RETENTION: If Google Can’t Crack It, What Hope is There for Me?

It’s time to stop making excuses for your poor retention numbers.

What’s the first thing you think of when tech giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Uber are mentioned? High salaries and happy employees? Amazing perks like extended parental leave policies, free meals, and onsite chefs, free yoga/CrossFit/acupuncture/? Office jungle gyms with INDOOR SLIDES? Let’s face it. These tech giants are too cool for school. (Clearly, cooler than I am if I’m still using phrases like that.) You’d think with all of these awesome benefits, people would never, ever want to leave. However, the tech industry has some of the highest turnover rates and lowest employee tenure rates:

  • Facebook: 2.02 years

  • Google: 1.90 years

  • Amazon: 1.84 years

  • Uber: 1.23 years

It’s easy to take a look at your retention rates and think to yourself, “If Google can’t crack it, what hope is there for me? We can’t offer perks like that!”

While sexy perks are often attractive during the recruitment process, they play a very small role in employee retention. The good news is, employee retention strategies don’t need to cost you big bucks. The bad news is, they are going to take some effort! This isn’t a problem you can solve with your pocketbook. Never fear! We’ve got some helpful tips for your retention strategy that are industry agnostic. Whether you are in tech, healthcare, finance, you name it - these rules apply!

Learn from the old and wise

Don’t round up a focus group of your oldest employees - that’s age discrimination. Take time to talk to your employees who have been there the longest. Why do they choose to stay? What do they value? You’d be surprised by some of the answers. Look at your own team first when creating your retention strategy to make sure that you are crafting the right methods for your organization, your culture, and your people.

Focus on Alignment

Unfortunately, this one isn’t as easy as it sounds. In order to make sure your people are aligned with the right role, team, or project, you need to know your people! I know that sounds scary, especially for a large organization, but we told you that retention isn’t necessarily easy. Luckily, there are lots of tools out there to help (hint, hint… ) and more importantly, even small steps like initiating new conversations can help you move in the right direction.

Empower your Managers

When employees leave, nearly half cite that their relationship with their manager played a role in their decision to part ways. This isn’t a time to point fingers at your managers, though. Instead, make sure that your managers have the right resources they need to be good managers! Do they have enough time in their day to get their work done and manage their team? Have they been promoted for their technical expertise, but could use some additional coaching on how to manage? Set your managers are set up for success.

Do Your Research & Stop Throwing Your Money at Fads

I’m going to stay it again - throwing money at your retention problem isn’t necessarily going to solve anything. That being said, when you are looking to invest money into your team, make sure it’s going to make an impact. Make sure you are listening to your team and focusing on issues that will make the biggest impact on them. Are many of them starting families and looking for daycare assistance? Is traffic a problem? Could they benefit from free public transit? Do they need more flexibility in their healthcare? Look for perks that will make a meaningful difference for your team, not just look cool on your website.

Recognize that staying is a choice

THIS. 100 PERCENT THIS! Each day your people show up to work for your organization is a day that they CHOSE to work for you. They are choosing you over someone else. There’s absolutely no reason they couldn’t get a job somewhere else. Start thinking that way and showing your team that you value them as individuals. Assume your people are there because they want to be there, not just because they need to make a living somehow. This simple shift will go miles in impacting the morale and loyalty of your people. Do you have additional retention tips, strategies, or methods that have worked for your team? Share them in the comments below!

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