According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment is at a record low. As employers we can take one of two paths to build our teams: get really serious about stealing talent from our competition or retain the great team members we already have on our team. I can assure you that investing in retention strategies rather than engaging in a talent war is worth it, as we have seen our average tenure triple, earned several regional and national accolades for being a best place to work, and landed on the Inc. 5000 list of the Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America consistently over the last 6 years.
While we are proud of the awards we have received for growing exponentially and being a best place to work, this recognition has not always co-existed in our history. Just 5 short years ago, our average tenure was less than a year. Now our average tenure is over 3.5 years, which is double the industry average! This has not happened by accident, and there are a few key strategies that have helped us to substantially increase our retention over the years.
“If you get the people right, everything else becomes a lot easier” – Jeff Allen, President of Hanapin Marketing
Getting the people right starts with making great hiring decisions, which is incredibly difficult in a tight labor market. Often, when we are in a tight staffing spot we can be quick to compromise the interview process just to fill the open spots on our team. However, even if we are in need of filling open positions, our interview team makes a conscious effort to keep our hiring standards high. Our interview process is intentionally comprehensive and includes position preview assessments, job shadows, company informational sessions, 3rd party assessments, and interviews. We view interviewing as a two-way street, and we want to give candidates the opportunity to get to know us while we get to know them. Even though the process takes more time than the average interview process, we have seen positive results of candidates being excited about accepting offers with us, feeling like they know us as a company, and ultimately staying on our team as proven by our increased tenure.
Sidenote: If you’re looking to add great PPC Talent to your Team, you can post your open roles for FREE on our PPC Hero Job Board.
You can also check out our handy white paper that outlines our top tips for hiring your next marketing manager.
“In a study of over 1,000 workers, 31% reported having quit a job within the first six months…[due to] poor onboarding experiences, a lack of clarity surrounding job duties and expectations, or a less than stellar boss.” – BambooHR
In addition to making great hiring decisions, the focus on employee retention starts with onboarding your new team members. Changing jobs is a big deal, and we are intentional about the experience we create for our new team members to set them up for success. On average, our onboarding process lasts between 6 and 12 weeks and includes a combination of social events, company orientation, and role training with various team members. By providing time and space for our new team members to acclimate to the company and their role, we build trust with them early in their tenure.
It is also highly important to train managers on how to best support new employees as they are settling into their roles. At Hanapin, we have a 3-year Management Training program that not only covers new hire onboarding, but also provides progressive guidance on our management philosophies, policies, and talent management best practices.
Once you have hired and onboarded great team members, it’s time to invest in their ongoing development to retain them! Because our industry changes often, one of the pillars of our training program is a monthly training day we call CAPE (Collaborative and Advanced PPC Education) which is focused on continually advancing PPC skills across our Services Team. In addition to building PPC skills, we also offer personal and professional development training in areas of executive presence, difficult conversations, emotional intelligence, and stress management, to name a few. Actively showing your team members you are willing to invest in them continues to build trust and connection throughout their tenure.
Above all else, one of the biggest game-changers for us as a company has been to listen to our team’s feedback and adjust based on the feedback we received. We collect feedback in a variety of ways, both in-person and anonymously, which has allowed us to understand what concrete action will make a difference for our team. However, one of the biggest things we learned when we started collecting feedback was that we needed to take action on it – either by informing the team that we heard them or let them know of the action that had been taken. In fact, it was more detrimental to employee engagement to only gather feedback and take no action on it. So if you decide to begin actively collecting feedback, make sure you’re ready to make changes to how you operate!
Of course, we will never be perfect (who is?!), but by creating paths for our team to regularly share feedback with us, we’ve been able to build an immense amount of trust and connections with our leadership team. In fact, we were recently re-certified as a Great Place to Work where 100% of our employees say that we are a great place to work. 100%!
At the end of the day, there is not one simple solution to increase employee retention. However, if you invest time in your hiring, onboarding, and training processes, as well as gathering and taking action on their feedback, I hope you’ll be able to retain the great team members you DO have versus focusing on the ones you do not.