Tips on Improving Employee Retention | Connector Team Recruiting.png

A little background on today’s job market before talking looking at retention.  It’s truly a competitive job market in 2019.  There are 7.3 million job openings according to the BLS and only 6.1MM unemployed persons based on the July Unemployment report fill those available jobs.  The reason most jobs go unfilled is due to the skills mismatch and or the earnings and education gaps.

I guess that means as a Recruiter I have job security.  Truth be told, recruiting and talent professionals are working harder than ever to uncover and source talent.


This is not complicated - more turnover simply hurts your brand. From where I sit, turnover is one big distraction and many times it’s 100% controllable. The Cost of Turnover  according to the (SHRM) the Society for Human Resource Management in a study conducted for hiring and replacing one employee is $4,127.00.

Many decision makers look at the front end or their P&L costs when developing their pay plan without any eye for what turnover will cost them in brand goodwill plus the cost of replacing an employee.  Many companies are starting to figure this out, and they are looking at key components that drive turnover.

Look at the job to determine the Value Proposition

Let’s look at a few of the JOB “VALUE PROPOSITION” that a company will typically offer.

Is the Job Title right, does the job provide interesting work?

Is the Job Title, right? This is relatively easy to look at and a little thing that not only makes the job sound better – but makes the person feel empowered if done the right way. 

Store Clerk vs Customer Specialist or…Guest Experience Leader once they have mastered the basics.  See how simple that was? Which title would you rather have?  Try it again – Driver vs Warehouse Delivery Expert.

 Schedule - Are the hours reasonable?

Could a reasonable person work those hours consistently and in a sustainable way without giving up a balanced family life? 

Are you adapting and evolving? Have you considered the demographic shift and the changing workforce based on the accelerating turnover in the baby boomer workforce? Many front-line jobs are retail and you must staff the power hours typically weekends.

Flexibility is key, can you rotate a weekend day off twice a month, or give one full weekend a month.  Provide extra PTO for working weekend power hours to be taken later.

CAREER PATHING – it’s what everyone is seeking!

When a candidate pursues a job at your organization, chances are they’re unhappy at their current company for several reasons, including a poor manager or a need for higher earning potential. However, a desire for upward mobility is the top motivation for a job search, according to 30% of candidates in a recent study the mrinetwork recruitment-trends-study

Some additional explanations for pursuing new opportunities include:

  • Seeking more compensation: 25%

  • Didn’t like their boss 19%

  • Contract assignment ended: 15%

  • Switched to a different industry or sector: 13%

It’s essential to anticipate this top job change motivator and to have prepared strategies in your interviewing and hiring processes that respond to this driver.

Nobody wants to feel stuck in dead-end jobs. If you value your workers, ask yourself when your most talented players last got promoted, or when they were given more responsibility on the job. If you can't remember, take it as a sign that you need to do a better job of helping your employees progress in their careers.

You can do so by taking the time to help your workers map out specific career paths and giving them the onsite tools and resources needed to be successful.

You can also offer education subsidies so that your employees can work on growing their skills outside the office. In the Furniture Industry that has trade shows, conferences and other education under way and interesting ways to challenge and develop your best and brightest. 

“Train your employees so that they can clearly answer questions about job advancement. “It’s essential to keeping star candidates interested and excited about your company.”

Ultimately, candidates want to know they’ll grow in their position at a new company or at least can tackle new challenges. Demonstrating evidence of this through employer branding can leave a lasting impression with potential new hires that makes them want to join a team that celebrates success.


Though money isn't the only thing that drives workers to seek new job opportunities, it's a big one. I usually see it come in #3 overall in terms of reasons for turnover.  Because it’s in the top tier it pays to do some salary and wage comparisons and see how well-compensated your employees are based on industry averages. If the salaries you pay leave much to be desired, you may need to rethink your compensation strategies and shift resources around to pay your workers what they're really worth.

For this area along with benefits we recommend you check to see what salary surveys are available in your area within your SIC and area of focus.  You should shop your competitors by finding out what they pay too.  It’s not hard with the available resources listed on their websites and you can take that information and match it up with what former employees that work for your company know.  You can also research online resource aggregators such as Glass Door which can also contain information on company benefits based on employee surveys.  


