Choosing the right candidates and hiring the best fit for your company culture and job needs is the first step in building a winning team. But how do you keep that team together? The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that the average tenure for an employee is 4.7 years. That’s a big change from days past when a good career could mean 30 years with the same employer.
Why the change? Are young workers just unwilling to embrace company loyalty like the previous generations?
In fact, the opposite is true.
Sending the Wrong Signal
Consider your new hire’s first day on the job. They are welcomed into the company with enthusiasm and the employee reciprocates by expressing dedication to the company goals. Then they’re taken to the Human Resources department where they sign documents saying they’re an “at will” employee and the company may fire them at any time. What a disconnect! This action causes a conflict between excitement to start their position and the reality that they can be jobless at a moment’s notice. This forces the employee to keep their eye on the job market, the company risks losing a good hire, and managers are caught in the middle, struggling to retain good talent.
Keeping Skilled Workers
What keeps skilled workers from jumping at the next opportunity or a dissatisfied employee from leaving without a chance to work on the issue? Today we’d like to share with you a successful strategy utilized by Linkedin. The software and IT industry is highly competitive with many more positions available than skilled worker to fill them. Sound familiar? The Alliance Strategy, created by co-founder of Linkedin, Reid Hoffman, treats employees like allies on a tour of duty. In this strategy, employment is treated like an alliance between the employees and employer including a mutually beneficial deal. It outlines each party’s commitment to the other. The employee lends their skills and experience to the company, and the company invests in the employee’s career development.
This counteracts the usual implications of being an “at will” employee and helps to build trust. The employee instead agrees to meet some specific goal within the next one to three years that helps the company. In return, the company provides benefits and career development to help the employee reach their personal life goals. At the end of their “tour of duty” the employee is free to move on to the next step in their career, even if it’s with another company. However, more likely the employee will feel valued in your organization and work with you to create their new goals for their next “tour of duty.”
The Tours of Duty
The Alliance Strategy goes even further and breaks up these “tours” into three distinct concepts:
- The Rotational Tour – This targets entry-level employees to build their baseline knowledge. It helps them reach the goal of advancing to the next level in the company. For example, a sales trainee could move up to sales representative.
- The Foundational Tour – This works well for more experienced employees. Those with established careers strengthen their ties with the company by tying their personal goals with the objectives of the company.
- The Transformational Tour – This tour recognizes talented employees with valued skills and gives them a project or goal that will improve their resume and enhance their skillset while adding to the company’s success. At the end of their tour the employee and company have transformed to a higher level as a result of the agreement.
Just remember that each of these “tours” provide the employee with a specific goal on a realistic timeline. The employer then offers specific career benefits for the employee. The key is to be specific. This is the employer’s commitment to the employee and what they will provide in return.
This strategy may seem counterproductive when trying to develop personal and rewarding relationships with new employees. However, used correctly, these agreements demonstrate your proven commitment to the success of your employees as well as your organization. Each completed “tour of duty” will build the trust that your employees are seeking.
This process might not be a fit for everyone, or for every position in your organization, but it can be a tool you use when faced with high turnover and a need to build stronger relationships with your team.
For more strategies for employee retention, contact the career experts at Career 1 Source today.
A version of this article also appeared on the AgriSync Blog as a guest post from our sister company, Ag 1 Source.