Employee Retention Strategies

The Ohio Bankers League (OBL) recently hosted bankers from across Ohio to convene on topics that affect our industry. The tireless efforts of the OBL are incredible and we couldn’t move forward as an industry without its support. The experts at the OBL build an engaging agenda that addressed the regulatory requirements affecting our industry, as well as best practices for customer service and career development for bankers. I was honored to be invited to discuss employee retention strategies with a panel of peers making an impact in their local communities.

Our discussion was led by Brian Rhonemus (www.rhonemusgroup.com) and opened with the startling statistic that on Indeed, today there are 18,000 open job positions in banking in the state of Ohio. This causes several problems. First, it means that recruiter calls are at an all-time high, which stresses retention strategy; and second, it means that we aren’t attracting professionals to the industry, which causes stress on recruitment efforts.

So what are we doing internally to combat the problem? Leadership and Training 101. Consistently, the first tool out of the box in our industry is to hire a full-time trainer. Don’t underestimate the power of an effective training program that invests in your team. Think of training as your greatest succession tool. According to Rhonemus Consulting , 42% of employees feel job satisfaction hinges on development opportunities. With a strong training program, you’ll be investing in your people, creating space for open communication and providing meaningful programs. A quality program will shine the light on rising stars and identify high performers seeking advancement in your company.

Consider a management curriculum separate from your leadership classes, and always populate your classrooms with cross-functional teammates. Achievement awards (monetary and non-monetary) will help punctuate the importance of completing the coursework. Lifelong learning is likely an attribute you admire, so consider making it a permanent function in your organization.

Another consistent theme was to revisit the company benefits package. Benefits used to be synonymous with retirement packages and insurance plans. Today it’s a commitment to respect your team’s whole life – not just when they retire or are out ill, but what are you offering in support today? Do you address flexible work hours and flexible work space? How about energy-saving recognition for teammates that bike to work or rideshare with others in your business park? Do you offer a fitness plan? My niece joined a company that offers $500 in athletic shoes annually to encourage their team to get outside and get active. How about parenting policies and bereavement policies? Has your handbook been updated to remove judgement on outdated family structures? Is your tuition reimbursement policy generous? Do you cover volunteer hours or do you create volunteer gateways? Do you match charitable contributions? Consider sharing ideas with a peer group and encourage innovative ways to build champions. Genuine pride and appreciation are the most powerful retention tools.

We’d love to learn more about your approach to employee recruitment, retention, investment and advancement. Raising human capital may be the greatest investment of them all.

If you have a program you’d like to share, please call me. I would love to hear more.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Griffith is the Ohio Regional President of First Merchants Bank. If you’d like to learn more about retention strategies, please feel free to contact her directly at 614.583.2050 or by email at jgriffith@firstmerchants.com