There's no doubt that employee retention has a massive impact on the bottom line for all companies. Employee turnover is a really high cost to businesses as they re-hire for the role and induct new employees, it's really time-consuming. We know that excellent employee retention not only saves in time and money, but it can also set you apart as an innovative company with a great culture and a great brand. Think about the likes of Google and Apple as an example. Let's face it not only will this help attract top talent, but it will also help you retain it. So, assessments like DISC and FinxS workplace assessments allow us to identify talent and understand their unique needs, such as their ideal environment and factors that may negatively impact their stress levels. Using DISC and FinxS assessments, we can also learn how employees are motivated. We can find keys to providing rewards and incentives, which is essential as they are truly inspired to respond to the right reward program as many of you would know.
Why Does Employee Retention Matter?
Before we delve into the assessment side of things, let's just have a quick reminder about why good employee retention actually matters in the first place. In this day of tough competition, the remote worker interspersed teams, diverse teams and the increasing competition to gain that top talent. These organisations tend to focus intensely on maximising their creative abilities. This includes understanding their staff's strengths and communications, implementing the right reward programs and introducing continued learning and development programs that tend to be ahead of the ball game. So, by engaging employees job satisfaction is significantly increased, and employee turnover is reduced.
Any little quick look on Google and you can pretty much find the cost for businesses, from everything like retention to re-hiring. The cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5 to 2 times the employee's annual salary, that's a bit scary. One of the biggest expenses companies take on in the face of employee turnover is the cost to retrain new employees. In a nutshell, employee retention is truly the art of holding on to your staff once you've hired them. I know that many companies are restructuring this year due to Covid, and they're struggling out there. There are regrettable circumstances that employees are being let go in this climate as well.
Why is Employee Retention Important?
In 2020 it was imperative to try and hold on to good staff, especially those representing the company well. Why? Well because companies have long woken up to the competitive advantage of being a people company. The old 'churn and burn' approach to hiring often results in poor customer service and brand image. So, why is retaining good staff such an issue? Well, because customers are placing increasing value on great service. With things like smartphones, it's even easier to find a competitor or company to buy from asap or in the case of consumer goods to avoid a shop altogether and order online. Often the only thing you've got going for you as a differentiator is your people. Thinking about how easy it is, let's take Uber as an example, if you're not happy with some of the uber service, you can choose an alternative, like Ola or DiDi or just ring a cab. If you don't like either of those, you can go elsewhere at a click of a button. Retaining good employees is pretty vital.
Why Do Employees Leave Organisations
What is it that drives people to leave in the first place? Most of us, including myself, have some stories in the past as to why we left or moved on from a company. Some of the common issues and key drivers of employees leaving are:
- Toxic Culture
- Lack of Purpose or Meaning
- A Bad Boss
A toxic culture describes a culture that doesn't fit its people, the type of corporate culture that sabotages morale, scares away new talent and actively drives away its best people. Sadly such a culture can emanate from one person.
People may also leave due to a lack of purpose which is why employee engagement assessments are a key strategy for detecting this as early as possible. People need their work to have meaning or some kind of purpose. Working with a shared purpose can increase motivation, performance and create more cohesive teams. The purpose may be the product or service itself, but it can also be the enjoyment of working in a positive team.
Another reason why employees leave is due to being overworked. Too much work and subsequently, too much stress is also a major factor in an employee's decision to leave and find work elsewhere. Sadly, overwork isn't uncommon, and to this day, it's usually the norm.
Boredom is another common reason why people leave their jobs. Employees grow bored with work for several different reasons. They often feel that their capabilities are underused or their job lacks meaning so boredom can set in. Often bored employees are more stressed than overworked.
A bad boss can also cause an employee to leave their job. People don't leave their jobs, they say they leave their managers. This one kind of goes without saying, but I included it anyway because a bad boss is one of the most common causes of employee turnover.
Employee Retention Strategies
Like anything, some companies don't practice the art of retention. There are definitely companies that really try to implement the best practice too. I really enjoyed researching that. I was interested in exploring Apple's strategy and some of what they say works for them. At one stage, Apple had an issue of shop staff churn. They implemented some specific ideals centring around decreasing this churn. They ended up increasing their shop staff retention by 28% just last year in doing this.
