are in. In this first stage the employee is simply saying, “give me assignments; how will you rate me?”
Second Stage: Building a Partnership
In this stage, the employee has experienced consistency and decided there is a fit. This stage is achieved only if you have engagement where the company delivers what is promised especially in the way of meaningful work, compensation, and measurement. As an HR professional, it is important to deliver these things, which you can learn how to do in various HR studies or HR training programs. You have the employee’s share of mind where his or her skepticism turns to confidence. At that time (s)he starts becoming engaged in areas beyond the scope of the specific work assignments. Maybe this means joining task teams or participating in employee forums and events. The focus at this stage is on the outcome, with less emphasis on adherence (though remember, confidence can be lost faster than gained).
The vocabulary that indicates this stage moves from “give me assignments” to “let’s figure out how to achieve this”, and from “how do you rate me” to “how can I grow and improve”.
Third Stage: A Strong Relationship
This last stage, the highest stage, is the sought-after stage in the employee relationship chain. The employee trusts the company and the company’s leaders, and sees them as advisors. The employee is fully invested in the company and the employee becomes an ambassador for the brand. This is beneficial for both the employee and the company. Employee and company share the same goals and values. At this stage of the relationship employee and company work together to co-create the best opportunities and build a great business. Now the employee’s vocabulary reflects a long term commitment to his or her position. The employee wants to work on building a plan for the future and growing the company is in his or her best interests as well as the company’s.
In summary one might as the question, “why is it important for employees to progress in the relationship chain? Think of it as a geometric progression of retention. If the people in the first stage have an average retention variable of X, then in the second stage the average retention is 2X, and the top stage is 4X. You can get a more in depth look at these topics through various HR studies and HR training programs.