There is a strong relationship between employee loyalty and employee retention. A high-performing business understands this and invests heavily in employee loyalty to redefine employee experiences and maintain performance. So what is the secret to fostering employee loyalty and preventing employee turnover? Keep reading to find out.
The only way to keep your customer loyal to you (and nowadays people talk about customer intimacy) is to understand them at a deeper level, identify those critical touchpoints in their journey – be it the joining day, their first day on the floor, their promotion day(s) or even their exit day (remember, the whole organization is watching how you treat an exiting employee) – and make those moments special.
Retention shouldn’t begin when an employee resigns, it begins when the thought crosses their mind to move on. It’s our job as HR to notice this and strike while the iron is hot. No point trying to retain someone who’s already put in their papers and has mentally moved on. I think every HR professional is well aware that human capital is probably the most valuable resource for an organization and safeguarding them is key.
The brain drain which occurs after the time and effort is put into acquiring, developing, and nurturing talent, has huge impacts on your P&L as well as impedes your growth strategy and futuristic plans.
Now that I belong to the gaming industry as the VP and Head HR at Quadrific Media Pvt. Ltd, I see everything that HR does and it is no different from ‘Marketing’. Marketing comprises the acquisition of new customers and retention of the acquired customers by keeping them engaged and loyal to your brand. Ironically, HR does the exact same thing.
Talent Acquisition acquires talent either organically (through job portals, referrals, or employer branding initiatives) or inorganically (through consultants) and, then, the Talent Management Team (Learning, Organisation Development, Employee Engagement, Succession Planning) nurtures the talent and keeps them engaged and productive. And then, of course, the compliance guys in operations are mirrored in the compensation & operations teams.
Additionally, as internal marketeers, you divide your internal customers into different archetypes, create personas for each archetype, and then design their unique employee journeys (akin to customer journey maps) and create personalized experiences to keep them engaged and loyal each day.Retention is not the job of HR alone. HR is merely the facilitator. Let’s put an equal responsibility (if not more) on the managers of the employees. It’s not HR whom employees meet every single day, it’s their managers who make or… Click To Tweet
It’s simple, isn’t it? The only way to keep your customer loyal to you (and nowadays people talk about customer intimacy) is to understand them at a deeper level, identify those critical touchpoints in their journey – be it the joining day, their first day on the floor, their promotion day(s) or even their exit day (remember, the whole organization is watching how you treat an exiting employee) – and make those moments special.
Always ask yourself, what does my customer need when they reach a personal or professional milestone? What do my customers feel at that point in their journey, what’re their thoughts like? Even Design Thinking begins with empathizing with the customer – looking through their eyes. Event management concepts like ‘Gemba’ talk about living with your people. Qualitative research also speaks of ethnography for the very same reason.
The only way for HR to reach this level of intimacy is a two-pronged approach – One is by building connections with each individual in the organization. I have always ensured that my entire team speaks to their internal customers for an individual session one on one at least once a quarter. This helps us keep a tab on the pulse of the organization and get aware of the undercurrents before things go astray and reach catastrophic levels. The second approach reiterates the quote of Petyr Baelish from Game of Thrones – “Knowledge is Power”.
For this, we need to take data analytics within HR to the next level. Just like how the loyalty team analyses the customer journey data to devise reactivation strategies, the same goes with HR. If you collect and analyse the right data, you can even create predictive models of what an employee would do next, and you can already prevent anything adverse from happening before the ball is set in motion. However, work in this area is still nascent and has a relatively long path to traverse.
Once you do that, you group your employees into archetypes based on their needs and wants, what motivates them, what phase of the employee journey they are at, what’ll attract them to stay back, and then devise suitable strategies to cater to their various needs. As an HR Leader who has worked across several industries, I can predict one thing for sure, you can’t have a “one size fits all” strategy. I completely believe in the concept of “Different Strokes for Different Folks”.
Another important thing that HR needs to do is to get their customers involved in co-creating their journey. Let’s get off our pedestals and high horses, thinking that we’re doing something for our customers. Let’s involve them in ideating and co-creating solutions. This has a dual benefit – you get them emotionally involved, so they are part of the success and you create a solution that they really need rather than what you feel or believe that they need. For example, while diagnosing the organization, you might find a particular subsection of the population tends to leave after two years, so creating something before they reach that landmark so that their average tenure increases from two to three or maybe more.
Similarly, if you find a certain subsection of employees who get motivated by pay, you may want to reduce their annual pay and change it to an intermittent incentive that keeps them going. The same is the case with your high potentials, they may need a pay parity, they need to be treated differently, they need work-life balance too. All it needs is listening at a deeper level and giving them exactly what they need. If you don’t listen, you will end up creating a beautiful intervention, a feather in your cap, a chip on your shoulder and end up with disgruntled employees.
Most importantly, retention is not the job of HR alone. HR is merely the facilitator. Let’s put an equal responsibility (if not more) on the managers of the employees. It’s not HR whom employees meet every single day, it’s their managers who make or break their day. Putting retention into the goals of the managers, building their capability to become better leaders, showing them real-time data of what the pulse of their subsystem is, and helping them create and execute action plans to retain their staff is really where we as HR can add a lot of value to the life of an employee and, in turn, enrich their own credibility as human resource professionals.
And, finally, how do we measure this? Unless you measure, you can’t manage it, right? I recommend setting up a mechanism of measuring internal customer satisfaction or even an internal Net Promoter Score (NPS) which will measure whether our customers will recommend our services to their friends and family and ask them to join us. The outcome of these scores should be in the goal sheets of each HR individual. Not only does it show you the mirror, but it also helps you align your efforts in becoming the employee champion that Dave Ulrich spoke about.
Remember folks, it’s not rocket science to devise retention strategies, it just needs a little bit of bringing the “Human” back into your “Human Resources” function. This should be your employee value proposition that attracts and retains your folks. And remember, no HR jargon please – Keep it Simple, Silly!