Apple actively says these aspects are what they introduced:
- They must have a strong vision and have a leader who can communicate it and communicates it often.
- Be careful not to undervalue any individual. Stay in tune with the employee sentiment. DISC is the perfect tool for this exact area. To sit with an employee and search out deeper issues before they even become an issue.
- Keep people informed. Like the good old coffee machine and water cooler in the past, social media can feed both positive and negative feelings or rumours in the absence of good communication. So transparency, keeping staff up to date, open communication channels, safety and diversity of opinions, are all things that can feed into positive reinforcement and keeping employees informed and communicated with.
- Choose the right employees to begin with. This is a big one. Apple puts a massive emphasis on team and cultural fit in alignment with potential new hires' vision and mission than any other attribute. Skills are more comfortable to train than attitudes, so their thing is to choose the right employee. They put a lot into their recruitment and hiring programs.
- Continually train and develop people. Just look at some of the tools that can help assess specific areas to add development to them. So with training and development, Apple uses many assessments, and they use a lot of different tools and information and types of training to keep their people going.
It was fascinating researching what Apple use for recruitment and getting their employee recruitment right. They use a lot of assessments and science-backed information, as well. They keep people informed, obviously through technology, but also informing them in the right way for who they are so they can listen and want to learn in the right way.
Employee Retention Tools
The first Employee Retention tools I want to look at is using the DISC assessments to improve job satisfaction. We get the picture, and we understand that to get better job satisfaction, we truly do need to understand our employees better. We must learn and understand their unique qualities to have better job satisfaction to adapt ourselves to them. What they're what are their individual needs? What are their unique wants? Their strengths? Their avoidance areas? Motivators, rewards? What are their preferred environments? What are their fears? What do they need in a manager? The list of questions goes on! It sounds like a lot to learn, and you are actually right, but that's why we use DISC and the FinxS assessments to provide team profiling and information about our people in a way that first of all makes sense but is actually usable to us.
For my own personal use, just the DISC methodology alone and knowing about the four primary DISC personality types helps me understand an employee, such as how they interact and their stress levels. If you can actually do an assessment, this yields the best knowledge of your employees because it can really get down to the unique traits.
Recruiting the right fit is pretty important. Apple says it is, Google says it is, I say it is too! I have clients who still solely rely on gut feeling and guessing during a face-to-face interview in my own consultancy. As you know, we tend to have a bias for people who are a little bit more like ourselves. Why? Because it's easier to chat with them and they do their doing, like activities, similar to ourselves. So, we tend to go 'yeah they're great, let's hire them!' However, it's not always what the job position requires or needs. I love assessments in the recruitment and hiring steps, although I definitely make sure that using assessments is not the only aspect I choose to find the right fit. I give a lot of consideration to assessments to provide insights on specific factors that might not be tangible in the interview process. Your recruitment strategy will be unique to your own company or yourself or your consultancy. Like many say it should actually include various tools like interviews, assessments, reference checking, etc.
I use Extended DISC in recruitment a lot, and here are some of the areas that I tend to use it for. Things like team fit, especially finding the gaps in the team. Am I filling the gaps with someone specifically because they need it or am I recruiting someone similar to the other people we've got because I've already proved that that imprint works? I look at motivators and demotivators. What is it going to take for me to keep them motivated with my managers? What is going to potentially demotivate them about this new position if they come into it? What are the natural avoidance areas going to be? Natural avoidance areas are more likely to require some training or support if I hire the candidate. What are their pressure and stress points? These are pretty important because these are some of the main factors with disengagement and lack of job satisfaction.
Another significant factor for employee retention is how the new hire will prefer to be managed by the leader. Do they like a less formal, chatty relationship and the ability to make decisions with the manager? Or is this position going to be more autonomous, and the leader will not be able to give them what they need. These factors are essential to make sure that you have the right fit. It's not fair on the employee if you're hiring a person that likes to ask a lot of questions and verify the information and this manager tends to be a lot more autonomous. You might need to consider a way that they could interact better. I also look at their strengths and how that ties back to the actual position. Could we increase their scope in some way so that I can incorporate more of their strengths or do I have a lot of sort of demotivator parts in there, and I could actually take functions of their job or position away?
