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Keeping the team together

Employee retention is on the mind of almost every business leader. What are local executives and HR professionals doing to show their employees the love and keep them from leaving?

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When your company has found someone worth hiring it’s understood that you want them to work for you, not somebody else. It’s not just frustrating to go through a lengthy hiring and training process with a new employee only to wind back up at square one six months later when he or she jumps ship, it’s also expensive.

According to a recent Glassdoor study, we’re in a candidate-driven market and retention is of vital importance to business leaders who are having trouble finding qualified candidates to fill jobs.

The study shows recruiting is costlier for businesses when the market favors job seekers. It costs $4,000 on average for U.S. businesses to fill an open position, according to the Glassdoor data, and on average it takes 52 days for businesses to fill a job opening (up from 48 days in 2011).

Engaging and retaining highly-skilled workers is paramount to creating and maintaining a positive workplace environment, and its was a topic of discussion during IB’s inaugural Think Tank on Corporate Culture May 24, sponsored by WPS Health Solutions.

According to Shaun Trudell, president of Automation Arts, an audio-visual consulting company in Middleton, in the last five years his company has only lost one person, and he came back nine months later.

“He went to a competitor and found out the grass wasn’t greener,” notes Trudell.

Trudell says Automation Arts invests in its employees through education, but it goes deeper than that. “We talk to them to find out what they’re passionate about. We see if that’s something we can provide for them” either through shifting job responsibilities or training opportunities.

It’s also important for the leaders at Automation Arts to give employees time to bond together. “We have days where we shut the entire company down and do an activity as a group,” says Trudell. “Most recently we took everyone paintballing — one employee didn’t want to join us so we told her to go out and have a spa day on us; another had family obligations so we told him to take care of those and then take his family out to lunch on the company. We paid them for the day of work they missed and paid for the excursion. We try to do that type of thing two to three times per year.”

Not every company has the makeup to shut down for a day — or fire 22,000 paintballs at each other to build camaraderie. (Yes, that’s actually how many paintballs the Automation Arts team went through in one day of blowing off steam.)

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