Managing Sleepless Nights: Employee Retention

Posted by Lee Ann Collins, CPA, Managing Partner on Jan 30, 2019

First and foremost, I need to introduce myself. My name is Lee Ann Collins, managing partner of an accounting and advising firm in Dallas called Lane Gorman Trubitt, LLC (LGT), and this job is keeping me up at night.

During one of my many sleepless nights, I had a nightmare that our social media marketer just up and quit because she decided to pursue a career in interpretive dance. While Bell isn’t currently interested in completely flipping her life upside down, she is not under a contract to stay here. Like most of our employees, Bell stays because she feels valued, and we try to make it more desirable to stay than to leave.

Employee retention is a challenge for every company, and here at LGT we know not everyone who walks into our office will stay forever. Here are a few tips to keep the staff you love.

Pay them

Find out what your competitors are paying and be as competitive as you can. Salary is only one part of an overall compensation package that will keep your employees happily working instead of off shopping for tap shoes. Include a paid time off system that allows them to take the time they need to avoid burn out, and make sure their health and retirement benefits mean they don’t have to worry about the future. In addition, at least once a year, run an awareness campaign so that they know all the aspects of their plans. A well-informed staff is a staff that stays.

Mentor them

That brand-new CPA-to-be does not understand all that is involved in becoming a powerhouse accountant. A good mentoring program can make the difference between a new employee staying a year and a new employee headed toward partner. Mentor programs can suffer from pairing problems, so don’t be afraid to make adjustments as you are going along. Try to avoid assigning an employee a mentor who is in their direct-line or supervisor, and make sure mentors understand what this relationship is, and how it should evolve. Also realize that not everyone will find a good match off the bat.

Brand them

Your employees are going to be on the internet. It is unavoidable, and keeping them safe from the headhunting beasts on LinkedIn seems like a job all on its own. Take every opportunity to publicly claim them as valued members of your company. We like to talk about our employees with videos. Bragging culture is a real part of our online presence that allows our employees every opportunity to be shown off and to be proud of their company.

Hear them

Listening to your employees and their wants and needs is important. Annual satisfaction surveys can allow you to get an insight into your workforce and what they would like to see more of and what they would like to see changed. It also provides a clear view of their needs. Maybe they don’t understand how the paid time-off system works or maybe they need more encouragement to get up and move. By asking your employees what they like and what they would like to see changed can give you the best roadmap to an employee’s satisfaction and possible retention.

Know them

Not every employee needs the same amount of onboarding. But having a standard and making sure that it is department-specific is very important. Onboarding needs to include not just the rules and standards but an introduction to the culture of the company.

We are a family here, and we want our employees to know that. Not only do we help them figure out the binder of information that we need them to know, we also take them out to lunch so that they can get to know their department heads. We like to show off the family we love at LGT.

Onboarding also should be different for each department. While our core rules and values are in every binder, they vary after that. Our tax professionals get a software walk through, and our marketing team has a brand image walkthrough. It is important to let each department participate in building their own training manual.

 

No matter how you look at employee retention it requires work. There is no magic wand that I can wave and make my nightmares go away. However, I know I can get a good night’s sleep knowing that Bell isn’t watching dance videos because she wants a new career. She just needed a new program to help her move more. Her creativity and energy were better channeled by using a standing desk and a pair of high-quality earphones that allowed her to listen to music. All this took was a short conversation with her to realize what she needed to accomplish her job better. I know my employees are taken care of and happy because we are taking the time to listen and make sure they have the access and compensation they need.

 

Make sure your employees are happy and not looking for a dance career. Our small business consulting services can help your company with everything from benefit plans to business expansion. Your numbers are our passion.

Click here for a free consultation

 

Topics: consulting, small business, benefits, ACS, employee retention, managing sleepless nights

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