Tag Archives: Retention

Impacts of Part-Time Employment on Small Business

Owning and operating a successful small business has its challenges – long hours, limited resources and restricted staffing capabilities – especially when you operate in Downtown Vancouver, during a recession and in a competitive industry such as Harrison Galleries and The Buzz Café.

Harrison Galleries and the The Buzz Cafe

 

For Harrison Galleries and The Buzz Café, leveraging part-time employment is a means of reaching future goals and continuing to build their business. So, how do they do it? What’s their secret? Jennifer Harrison, Co-Owner shares her experience:

 

Hiring Part-Time Employees

Especially in small businesses, once an organization identifies the need for a vacancy (in our case, part-time) and develops an accurate position description, managers and/or business owners can begin the recruitment process. At Harrison Galleries and The Buzz Café, co-owner Jennifer Harrison finds Craigslist to be a cost effective means of recruiting a part-time barista, aside from using referrals. On the same token, Jennifer relies on the clear representation of her part-time job advertisements to attract the ‘right’ candidate. Although she receives more than 40 applications per ad, Jennifer says that the success of her screening process for part-time employees is easily attributed to the clear communication of the role’s expectations – used in conjunction with a retention strategy (described below).

No matter how successful their recruitment process, Harrison Galleries and The Buzz Café still struggles (like most small businesses) with organizational fit, engagement, retention, language barriers, communicating expectations, quality of applicants, and knowledge transfer after training – despite precautions taken. But, when recruitment is successful, part-time employees are used to bridge scheduling gaps, support budgetary capabilities, and fulfill a need our labour force possesses.

 

Retaining Part-Time Employees

Sandy Arseneault, CHRP

Sandy Arseneault, CHRP

According to Statistics Canada, “in 2012, 11.6% of working-age Canadians worked part-time, whereas 50.2% worked fulltime”. Of those part-time workers, 27.2% preferred to work full-time (making them involuntary part-time workers)2. Given these Statistics, Canadian businesses need to use effective retention strategies to make part-time roles more attractive to involuntary part-time workers.

In order to retain part-time employees, Harrison Galleries and The Buzz Café offers a wide array of tangible and intangible benefits:

  1. Saturday or Sunday shift off each week, guaranteed
  2. Steady hours (eg. a minimum number of hours per week)
  3. Equal wages (eg. full-time and part-time staff earn the same rate)
  4. Consistent shifts (eg. no shift alterations by management/business owners)
  5. Flexibility (eg. employees can swap scheduled shifts as long as business needs are met)
  6. Open communication (eg. employees leave praise, ideas and concerns in an open log book)
  7. Understanding work-life balance (eg. Owners and other employees may cover shifts)
  8. A family-like company culture (eg. appreciation for one another/social atmosphere)

Despite these retention efforts, this small business still finds it challenging to compete with turnover and changing expectations of the part-time workforce. “The most common issue is that part-time employees expect to receive increased hours over time. However, I make it clear in the job advertisement, during the interview and upon hire that part-time hours will not change”1. For Jennifer Harrison (Co-Owner), this means spending more time on recruitment, interviews, training, and placement trials. However, with the professional connections she has made over the years she is able to limit the negative impacts that part-time employees and the challenges surrounding them have on her small business.

 

What retention strategies have you used to effectively leverage your part-time employees?

 

1 Interview: Harrison, Jennifer. Co-Owner, Harrison Galleries and The Buzz Café. 15 April 2014.

2 www4.hrsdc.gc.ca/.3ndic.1t.4r@-eng.jsp?iid=12

So HR’s not very sexy? Go figure…

Gareth Cartman

Gareth Cartman

A recent survey by the CIPD in the UK pondered on the results of a survey (of its own membership) that revealed HR wasn’t very “sexy”. The majority of CIPD members hadn’t thought of a career in HR when they were young.