The other thing is how others in the team might see them. Where they may need support concerning behaviours or challenges that they might potentially have with people. Are they going to be on the are they going to be a little bit of a lone wolf, or are they going to mix easily with other people? This type of information can give me insights into how they might prefer to act and react. It also gives me insights to ask specific questions in the interview. By looking through their report, it prompts me to ask them more informative questions on particular areas. Furthermore, I can also look at how this new candidate will fit into the team, the design, and the team context.
There is a free add-on tool to the DISC Assessment called the Research Module. The research module allows you to add tailored questions to the beginning or end of an Extended DISC questionnaire. You can write these yourself, and they are separate from the DISC questionnaire that produces the Extended DISC assessment. These are questions that enable you to ask further questions about a candidate's cv or work experience. You can also add open questions on specific situations. You can also include multi-choice questions to help fine-tune all sorts of information required in the recruitment process. For those of you that are using quite a few assessments in a recruitment project, you're able to ask some additional questions before you get to the interview stage to help further reduce the candidate pool. The questions then appear in the Extended DISC Report. Many people are unaware of the Research Module, but it can be used for several applications. I've used it a couple of times in the past where I've wanted to know a little bit more verification about someone's training, how much training they've had, and what kind of training they've had before I progress further with them. The feature can be adapted for all sorts of situations. Don't forget it is in your FinxS online platform and free to use.
Many companies, including fortune 500 companies right down to SME's and tend to use a mix of assessments, especially when it comes to recruiting. I do this myself as well. I also use the Reasoning Analysis, a cognitive ability test, to provide me with different information from a behavioural assessment. I primarily use that reasoning analysis if it's a mid to senior position because it does test things like logical reasoning, social context, and word association. The cognitive ability tests complement your DISC report, and you can order a combination report with essential information from both tools. If I'm using a DISC recruitment report, I use the Reasoning Analysis too as I've then got two different types of reports that give me further information. Be careful as you don't want to overdo and exhaust the candidate with too many assessments. Choose the right balance of information and only aspects that are a priority in that position. The cognitive test includes nine different tests which can take upwards of 2 and a half hours to complete. I'd strongly recommend you only choose three to four crucial aspects of that reasoning analysis to have feedback on things that are a priority in that particular position.
Employee Retention Techniques
DISC really shines in employee retention and getting to understand employees' individuality and then developing the right aspects to fit the job even better. I've been asked to come into companies many times that have had some sort of development. It's been so general that really half the employees don't actually relate to it or don't need that particular part or it doesn't really relate to them. What happens then is they lose a sense of purpose. When they don't have that purpose, they get bored, and they literally check out, the challenge is gone. All employees should have further learning and development, and we know that. Places like Apple are very forthright about that particular topic. It's not just the employees learning, it's also the managers learning to lead, coach, and inspire their people too but in the right way that is unique to the person. So this is where DISC assessments give mass amounts of self-awareness to both employees and managers in how they prefer to operate daily.
A DISC report gives insights as I've mentioned time and time again into things like preferred communication, how an employee likes to be managed, things that demotivate them, their strengths, their development areas, team attributes, avoidance areas, team design, leadership challenges, how they like to learn, and decision making. That's pretty powerful stuff imagine knowing all that and helping and understanding someone. They would feel highly valued, they would have a purpose and good communication. It's not likely that they will be searching for a job elsewhere unless something significant happens because they really do have that sense of value and purpose.
Employee Training and Development
I personally use DISC bi-annually as part of my client's performance review. I find it really important that both managers and employees discuss things like how the employee feels they are using their strengths in the position. Is it enough? How can we improve the job scope to use more of their strengths and things that motivate them? We look at things demotivating them, where we can further support them or where we can remove a demotivator all together. We look at communication. How do they need to be communicated to with the managers or peers? Is it verbally one-on-one, or is it group chats? How much detail, background, facts, or results do they like. We also discuss things like written communication so they can process the information on time. I know this is really detailed stuff, but at the end of the day, each person is unique in their needs, and that is the thing that's really creating job satisfaction and retention. We can improve things for them if there's open communication.
