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Reducing Employee Turnover: Relationship Bonds Can Be Stronger than Transactional Bonds


Avatar Business Audio Theatre December 30, 2020 17

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You’ll never see a line item in a business plan that says, “Turnover, $300,000 in three years!” Yet, if that’s all it costs you, you may be fortunate. Turnover is one of the biggest hidden costs in any business. Just when you get the right candidate, onboard them, orient them, train them, and get a few years of experience and relationship building under their belt, BOOM! They’re suddenly off to a new employer. Did they leave for a few dollars more or did they feel unappreciated? Or did they leave because they better identified with your competitor’s story?

When you lose someone, you don’t just lose the cost of recruitment, selection, and training, you lose their relationships with your other employees, outsourced contractors, vendors, and customers. If they are in sales, you may lose the clients they service as well. The costs begin to mount when you identify all the ways turnover can hurt your business.

The Transactional Mindset

Until recently, the glue that made your employee stick was primary a transactional bond. Do this for me and I will pay you this amount. It was a value for value transaction. And employees could shop their skills to the highest bidder or stick with you simply because they needed the money and couldn’t do better.

But in the New Year we will be depending on an increasingly different kind of workforce. For one thing, in the past year, many employees have gotten a taste of working from home and now they prefer it. It’s more flexible, less formal, less expensive to get to in time and money, and now they can spend more time with their families. Now they can move to a place with a lower cost of living and a higher quality of life.

For an increasing number of these people, loyal tenure will be predicated upon remote work itself. “Who can I work for to enjoy these benefits?” Ultimately, if their skills are fungible and in demand, they can “shop” for their next employer.  And as their current employer, you have to decide if you are going to be the top bidder. That’s the transactional mindset.

The Relationship Mindset

But something else has changed in the past year. An increasing number of employees are seeking out and remaining loyal to employers that they can identify with, employers who have similar values and adhere to principles important to them and their families.

As the workforce gets younger, this new trend can’t help but expand. They will be living longer into the future, so they will champion employers who respect the environment that they live in and that their children will grow up in. Female employees will continue to demand equal pay for equal work and seek out employers who practice that policy. And as the workforce gets more diversified, employers who practice diversity hiring will be favored.

In other words, they will be attracted to and stick with employers with whom they are proud to work. This is the relationship mindset.

Building the Relationship Through Story

Your business story itself can be the best way to communicate where you came from, how you got to where you are, and what you stand for. It’s built into every decision you have made in your journey from startup to buildup and from buildout to enterprise. Your story has all the ups and downs, speed bumps and surprises of a good novel, so it will be entertaining as well. Your people won’t just be working for you for the money. Now they will feel like they are part of a story they can identify with! They can relate!

Let Business Audio Theatre help you tell your story and start building lasting relationships that transcend the transactional!

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