Instead, they were thinking of more glamorous careers, such as being pop stars or train drivers. Why, oh why, are the kids of today not clamouring for a career in Human Resources? Where’s HR’s Lady Gaga when you need her?

Of course, the serious question underlying this report is: “how can HR attract young graduates into the profession”, and it’s a question worth asking. The current entry point into the profession appears to be through service centres, and it’s doubtful whether this is the best apprenticeship for a career in strategic HR.

The main problem HR faces is exemplified by the CIPD itself. It’s a chartered institute, and the image it presents is fusty, old-fashioned, and internal, with debates about maternity pay, TUPE transfer, and the maximum number of hours’ work in a day front and centre of its website. If HR is trying to destroy its image as the department with a rulebook, then this is no way to go about it.

The CIPD “champions better work and working lives”, which is great. Someone has to do it, and it’s a very noble thing to do. But it’s not going to get graduates very excited, is it?

If anything, the CIPD is a reflection of the HR community – as talented and as earnest a bunch of people as you could ever wish to meet. However, these are internal discussions. This is the minutia of day-to-day work in HR. When you find other departments discussing the minutia of what they do, it’s aligned to business goals.

If marketers are discussing how to improve clickthrough rates of e-mails (yawn), they’re actually discussing how to grow the business. If salespeople are discussing how a CRM can improve their productivity (yawn), they’re actually discussing how to grow the business.

HR needs to do more of the same. Instead of talking about how to handle internal disputes which only serve to emphasise the rulebook image, HR needs to talk about the bigger issues in the world of work, and demonstrate how it affects them. WE know that HR can add to the bottom line. WE know that our engagement strategies and our talent management programmes add to productivity, and WE know that our data can provide invaluable insight into how the business is faring.

So if we’re going to make HR a more attractive career proposition to talented graduates, these are the things we should be talking about. You can make a difference in HR, and while you might have a rulebook, you’ll also be a business leader.

The CIPD isn’t saying this. Instead, it’s down to the outsourcers like Ceridian, ADP et al to talk about the value HR adds.

The CIPD isn’t providing the voice that HR requires. We need a new institution that isn’t afraid to tackle the big subjects, and speak its mind.

The alternative is that HR continues to retreat into a world of internal debates and minutiae, and we leave the big stuff to everyone else.

Retaining the Best Talent

Bonnie Milne, PhD

Bonnie Milne, PhD

This blog post was written in response to the May 2013 Coffee Shop HR World Café topic: “What will it take to retain the best talent over the next 5 years?”

When one works internationally for a local employer, retention is a big issue, for both the employee and the employer. In the UAE, all expatriate workers have working visas which are not transferable, so it isn’t just a case of finding another job, giving notice and transferring one’s visa. In some organizations, there is a six month notice period. Most employers do not hire six months in advance, so many employees resign without another job in sight.

Resigning is serious business. It means preparing to relocate to another country, which means shipping or selling artwork, clothing, sporting gear, selling one’s vehicle, and finding new homes for pets or organizing their transport to another country.

So, one could say that the deck is stacked in favour of the employers. Most of us work out our contracts in our case are for three years.

Having said that, this year a number of my colleagues have given their six month notice and are preparing to leave. Those I interviewed are leaving mid-contract and, so far, none have firm job offers. They are leaving to leave, not to go to a new job. I consider every one of these colleagues to be excellent, dedicated workers – people I would like to see stay.

When I asked what it would take to keep them here they responded:
• an improvement the air quality in our community (we have a number of cement plants spewing dust into the air and the rate of asthma here is very high)
• better educational options for children
• more promotional opportunities
• personal days off
• family events organized by the employer
• better medical coverage
• an opportunity to develop expertise in one area and apply it rather than constantly switching and learning new things

My initial thought was that the community issues, like the air quality and the availability of educational opportunities might be unique to this area and not of much interest to those of you who reside in North America or Europe. But I’m not so sure that this is correct. I think organizations have a duty to the communities in which they operate and that duty could include monitoring air quality and contributing to schools to make sure that they are able to maintain high educational standards. Perhaps Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which often falls under the auspices of HR, could focus on things that are vital, like air quality and education, which in long run affect everyone. I wonder if CSR programs like this, in any organization, might energize employees.

