What Keeps Your Employees With You? Money? Benefits? Think Again… #retention

Friday I read something that shocked me a little:

When I was growing up I heard about the job hoppers of Silicon Valley who could “go across the street for a $10k raise.” Apparently it was all the rage back then. Companies were fighting over talent by throwing money and start-up bonuses (new Beemer, anyone?) while talent really was walking across the street for another $10k. At the time I didn’t quite understand it… on the one hand, how cool that you could grow your income by changing jobs every year. On the other hand, what about loyalty?

Snowfly Money Salary CultureI’m older now. Hopefully a bit wiser. And I’ve been around the street and have been beat up a little. I get it more than I did back then. Treat me right and I”ll stay. Don’t treat me right? There are other companies that are interested in me.

Back to the O.C. Tanner Global Culture Report, why would “most” employees go to another company if the role, pay, and benefits are similar? Isn’t that a little shocking? A little scary?

Maybe raising a salary nominally won’t make a difference, or if it does, the allure will wear off if other things don’t change.

Why are people leaving? Is it “culture?” We’ve been hearing about culture for decades. But what is it, really, and how do we create the culture that will keep employees longer?

Here’s a question: if you are going to invest in your employees, would it be better to spend $x by giving it directly to them, or would it be better to spend $x by “creating culture”?

Speaking of Silicon Valley, if you think about the the culture of companies there, you might think about game rooms, on-site laundry, and of course on-site cafeterias. Is that culture?

When I worked last year the company made it very clear they were big on culture. That came to mean a lot of talk about how the DON’T do game rooms, because game rooms aren’t culture. That’s an okay argument if you define what IS culture. For example, on more than one occasion the boss, a member of the executive team, would walk around after 5pm and say “It’s time to go home. The work will be here tomorrow.” I loved that. Part of the culture was “go home, get recharged, get a hobby if you need to. Tomorrow come back ready to go all-in. But after 5 is your time.”

That one thing, I’m sure, kept people who had offers of a similar role with similar pay and similar benefits. And I don’t think it cost the company much more than just really good management, to ensure that during work hours everyone was all-in.

If you are concerned about retention I invite you to set aside talk about how you need to pay more (as long as you are paying at or very near industry average) and talk a lot more about what you can do to create a culture where people want to come, contribute to, and participate in. If you have leaders who lead by fear, strongly consider getting rid of them. They may be the best, highest-performing leaders you have, but they are destroying your culture. If you have leaders who foster a culture of getting away with things, get rid of them. Sounds basic but I’ve seen too many situations where bad leaders are untouchable and are doing harm to your culture.

How can you encourage employees to be all-in? To be proactive, and to bring their best self-discipline and creativity to the team? How can you encourage them to be inclusive of others, and help others feel excited to come to work?

When the program I was working on was killed last year the thing I missed the most was the teams I got to work with. I certainly didn’t miss the pay, nor did I miss the politics. I missed my people. Other worker bees who were exceptional, and excited to be there, and giving it their all. I missed the high level of intellectual thinking and problem solving, and being a part of it all. I missed being on the inside.

Teams are powerful (not a picture of my team)That is what you want to facilitate. You can’t make people feel that way, but you can create and nurture an environment that helps your team grow into that. And at that point, pay and benefits become a much smaller part of why I stick around.

If you want to talk about how to create this type of culture with Snowfly tools, reach out to us. We’d love to talk, share what we are learning from other companies, and share some best practice ideas. We’re all about culture, employee performance, and employee engagement.

Reach out to us here.

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