When developing an employee retention strategy, a business must ultimately consider salaries. There’s no doubt that a long-term employee will feel slighted if a new employee joins at a higher pay. Chances are they may even feel slighted if the new employee receives the same wage. In the automotive industry (and business in general), it’s increasingly acceptable to see applicants with multiple jobs in short time spans. It was not too long ago that hiring managers reviewing applications would frown upon these attributes, harboring questions of stability and suspicions as to why a person couldn’t keep a job. It also wasn’t that long ago when people had only a single employer their entire lives.
So what changed?
Let’s say you hired Bill in 2004. When he was hired, he came to you with little to no experience. Chances are good that he wouldn’t have paid him the same as your experienced technicians at the time. Fast forward to today: Bill now has 10 years experience working for your dealership and is a key employee in your service department. With skilled technicians becoming scarcer, even if Bill had received incremental raises throughout his tenure, there’s no doubt that Bill could find a position with a new employer that would start him at a higher wage than he currently has with your company. There is fierce competition amongst dealers for skilled techs. And that is what is happening across all industries. Employees are finding that achieving upward mobility and market value wages is easier through job-hopping. And hiring managers are accepting this more often than they have in the past.
Now, while you may think that I’m advocating paying your technicians more, in fact, salary is not always the most important consideration for an employee when deciding whether to leave or stay. A study by The Great Place to Work Institute revealed that “employee trust in management, pride in the company and camaraderie in colleagues” overshadowed pay in employee’s minds. While pay was considered, company culture was the leading reason why employees stayed loyal.
Most businesses cannot afford to pay all of their employees the highest wages in their positions. However, when companies recruit new employees, that’s exactly how they do it – with promises of competitive wages.
“Competing for employees based on having the highest wage is little different than competing for customers based on having the lowest prices,” wrote the CEO of a multinational company in a separate article on Forbes.
This is exactly what most businesses do! Recruit new employees with more money and acquire new customers by offering lower prices! According to the article, companies that focus long-term on both are likely to end up with unhappy customers, unhappy employees, and no money.
The next time you think about what your business can do to decrease employee turnover, begin your search by taking a long, hard look at the non-monetary benefits that you offer employees. You may find that your turnover problem has nothing to do with money.