According to Cummins, ‘engaging employees in community problem-solving helps us attract, retain and develop employees. We set an expectation for community service at all levels of the Company.’

My colleagues mentioned that they wanted an opportunity to excel in their work, to develop expertise and use it. They felt that this would make it possible for them to contribute to the organization and would increase their commitment. More importantly, they wanted to do a good job and they felt they were hindered when they had to move into new areas before they were comfortable with their current area.

Doing a good job and being engaged, go hand in hand so It would seem that increasing engagement in employees would also increase retention. A recent study in Europe and Britain identified the top five drivers of engagement as: career opportunities, organizational reputation, pay, work processes and innovation.

Latin America has the highest engagement score at 74 per cent so I decided to see what companies in Latin America are doing. I went to the Best Companies to Work for site (this group has been in existence for 20 years!).  One of the things that caught my eye was that statement that ‘Great workplaces usually perform better on the public markets, attract more job applicants, retain more employees, and suffer less theft.’

So what do these Latin American companies that are rated the best, do to retain their employees? What stands out for me is that they provide a lot of training for their employees – an average of 61 hours per employee per year and they promote /hire women into senior management roles – 31% of their senior managers are women. (In Canada women hold 22.9% of senior management roles)

HR leaders have many avenues to take if they want to increase the retention of their best employees. They can look at their organization’s contribution in the community. What changes are needed for their employees to ‘settle in’ and feel comfortable in the community? Increasing their awareness of the obstacles employees face in their children’s education and their family’s health could provide opportunities for the organization to contribute to the community and it is fair to surmise that this involvement would increase employee engagement.

HR leaders can also look at training opportunities, keeping in mind, that once employees gain new skills and expertise, they want to apply the skills and use the expertise. They want to do a good job and this is possible when they have time to develop their strengths.

As well, many employees want to move up in the organization. Top performers are seldom happy to stay in one position for long. It could be that more women in senior roles will also increase retention. This is something I will continue to think about.

Related Pages:

What Will it Take to Retain the Best Tlent Over the Next Five Years? by Joanne Kondo, CHRP

Planning and Communication are the Keys to Retention by Christine Ramage, CHRP

The Magic Bullet by Nicole Davidson

What will it take to retain the best talent over the next five years?

Joanne Kondo, CHRP

Joanne Kondo, CHRP

This blog post was written in response to the May 2013 Coffee Shop HR World Café topic: “What will it take to retain the best talent over the next 5 years?”

Sure you can offer your employees free coffee, designer desks and chairs, maybe cafeteria that serves food you can barely pronounce, or even a gym, but will that keep your most talented employees around? Of course not. It might help get them in the door but it definitely won’t keep them there.

If you want to keep your most talented employees take a look at what their manager is doing right. Employees often leave because of a poor manager, not necessarily because of how the company is run. Take the time to understand the manager’s style and how they communicate with their employees.

Of equal importance is acknowledging the contribution of the employee as well. Take the time to communicate and continue to engage them. Money talks and paying a retention bonus will make it harder for them to leave.

Lastly, ensure you have a succession plan. The person who manages your talented employee may one day leave. Develop your talent so that one day they can take over where their previous manager left off. Look for and develop up-and-coming talent and offer cross-training opportunities so that any future gaps can easily be filled internally.

Planning and Communication are the Keys to Retention

Christine Ramage, CHRP

Christine Ramage, CHRP

This blog post was written in response to the May 2013 Coffee Shop HR World Café topic: “What will it take to retain the best talent over the next 5 years?”

