Saturday, January 31, 2009

Q. How do we retain new employees?

A. It’s simple: teamwork. But before we get to that, let’s talk about why it’s so important to retain new employees.

Just examine the cost of someone quitting. As an example, let’s use a medical biller who gets paid $12 per hour. If that person quits after only four months, you’ve paid $8,320 in base salary. Add to that these costs: finding the person in the first place (about $750 for newspaper and online ads); your time preparing, qualifying and interviewing the person (more than $500); background and drug screening ($100); and training the person (about $1,920 over four months, if you’re paying employees $12 per hour for an estimated 10 hours per week). That’s a lot of money: $11,590.

Can anyone afford this kind of loss? Even if you can, not many of us want to. So keep new employees from quitting by increasing teamwork in the workplace. If you make your employees value the quality of life your company gives them, they’ll want to stay.

One key to team building is trust. As the team leader, you must: Seek input and give timely feedback; know staff members personally; expect excellence but not perfection; remain honest, humble and dependable; fix a problem vs. assign blame; not be quick to judge; practice what you preach; and listen.

I believe that what most employees want is simple: In addition to being trusted by their boss and peers, they want to know what is going on; they want to receive sincere recognition; and they want to be acknowledged for their accomplishments.

When we give in to these demands and over-invest in employees, our team will work harder for us. In turn, they will over-invest in the company and stay put. This is when we make money instead of lose it.  Ian McCracken is president and owner of Professional Recruiting International. Reach him at