Benefits must be competitive.  When benefit packages are competitive, it’s hard to recruit someone away from a company.  It’s one more building block to guard against turnover.  Ask yourself this key question. When was the last time you really looked at your competition and compared your benefits to what they are offering?  We all know that virtually every retailer and wholesale company shops their competition for pricing? It just makes sense to do the same with benefits and compensation.

When looking at your benefits look at these key areas:

401K Plans - take a fresh look at your 401K fees, typically some employers don’t even know how costly some of the 401K plans are with limited high cost fees.  Make sure to highlight and push your provider to allow for low management fee ETF’s provided by some of the best Investment companies. How does your match compare?

Health Plans – How does your health care plan stack up. Can you afford a higher subsidy for your workers' health insurance premiums or perhaps a contribution to an Health Savings Account (HSA). An HSA match or portion match is another great way to enhance your benefits plans.

 Other ideas:

We also see companies offering free lunches twice a week, onsite fitness classes, and time off for charity work.

Work at Home Flex time – this is an area that with the advance of technology there are some skill jobs Digital assistants (Web) and Customer call center associates and technology roles where it can be highly productive and it makes sense to have flexibility for workers to work from home. While you don’t want to be big brother there are tools to inspect what you expect in almost all of these rolls. 

Store hours - some companies are even looking at their store hours. This is an area and trend that appears to be trending.  Recently two smaller profile clients have chosen to close on Sunday as a strategic decision. Yes, I said that right they are closing on Sunday just like several large companies including; RC Willey and Chic-fil-A. These giants have built this into their business model and have never looked back.  Both are considered dominant power players in their categories.

Think of the benefits of Closing on Sunday:

  1. Work life balance

  2. Less scheduling and staffing issues because of the six-day

  3. Ability to offer better service to their consumer in the six days they are open with better overall staffing availability.

  4. Management retention

  5. Cost reduction in Utilities and other operating costs.

Company WOW factor

Your WOW factor comes from leadership and is important for the younger profile candidate that is looking to work for a company that has a standing in the marketplace and a great name in the community. 

As yourself this about all your new hires recently. Do they know the mission, your goal, your customer and what differentiates you from your competition?

Many CEO’s and leaders take it for granted that the employee has gotten the message and must have read their handbook and know their company. 

Here is a great example; I recently heard from an outgoing CEO of a large regional Furniture chain.  He was providing a reference to me for one of his General Managers that had worked for him. He shared with the story of the company’s long-term success which upon his retirement resulted in the successful sale of his company.  He provided two reasons including; first he made sure that everyone knew the fundamentals of giving exceptional service to their retail and B2B customer base. Second, he viewed his employees as his customers too.  In fact, to quote him, “I coached every leader in our company to manage upward on an inverted pyramid and to empower their people just like I empowered them to make decisions.” 

So naturally I asked him if that resulted in bad decisions over the years since we’re talking about big ticket purchases? His response was, “yes, he had seen a handful of bonehead decisions that created coaching moments.  In those coaching sessions he always started out by applauding them for making a decision for their customer before discussing other alternatives. 

One last recommendation that can help you reduce turnover:

Are you hiring and looking at all demographic channels? Have you tapped into the senior market?  According to a study by SHRM in 25 U.S. cities with a population of 200,000 or more, at least 20 percent of city residents over age 65 are still working—and that's a stat that is likely to grow. Studies have shown that older workers are more reliable and have less tendency towards turnover than other groups.  Many Employees Choose to Work Longer for several reasons with the most frequently cited as monetary quickly followed by wanting to stay active and engaged. If you want more information a study is available for SHRM members in a member-only toolkit for Employing Older workers.

Interns and High School and College recruiting

I often point to the reason I’m a recruiter today.  You see the national company I worked for tapped me at a young age to develop our college grad intern program – 13 weeks with graduation into a management slot.  We recognized that we needed to bring in and develop outstanding people to fill the bench as we grew our store count.  I’ve watched a number of these early hires continue in the industry today. It’s great to know that I had small part in introducing them to the Furniture industry that I love.

 Blog Post by: Bill O’Malley, Chief Recruiting Officer at Connector Team Recruiting.  Connector Team is recognized by leaders and leading consultants as the premier search firm in the Furniture | Electronics and Sleep vertical space. Connector Team is an affiliate office of MRINETWORK recently ranked in 2019 as a Top Recruitment Firm by Forbes Magazine.