Communication and Culture: The Keys to Retention

Cover Story: Recruitment & Retention - Cover Story: Recruitment & Retention

January 8, 2018

Recruiting, onboarding and training require a lot of time, effort and money. But this investment you make into each employee isn’t the only thing you lose when that employee decides to leave; you also lose the intangible assets. Maybe your customers really liked this person, and now they have to get to know someone new. Or maybe the employee was a pivotal member of your internal team, and morale will suffer when they’re gone. Whatever the case, losing a good employee is never easy.

That’s why everyone strives for high retention. In the NPMA/PCT study, 78 percent of respondents said that half or more of their employees have stayed with their company for more than two years. That’s good news, because, the study points out, employees who have hit the two-year mark are less likely to leave.

The big question is How do you get them to stay?

WHAT TO OFFER? Of course, atop the list of employee “wants” are competitive wages, benefits and opportunities for advancement. For starters, you need to fulfill their professional expectations just as they fulfill yours. Be as generous with compensation and growth opportunities as possible from the moment they join your team.

“Compensation matters,” says Brad Bartlett, president of Hire and Retain Good People. “If you want to compete for and retain the best talent, you have to be willing and able to pay better than market wage. Remember: The people applying for a position with your firm aren’t looking just at pest control but at other industries as well. You need to be aware of what HVAC technicians are making, for example, and offer a competitive wage.”

A SUPPORTIVE CULTURE. Building a supportive culture entails as many elements as you can think of: flexibility in helping employees achieve work-life balance, solid relationships between employees and their direct managers, mutual respect and understanding, and anything else that meshes your values and mission into your corporate culture.

Inspect-All Services’ Brian Lunsford, who has hired 100-plus employees over his Atlanta-based company’s past decade of growth, shares, “Years ago, we laid out our core values, which set the standard for the way we operate our company. In line with these values, our employees strive to always do things the ‘right way.’ This approach has given them the opportunity to realize significant growth, and to enjoy the fulfillment of giving our customers a world-class service experience.”

OPEN, HONEST COMMUNICATION. Communication is the foundation of every great relationship, including your employee’s relationship with their employer. For example, employees want to know what’s expected of them and how they’re doing. They want clear direction and receptiveness to their questions and concerns. And they want to be part of something bigger, which means understanding and working collaboratively toward the company goals, with the potential to make a real difference.

“Having a climate of honesty, nurtured through consistent, highly efficient communication with our team, as well as with our customers, has been very important to our success,” Lunsford says. “Through open communication and a deep understanding that our people are the key to our company’s success, our management team has created an outstanding environment for new hires to flourish. Once folks are here, they typically do not want to leave.”