A Staffing Company is just like a farm in a lot of ways...

Each crop that a farmer grows is like a new client account.  If managed properly, each new crop can bring in a lot of profit. However, there is also a chance that a lot of time and money will be lost with each new crop.  The boss, or Farmer in this case, is in charge of overseeing everything to make sure his investment is being protected and that money will be made.

Though, the most important job for the farmer is taking care of his seeds and seeing them grow to serve their purpose; Similar to the way a manager would take care of his employees. If those seeds are not planted and cared for properly, they will die. Is this starting to come together?

What I’m trying to say, is that the employees are the most important part of a Staffing Company. Just like a seed, everything begins and ends with your employees. Without them your company is absolutely worthless! If they are not treated right, protected by their caretaker, and truly cared for, they will leave you at the drop of a dime.

That is why it is so crucial to, not only attract, but also retain the right talent. I got one more farmer analogy for you. How hard would it be for a farmer to produce a full field of crops if he/she had to replace even 2% of the seeds every two weeks? I’m no Farmer, but even I know that you would never succeed with this formula.

Retaining employees is an essential part of both workforce optimization and business productivity. Employee turnover generally causes disruption, expense, time, and resource costs, so it’s imperative for staffing companies to increase retention rates and grow their employment brand and reputation.

As far as I’m concerned, there are two key ingredients to an effective retention plan.

  1. Taking an interest in discovering your employees’ most serious complaints. Knowing what makes employees unhappy is half the battle when you think about employee work satisfaction, morale, positive motivation, and retention. Listening to employees and providing opportunities for them to communicate with company managers and supervisors. If employees feel safe, they will tell you what is on their minds.  Your work culture must foster trust for successful two-way communication.
  2. An employee must receive quality supervision. Owners of staffing companies tend to leave managers and supervisors in charge of company culture, sometimes without even realizing. Owners can only hope that they have conveyed the message correctly. Usually, it is not enough that the manger is well-liked or a nice person. Your entire company culture can be trashed if you have a dictator for a manager, or a nasty, controlling individual that does not follow the company culture.

Managers or supervisors need to know, and buy into the fact that the key to employee retention is the quality of the supervision.

Managers who retain staff, start by communicating clear expectation to employees and share their picture of what constitutes success for the employee.

When an employee completes an exchange with a great manager who knows how to retain staff, he or she feels empowered, enabled, and confident in their ability to get the job done.

Remember, at the end of the day that employee is a representative of your staffing agency. They have more influence than you may think on how others view your company.

Now that we covered the importance of Employee retention, I’d like to share my views on how Managers can be your best tool for retaining your employees.

How to Help Managers with Employee Retention

Almost every manager or supervisor can increase her ability to retain employees by developing management skills. Keep in mind that teaching a manager about how to value people can be more challenging. Particularly if the manager doesn't already value people and their contributions in his/her mind and heart, it will be a leap for them to change their values.

Here are some ideas that will help your organization develop managers who believe in and act in ways that support employee retention:

- Establish core values, a mission and vision that enables people to align themselves with the company direction. Communicate the importance of these, and set clear expectations about the behaviors expected from managers to accomplish these.

 - Come up with a performance development plan with each manager that stresses the expected managerial areas of development. Your managers need to be held accountable for more than just numbers. What are they really doing to help your employees?

 - Provide training in core management skills to every manager. Core management skills include how to:

    • integrate performance management, including goal setting
    • give and receive feedback
    • recognize and value employees
    • coach employee performance
    • handle employee complaints and problems
    • provide a motivating work environment
    • hold career development discussions with employees

 - Hold regular meetings to provide management development, coaching and feedback. You can assist managers to improve their management style and skills. A regular meeting helps you debrief events as they occur, while memories of the exchanges are fresh in the manager's mind. 

 - Provide funding for educational development opportunities for managers to continue learning.

Remember, the company culture starts at the top and trickles down through each layer. Your managers are employees too. They look to the top of the chain for an example and proper guidance. What you give them ultimately is passed to the employees they manage. Keep that in mind.

Mark Leonard