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Four-step Strategy for Retaining Employees

October 1, 1998
Related Topics: Retention, Featured Article
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An effective way to manage turnover is to use a process that ensures consistency and keeps good information in front of leaders. One way to do this is using a four-step process: Assess, measure, evaluate, and plan (AMEP). Each step provides maximum consideration to work your way through the myths and day-to-day distractions that may disguise reality.

Assess. The first step in controlling turnover is to value human assets. Rank the top third, middle third, and bottom third of your employees in categories in terms of value to the organization. To be accurate, agree on real measures, such as productivity, output, competencies and teamwork. The outcome of this process is a ranking report that is used to measure the "departure impact" of that employee to the organization. The ultimate goal: Retain the top third by focusing time, energy, and resources to make sure that they’re satisfied.

Measure. The second step is to measure the replacement costs of the top third so that the organization has a yardstick of market worth. Basically, it’s a risk report. Take into consideration all the hard costs associated with replacement, including customer impact, productivity, knowledge, etc.

Evaluate. The third step is to actually have a powerful conversation strategy with the top third and then work down. A powerful conversation is an honest discussion about what the employee needs and what the employee wants. These discussions are best held in a situation where the focus is totally on the employee and his or her desire. For the manager, out of this conversation comes a vulnerability report which leads to a plan.

Plan. This final stage is where a leader and the employee reach an agreement on how to approach the needs and wants via a structured plan.

This four-step process is a useful tool for logically meeting the critical responsibility of leaders to retain key people. Make clear who your key employees are, determine what would happen if they should leave, recognize the risks, and make a plan to go forward.

Find this and other advice on hundreds of different HR topics at the Workforce Online "Tips of the Day," www.workforceonline.com/digest/tips. A new tip is added every day.

Workforce Extra, October 1998.
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