Wrestling with Employee Retention

by Veronica Blatt

wrestling-illustrationToday’s guest blogger is NPA member Jeff Kortes with Human Asset Management in Franklin, Wisconsin. Jeff has 25 years of experience as a human resources professional, trainer, and consultant. He has held leadership roles while working for companies such as ConAgra, Midas International, SPX, and Regal Ware, Inc. After three facility closures, a strike and a corporate buyout, Jeff started Human Asset Management LLC. He has trained hundreds of first-line supervisors, managers, and executives during his career.

Dave Nerz recently wrote a blog on the fact that voluntary turnover will be increasing as employee confidence in the economy increases. We are in fact seeing that more and more. Unfortunately for most companies, they don’t see it.

Dave posed the question in his last blog, “What is the best way to keep top talent?” The answer that I often tell my retention consulting clients became VERY clear a couple of weeks ago while I was at the WI State Wrestling Tournament two weeks ago.

My observations? I noticed that there was nothing flashy about the guys that were winning. They tended to stick to the fundamentals and do them very well. Guys would have a good takedown, pinning combination, escape on the bottom and ride their opponent (the four key components of wrestling). As I like to say, they were “grinding out their wins.” Nothing fancy, just tough wrestling with a focus on the FUNDAMENTALS. Wrestling has been like that way as long as I can remember. The best recognize that and place their focus on the fundamentals.

Employee retention is the same way. The organizations that are successful do the fundamentals very well. What do they do?

  • They communicate with their employees. They keep them informed and involved in the business.
  • Provide opportunities for growth, be it in the employee’s job or in their career. They provide variety so people can grow (and stay engaged!) by trying new things.
  • They care about the people that work for them. When people have issues, they are there for them and support them.
  • Most of all, they have solid leadership. Because the leader is the most important part of any job and the one thing that an employee can’t avoid, solid leadership keeps people happy and generally productive in addition to not driving people crazy so they want to start looking for another job.

This stuff isn’t magic! It is about doing fundamentals well…day after day, week after week. If you want to drive employee retention in an organization….just “grind” away at it!