With the Baby Boomer generation beginning to retire over the past few years and continuing into the future, many senior roles and executive positions which have been filled by these soon to retire Baby Boomers will now become available; this is going to create a talent war, and the hiring market will boom.

When senior talent retires only two options exist to fill the position: internally through pre-planned succession efforts; or externally through external applicants or targeted headhunting.

A key effort to undertake early is your own corporate succession planning- have those conversations now, and by creating and communicating that plan to your planned successors today you can increase your chance of engaging them, and securing them for tomorrow.

Remember, if you are looking externally for talent, so are your competitors; those star employees you may have ear marked for future succession are vulnerable to being poached from you so it is important that they are aware of the existing and current opportunities within your company.

Inevitably you’ll have to look externally for talent, whether it be for these senior roles, or to backfill the vacancies created by internal promotions; when looking externally, you can still incorporate succession planning into these hires.

Hire external individuals into the company now, and being training and grooming them for the future opportunities- this will allow you to hire in at the ground level and ensure a cultural fit as well as a skills fit when the time come to fill senor vacancies.

To retain your current talent through the next 5 years keep your workforce engaged. Offer training and development that align with career pathing opportunities and ensure you are conducting performance reviews that have a development plan component- this will foster important conversations around your business needs as well as your current employees aspirations. Regardless of your company’s current processes, planning and communicating to your current employees with positively impact your retention over the next 5 years.

Related Pages:

What Will it Take to Retain the Best Talent Over the Next Five Years? by Gareth Cartman

The Magic Bullet by Nicole Davidson

It Takes More than Money to Retain Your Best Talent by Jessica Lau

What will it take to retain the best talent over the next 5 years?

Gareth Cartman

Gareth Cartman

This blog post was written in response to the May 2013 Coffee Shop HR World Café topic: “What will it take to retain the best talent over the next 5 years?”

I might not work in HR, but I do have the constant challenge of retaining talented employees, so I feel it’s my responsibility, not that of HR. I also have to accept that any aim to retain an employee will (almost) always end in failure. At some point, an employee will leave. It could be today, it could be tomorrow, and it could be in five years’ time. I can’t hold on forever.

So really, the question is – what can I do to keep my best employees for as long as possible? Or, how can I maximize their potential for however long I’ve got them?

The foundation, or the basics

I lump contractuals and engagement ‘tactics’ into one package – the very foundation of your retention efforts. Whether it’s the contract your people want, or fresh coffee and more pot plants, it’s the environment you create.

There are external pressures coming from everywhere these days – financial, childcare, relationships, legal, even dealing with builders! You don’t want to add to the pressures, so a workplace should be, at its very least, a haven from everything else.

If you’re going to lose a talented employee, don’t let it be due to something stupid like forgetting to pay on time. The basics.

Nobody likes your company values

I liked this statistic – 77% of people in the UK admit they’re ‘not engaged’ with the company’s brand values. Get over it.

Nobody likes your company values, and nobody cares about them. Yeah, sure, they might tell you they really care, but they’re mostly lying.

They care about their own careers, and where you, as a business, fit into that schema is the one thing that counts. Company values are not going to help you retain or engage anyone… after all, most businesses have the same values, they just use different words. No company’s brand values state “rip people off and lie to them”, do they.

What they do is help you craft the right message and behaviour in front of clients. They’re nothing whatever to do with retention or engagement, and if people aren’t engaged with them, move on. Nothing to see here.

Work makes people stay

When people leave their jobs, it’s often because of their line managers. It’s often because their work isn’t challenging enough, or because there’s a greater chance of career progression somewhere else.

You could be paying everyone on time, and you could be handing out free coffee, gym sessions, EAPs and you might even have a pool table. Whoopee-doo. But anyone can do that, and your competitors might well be doing more. Unless you’re offering way more than everyone else, the grass might always be just as green next door.

