Challenges and Strategies for Hiring, Training and Retaining Great Employees
One of the biggest challenges franchise business owners will face in 2024 is employee retention. Hiring, training, and retaining talent are often huge hurdles that divert precious time from growing a strong team and a successful business. Employee turnover is an expense and a distraction that can cost a business more than just dollars — it also impacts productivity. According to Zippia, it takes 36 to 42 days to fill the average position in the United States, and takes, on average, three to eight months for a new hire to become fully productive at work.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, says HR expert Britt Waterman, a senior attorney and the director of development and human capital at myHRcounsel, a company that offers on-demand human resources and legal services to subscribers. Specializing in HR trends linked to employee retention, myHRcounsel focuses on adopting a holistic strategy. This comprehensive approach extends beyond basic salary considerations.
Waterman advises that successful business strategies for holding on to top talent begin well before an employee’s first day on the job. “Employee retention starts on the day a franchisee posts a job position and continues throughout the ups and downs of employment,” says Waterman. “We get franchisees started on the right path to hiring,” she says, noting that myHRcounsel, which is staffed by licensed attorneys, assists with recruiting and with creating job descriptions, offer letters and potential interview questions.
Once an employee is hired, myHRcounsel helps with onboarding and training. “We include an employee handbook with every subscription, which is the most important document that every employer needs. No franchisee is too big or too small to need the handbook we provide,” Waterman emphasizes.
In addition, franchise business owners can get support with resolving interpersonal conflicts and developing performance improvement plans, with unlimited assistance available seven days a week from myHRcounsel through a secure portal or mobile application. myHRcounsel also works with clients on developing a positive company culture with open-door policies. “We generally assist our franchisees with creating an environment where employees feel supported and appreciated and will not feel the need to just skip to the next job because they’re not feeling heard or being treated fairly,” says Waterman.
2024 HR Trends
Undoubtedly, the current labor climate complicates efforts to retain workers. The U.S. unemployment rate edged down to 3.7 percent in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it is not clear when the rate will rise again or how quickly it will go up. Waterman sees the low unemployment rate as an obstacle to worker retention, because employees assume they can quit and then easily find another job.
So what are the key issues that drive employees out the door? Waterman lists them as dissatisfaction with wages and benefits, personality conflicts, unfair or unsafe working conditions and a company’s refusal to provide an employee with a workplace accommodation. A recent report on Money.com shows that 62 percent of workers would like to leave their jobs, citing similar reasons: unfair pay, toxic workplace culture and poor work-life balance.
When giving raises is not possible, benefits and perks serve as other ways to reward employees.
“If the employee does not feel fairly compensated, you have the choice to raise compensation for your employees or deal with the turnover when employees feel they can be better compensated somewhere else,” she says. Of course, pay raises aren’t always feasible. And when giving raises is not possible, benefits and perks serve as other ways to reward employees, although Waterman advises employers to be sure to consider any potential negative tax consequences for workers, so that employees “don’t feel cheated instead of rewarded.”
myHRcounsel also supports clients in handling on-the-job conflicts large and small, including discrimination and harassment complaints and EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) claims. “Getting us involved at the beginning of a potential conflict or compliance issue can save franchisees from having high turnover and baseless (or warranted) complaints about the working environment that can lead to a lawsuit down the road,” Waterman explains. “I have saved a number of franchisees from legal claims when they have questions about conflicts in the workplace, and I did a deep-dive investigation to find the underlying issue and made sure the issue was handled with legal compliance.”
Similarly, myHRcounsel has guided clients in providing reasonable workplace accommodations when necessary. “We walked the franchisees through the interactive process, required under the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act], so that they were able to retain employees by making simple adjustments to the work environment or schedule,” Waterman says.
Clients who seek support from myHRcounsel can choose from two packages, depending on their needs. The ASK HR Plan starts at $149 a month, and the ASK Pro Plan starts at $300 a month. Both plans include access to advice from employment lawyers, hundreds of employment law documents and templates and a best practices employee handbook. The ASK Pro Plan also provides broader access to documents and templates, assistance with corporate policies and procedures, and collections services. Beyond these packages, clients can add à la carte options, which include services related to ERISA compliance (the Employment Retirement Income Security Act), IRS filings, and online employee training.
“So many franchise owners are the human resources department, the employees’ shoulder to cry on, the disciplinarian, the payroll expert, the mediator between employees and more, all on their own,” Waterman says. “myHRcounsel provides legally-backed advice (with no disclaimers) from licensed attorneys on demand to take pressure off the franchise owner and give them a partner in HR and employment law.”
Effective Talent Management
Effective talent management is vital for business success. Addressing current HR trends, it’s essential to prioritize fair compensation, benefits, and a positive workplace culture to retain employees. Navigating these challenges requires proactive strategies. To learn more about optimizing talent management, visit myHRcounsel at www.myHRcounsel.com.
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