August 2015 Newsletter

How Can You Engage and Retain Your Best Employees?
Learn What One Small Company Is Doing

I’m guessing you’ve heard that Netflix Inc. now allows as much as one year of unlimited and flexible paid leave for their employees who are new parents.

Soon after Netflix made its announcement earlier this month, other technology firms such as Adobe Systems, Inc. and Microsoft Corp. followed suit extending their paid parental leave benefit as well.

What’s behind these decisions? Of course, I don’t have the inside scoop, but I’d be willing to guess Netflix made its move to attract more skilled female employees and Millennials who are ready to settle down and start families.

It makes good business sense. Employees with more flexibility to manage the demands of their careers and personal lives are happier, more productive and more loyal.

The Millennial generation, in particular, is demanding more work-life balance.

These workers also want a career path. …They want a purpose. …They want to know how their work contributes to the good of the organization. …They are concerned about how they are being paid and about their relationship to their boss.

Moreover, they do not fear quitting their jobs. Their loyalty to their employer is less than their loyalty to their own pathway or career success. They have little propensity to stay in an organization because it’s safe; they recognize that there is no job safety. And so they think of their own interests first.

The problem, of course, is that this puts pressure on you as employer. It means that if you want to retain your good employees, you need to think about their interests, too. Addressing their personal needs and incorporating them in your business decisions builds an employer-employee partnership that drives sustainability. By this I mean employee retention and company reputation.

Why do I mention all of this? Because I want to tell you about a small company which holds some of the keys to that employer-employee partnership I mention.

I’ve worked with the senior management team for over six years. It’s a privately held organization that helps companies deliver large consumer items to homes across America and employs about 200 people.

About a year ago, the company began to hear rumblings of discontent among its employees. Concerned, its management decided to act swiftly.

If your company is thinking about how to better engage and retain your employees, you might glean insight from what we did, what we learned and what actions they are taking as a result.

What we did
To begin, the company engaged Modern Survey, a Minneapolis company, to help us uncover what issues we might have. After all, you can’t fix something if you don’t know it needs fixing.

Modern Survey conducted a confidential employee engagement survey, which gave us objective data that we could evaluate and from which we could create an action plan.

What we learned
From that survey, we extracted a handful of “we-need-to-work-on these” themes. These included:

  1. A more formalized approach to training
    The company has long trained its people “in the trenches” and “on the fly.” But employees indicated they wanted a more formal and consistent approach so that all would have the same experience.
  2. Better education about the compensation methodology
    The compensation “issue” that surfaced from the survey was really about clarity. In other words, employee questions were not so much about what the company pays people, but about why it compensates its people the way it does.
  3. Informing employees about how the company is doing
    Employees wanted to know: Why does company management make the decisions it does? And how are these decisions going to help the company progress and grow?
  4. Better communication overall
    Although employees indicated a concern about such things as compensation and company direction, a general lack of communication also surfaced from the survey. The company needed to look at how to create greater transparency about what it was doing, and why it was doing it.

On the positive side, the company received high marks from employees for employee involvement. We were delighted to learn that employees feel like they have a voice and appreciate that the company asks for their input and participation in creating change.

So that’s where we started in making our action plan: with company’s employees.

What actions the company took
Intentionally avoiding the mushrooming tendency or inclination to “fix everything,” the management team selected three themes to address: compensation, training and employee involvement. In other words, we chose two things to change and one to maintain.

We then invited employees showing interest to serve on task forces. These task forces handled the process of discovery and recommended actions identified in this discovery phase to the executive team for approval.

In setting up the task forces in this way, the company reinforced its employees’ appreciation for involvement.

And with its theme selection and in addressing training and compensation, it also addressed the need for better overall communication.

In phase three of the action plan, the company will implement the approved actions. We are just now beginning that process.

How will the company measure progress? We’ll compare results from this survey with those from a second survey. Surveys are planned every two years.

In addition, we’ll examine turnover.  Because turnover has always been relatively, we’ll use the reasons people leave rather than numbers as a gauge.

How about you and your organization? Do you know what your employees are thinking? If you don’t you should. Am I suggesting that you, too, survey your employees? By all means. Only then will you know where dissatisfaction lies, or if your employees are dissatisfied.

Here’s the bottom line:  Communication, transparency and involving your employees really matter. A lot.

So if employee engagement has fallen off in your organization, you need to do something and in doing something knowing where you’re falling down is crucial. Because if you really want to engage your employees and keep them engaged, you need to go beyond the noise. You need an objective analysis to determine real causes and real fixes.

So take a page from the Netflixes, Microsofts and Adobes of the world — and from Manna. Learn what your employees want and take the steps that will hold you up as an employer who engages and hangs on to its good employees.

Your Solution Toolbox: A Sweet Suite of Tools

Once you take the pulse of your organization, you’ll be in a better position to establish strategies more in tune with what your employees really think.

Some of those strategies could involve Profiles International’s assessment tools. Profile International offers a comprehensive suite of employee assessments that help with onboarding, employee selection, performance evaluation and more.

Here’s Profile’s suite of tools:
• ProfileXT®
• Checkpoint 360°™
• Profiles Performance Indicator™
• Step One Survey II®
• Profiles Sales Assessment™
• Customer Service Profile™
• Profiles Managerial Fit™
• Employment Background Checks
• Profiles Talent Management System
• ProfilesTMS: Applicant Tracking System
• ProfilesTMS: Employee Performance System
• Profiles Sales Checkpoint™
• Pathway Planner™
• eSkill

And one more thing: Any of these tools can be customized and tailored to fit your company’s particular needs.

If you would like more information about Profiles International’s assessments, call me today at 952-322-3330 or send an email to
HR Consulting
Call me, too, if you are looking for professional assistance with your personnel questions. We’ll help you learn how to:

 • understand your workers’ strengths, weaknesses and interests
 • match people to job demands
 • increase employee performance throughout your organization

Let's Talk! We offer a no-obligation consultation to informally assess your current policies, procedures and practices. This may help determine what's missing in your current programs. Again, call 952-322-3330 or send an email to

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