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THE RETENTION FACTOR
One of your best recruiting tools is your current employees. What you do to retain them can make a world of difference to your recruiting program.

Employee turnover is a commonly mentioned challenge by managers and a very costly problem to have. Retention issues cause workforce instability, reduced efficiency, and lower effectiveness; all leading to a negative impact on the bottom line.

There are a number of simple, cost effective things that can be implemented to impact retention as well as more creative, unique ideas. To be successful, it has to go beyond salary and benefits.

"Today, stating that your organization has a competitive benefits package isn't enough. Applicants and employees simply expect to have good benefits," said an AgCareers.com client for a leading livestock production business. "Agribusiness organizations will need to institute alternative and innovative tactics to positively impact retention of highly skilled
professionals."

EVERYDAY RETENTION

While a competitive salary and benefits package is necessary to put you on an even playing field, there are some simple and minimal cost techniques that can be implemented in everyday practices.

The easiest of these is recognition. Research shows that positive recognition and achievement is more motivating for a longer period of time than all other factors, including salary. It costs nearly nothing to write a handwritten thank you for a job well done, award an extra vacation day, or recognize an effort in the presence of peers. The key is to be timely and sincere.

Acknowledge milestones and celebrations in your employee's lives.

Provide opportunities for continual education. Offer classes on-site or give employees the time or pay to find these opportunities on their own.

Ask for your employee's input and actually use some of their ideas. The best way to find out what motivates your employees and prevents them from leaving is to ask them.

CREATIVE IDEAS

When managers hear "creative," they often think "dollars and cents." Creative ideas don't have to be costly. While some of these ideas do require a financial investment, the payoff in decreased turnover rates can easily pay for the program.

Wellness Programs - Hog Slat Inc, offers Healthy Balance, a proactive plan focused on increasing the health of their employees. The plan offers employees a number of health assessments, access to a consulting nurse, discounted rates at local fitness centers, and free health screenings. By participating in the program, employees are able to reduce their health insurance premiums by 50%.

"The wellness program we have implemented has been a win-win for our employees and the company," said Jamie Overton, Recruiting and Training Manager for Hog Slat, Inc. "Current employees enjoy this perk and it has been an effective recruiting point with potential employees."

Incentive Programs - You can stick with the traditional bonus or promotion, but if those aren't in the budget get creative. Offer gift certificates to local dining establishments or stores. Consider Visa Check Cards or travel dollars through a local travel agency.

Community Involvement - Plan an activity that involves working as an organization to give back to the community. Participate in a walk/run for a cause or build a home as an organization through Habitat for Humanity. There are a number of worthy causes, both nationally and locally. Giving your employees this opportunity gives them the chance to give back and also get to know their peers better.

There are so many ways to impact retention - some simple and some complex, but all impacting the ability your organization has to retain and recruit skilled employees. For more ideas on retention programs, contact AgCareers.com at agcareers@agcareers.com. AM


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