If you’re going to retain really talented employees, you’re going to have to give them a reason to stay, and here’s your bullet points:

– a job they love
– a hope (and a vision) of career progression
– a challenge

HR’s responsibility in this mix is twofold: number 1, get the basics right. If that’s finding an outsourcing partner and a shared service centre, then do it. It’s cheap and scalable and it removes the stuff that doesn’t add value.

Number 2, look after those line managers. If you’ve got bad line managers, you should be the first to know, and you should be working with them on people management skills. Transfer your hard-earned knowledge and give them a little love. Pin-point the future managers, develop a succession programme and don’t keep it close to your chest – let them in on it.

Talk to people, find out what motivates them, and find out how you can keep them just that little bit longer. They might ask say something like “I want to earn $100k, run my own business by the time I’m 40 and grow a beard”, but you could harness some of that ambition and say “you know what, let’s work together. We can help you become more entrepreneurial, but we can’t help with the beard.”

Related Pages:

The Magic Bullet by Nicole Davidson

How to Keep The BEST Ones by Carolyn Courage, CHRP

It Takes More than Money to Retain Your Best Talent by Jessica Lau

The Magic Bullet

Nicole Davidson

Nicole Davidson

This blog post was written in response to the May 2013 Coffee Shop HR World Café topic: “What will it take to retain the best talent over the next 5 years?”

The problem of retention is not one that I have had much experience with; coming from a unionized hospitality background, we very rarely lost our long-term employees. In the hospitality industry the grass is rarely greener on the other side, as switching companies often means a switch back to night shifts (or short shifts) and a loss of valuable seniority. Retention is one of the areas where an organization can actually benefit from being a unionized environment, as loathe as an organization may be to admit it- but the complicated relationship between unions and employers is certainly a subject for another day.

My new role has certainly found me in an environment where managing retention is more crucial. The most obvious piece (and easiest piece to administer) is the performance of regular salary reviews. The money piece however, while the most obvious (and potentially the most boring to write about), is widely considered to be a little overrated. Employees are seeking more than just a good salary.

Generational shifts are part of the reason why money is not the sole focus any longer. The emergence of a new generation in the workforce is a source of concern for many, at least as far as the articles I’ve read are concerned; the supposed entitlement of my generation (most commonly referred to as Generation Y) is considered to be a major issue that organizations will have to overcome in the future. My generation is known for keeping our job tenure short (2 years, on average, according to this article) and expecting more in terms of feedback and promotional opportunities. Brought up to believe that we can have whatever we want as long as we try, entering a workplace that follows a rigid structure is a rude awakening.

I don’t know if I buy into the whole “entitlement problem” that is said to run so rampant in my generation. Part of my previous job involved supervising a workforce that was primarily the same generation as I was, and I found the majority of my employees to be hard-working and reasonable people. I will say though that when we did run into an employee with an entitlement complex, we really noticed; part of that behavior seems to be a need for attention that translates into a feeling of near-constant interaction with a demanding person, and that wears on management.

If I had to say what I would feel would be the key facets to a retention plan for my generation, I give these three major areas: opportunities for training and development, fair and transparent performance management, and low power distance between us and our bosses. The reasons for these are fairly simple. We want to know where we can potentially go and how we’re doing getting there; we want to be able to bring our concerns, ideas, and questions to our bosses and feel like we’re being heard. I don’t think that these wants are very different from what any other generation has wanted. As people we all want to feel valued, and that’s what we’re really seeking.

If an organization takes retention seriously, then they must see the value in their employees, since they’re trying to keep them. Communicating that value that they’re seeing is crucial to encouraging good employees to stay. Communicating must be done through the managers who deal with the day-to-day training, performance, and interactions in their departments. I guess communication is always that magic bullet.

Related Pages:

It Takes More Than Money to Retain You Best Talent by Jessica Lau

How to Keep the BEST Ones! by Carolyn Courage, CHRP

To Retain the Best Talent: Find the Right People, Gauge Engagement, and Consider Velvet Handcuffs by Geraldine Sangalang, CHRP