Often the chatter after speaking at industry workshops or conferences turns to how to attract and retain employees. The annual average turnover in Australian companies is 15 per cent, whereas in the landscape industry the average turnover is up to 50 per cent. However, with landscape companies that focus on retaining their employees, this average drops to 20 per cent.
You don’t have to have elaborate reward systems to retain good employees and it’s not always about salary. It can be as simple as asking your employees a couple of key questions, listening to them and then implementing some small changes.
A survey conducted with 239 landscape companies found that while salary and benefits are important factors in retention, the intangibles are what keep employees satisfied and loyal. The intangibles are often unknown, so you’ll need to find out what they are. Offering education and training and career development opportunities are also key factors in retaining their staff.
Employee engagement strategies like ‘pulse surveys’ are being used by a growing number of businesses as a way to help retain their staff. ‘Pulse survey’ is the term used to measure employee engagement and done on a frequent basis. They typically involve using one question a week or every couple of weeks to find out the level of engagement and those intangibles.
In small businesses there is often not a lot of opportunity to provide people with a career pathway so you need to look at the responses you get from your pulse surveys to work out what is most important to your employees.
Engagement is an ‘emotion’ and therefore hard to quantify and there is no clear definition of what it is. Some organisations define it as happiness, some as satisfaction and others as commitment to goals. Data shows that approximately 70 per cent of employees are disengaged at work. I’m sure many of you could relate to the damage that is done with just one employee who has a poor attitude with peers and customers.