According to Gallup, 87% of employees are disengaged with their work. Combine that with the fact that the average employee has less than 2 hours per month to devote to training yet state 16 hours per month is needed to stay current, it is not surprising that over 41 million people voluntarily left their jobs in 2018 according to the Work Institute. That’s 27 out of 100 employees and an 88% increase from 2010. In 2020, tack on a global pandemic requiring a new work from home setup, parents managing online school or homeschool, others fighting off loneliness and employee engagement is in crisis.
As a leader, does this resonate with you? These facts are important because not only is it expensive to lose and replace an employee, it is disruptive for colleagues and clients to experience the loss and transition. For 6 figure roles, it is estimated to cost a company up to 213% to lose an employee due to lost revenue, lost productivity, recruiting, training, and compensation to replace that individual.
Employee engagement, retention and satisfaction drive client engagement, retention and satisfaction. The best way to focus on your clients is to focus on your employees. This makes sense yet when I sought out to see what other companies were doing with respect to retention across both areas, it shocked me to realize that the job market is largely divided. You have Engagement Officers who focus on your clients and their experience with your products and services. Then you have People Officers who are an evolution of your HR team to recruit and retain the best performers in your industry. But what about someone who is in charge of the strategy to ensure the growth and development of your employees is in line with the ever-changing market needs of your clients?
I have spent some time defining the role of Chief Retention Officer. This role will wrap their arms around both aspects of business development by understanding consumer needs and interpersonal expectations of your clients and aligning that with the growth, engagement and development plan for employees. This role is expected to regularly interact with clients and employees and lead the company’s strategic initiative to collaborate across business lines to ensure company growth is aligned in both disciplines. Here's the job description:
Top Priorities of a Chief Retention Officer:
Ensure the company functions as a highly coached, lightly managed, high-performing team
Safeguard client partnerships through strategic initiatives that link employee growth to client needs
Uphold company values by ensuring all decisions, interactions and communications link back to the values of the company
Cultivate the relationship between leadership and employees by building an employee-centric work environment that focuses on putting the right people in the right jobs to allow the individual and company to realize their full potential
Create and execute an employee retention strategy that focuses on transparency in how company values directly influence client engagement and employee development initiatives
Implement learning and development programs to build leadership skills and critical technical competencies to support company values and strategic initiatives as well as employee career and competency development.
Ensure managers are equipped with the soft skills required to have candid, collaborative conversations with employees that strengthen relationships, strive towards professional growth, and solve small problems before they become larger ones that drive great people out the door
Create a bidirectional feedback and recognition environment that encourages leadership at all levels through collaborative communication
Leverage the latest market trends to champion forward-thinking initiatives that align company growth and employee development opportunities
Establish a long-term client retention program that prioritizes existing clients and creates mechanisms for quantifying the cost saving of the effort
Uphold strategy to ensure employee skill sets and expertise continue to satisfy evolving customer needs based on market analysis and trends
Liaise with all internal departments to identify and resolve escalated, recurring client satisfaction issues and determine company approach to long term resolution through employee development initiatives
While I mention that the job market is largely divided, our trusty friends at HBR wrote a fantastic article about this mash-up role in June 2019 titled "Why Every Company Needs a Chief Experience Officer." Same concept, different title.