Using the DISC profile report really does turn the review into a very unique and personal journey where both manager and employee have clear expectations for the next six months or year if you structure it that way. The employees value their reports and often use their assessments during the year to speak up and clarify something about themselves with others or their managers when they don't actually have the words for it. They take their reports to meetings and say look this is an aspect that I really need or this is an aspect that's bothering me can we talk about it. They bring their report in as a bit of an objective, neutral ground and they discuss it. It's really a win-win towards job satisfaction for both parties.
Sales Competence Assessment
One more great report, I want to mention as a reminder is the Sales Competence Assessment. This has just recently popped up and helped in some personal employee retention with my clients as well. If you're looking to learn more about a sales rep or a sales team, then the sales competency report can be very insightful. It's not DISC related as it gives insights into particular focuses and current ability in critical sales mindsets and competency areas. It doesn't provide preferred natural behaviours, it reports on sales ability when they completed the questionnaire, in the line of sales they are in. How does that help you? It's not just about the sales development. It's also about giving you insights into pinpointing specific sales training areas required for growth and to support that employee. If you can help them grow in unique areas, they will feel far more satisfied in learning those areas. They can relate to it a lot better, they can work smarter, and the outcome is that they tend to be more successful in that type of selling for them and their position in general.
This year I've had a lot of feedback recently from larger corporates that I've used these reports with. They let me know that the feedback and satisfaction were off the scale compared to other programs that they've run in the past with a more generalised role out of topics. I have to say we little 'yeehaw' from me. These reports gave me real aspects to work on that match the type of selling they were doing. The outcome was far smoother accepted by them and of course, budget fulfilling sales program for the client.
I personally knew a few of the reps were planning to leave, and I knew that from when we did our personal DISC debriefs at the beginning of the program. At the end of the program, these same reps felt reinvigorated to learn new things they felt challenged, valued, and rewarded. We looked at the overall team, and we looked at individuals. We looked at how those individuals could be rewarded and developed. I have to say I was pleased with the results myself as those three people are still in the company, and two have now been promoted. Their contribution is actually incredible, and the knowledge they have about their business is something that the company would not have wanted to lose.
I give a big tick to job satisfaction there for many of the staff. Also, a big tick for the assessments used to actually bring out the right information in the first place.
The purpose of today's webinar was to reassess the use of your different reports. Recruiting is so important to start job satisfaction off in the right direction anyway. Recruiting can come in several forms, interviews, reference checking, and assessments. Assessments are very popular, they give you some really great science-backed information on cognitive ability or behavioural information and preferences.
Communication is crucial for retention. Especially on visions and values. DISC reports can really help in understanding the type of communication people need and the way that the manager should interact with their unique team members.
Involving the team actively in development was a significant factor. When you use assessments like FinxS and DISC employees, have their reports so they become active in using it like that story of one of my clients.
Don't forget soft skills coaching. You can take the insights from these reports, and you can create these fantastic training sessions around them. The reports are a stepping stone that gives you essential data and information into employee satisfaction. You can take them further and teach them soft skills is a really ideal way to do it.
The big thing is to take the time to learn about yourself and learn about individuals. For those of you that are managers that are listening it's vital to know that your rising stars, your top talent also need motivating and nurturing. Though they might be autonomous, they also need a certain amount of your time. These reports can point those out they can tell you how they like to have your time, and they're an excellent discussion starter in general for job satisfaction. If you can get job satisfaction from an employee, you've got employee retention in the bag!
Take the time to look through your FinxS account. Take the time to have a look at some of the different types of reports. Take the time when you're coming to recruiting and developing, whether it be sales or leadership, to look at the kind of assessments you may need to use. The data is very different for all sorts of reports, but you know you have them all in one portal, which is pretty impressive.
If you are feeling overwhelmed at this stage, start with a DISC profile report. The DISC profile gives you so much information about people. The more information you know and can utilise with people, the more they feel heard and valued, contributing significantly to job satisfaction.