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Why Do Staff Stray?

by Kathleen Gubanich
When employers think of employee retention, they first may hone in on their compensation or benefits offerings. While that is absolutely important, there is plenty of evidence showing that employees are more likely to stay with an organization if they feel part of a broader mission, share common values and know they personally make a difference.

Retaining your best employees leads to a better working environment, fosters client satisfaction and improves business results—three critical components of long-term business success.

World-class companies align their business strategy with their employee retention strategy. They study their workforce to learn why people stay and what they need in order to achieve the company’s goals.

Vanguard’s average tenure is double the financial services industry median tenure of five years.* Here are some key ways that have contributed to our success in retaining our crew (employees).

A mission employees can identify with
A strong mission should help employees feel good about what they do. Vanguard’s core purpose is to take a stand for all investors, to treat them fairly, and to give them the best chance for investment success. We are structured as a client-owned firm with no outside owners seeking profits. This enables us to put clients first, advocate for the best interests of investors, and continually lower investment costs.

Forty years after our founding, we’ve kept that mission alive. If you need ideas for doing the same:
• At every opportunity, share your company’s mission and philosophical difference.

• Reinforce the values that give your company a competitive advantage.

• Directly connect your employees’ contributions to the company’s success. For instance, our Partnership Plan provides a meaningful portion of compensation based on long-term company performance and clients’ investment success.

A strong culture connected to the mission
Employees who connect with an organization’s culture—its values and standards—are more likely to remain. For example, “do the right thing” and “client first” are our two main cultural underpinnings. They are based on:
• Integrity: Our client-owned structure and philosophy drives us to adhere to the highest ethical standards and ensures that our clients benefit from the lowest possible costs.

• Focus: We maintain a long-term perspective and a disciplined approach to business decisions, always weighing what is best for our clients.

• Stewardship: We are caretakers of our clients’ investments, a huge responsibility that we take to heart. That sense of caring extends to our employees and communities.

Live and breathe your culture every day. Talk about it constantly. Demonstrate it in simple ways—one way we keep costs low is remembering to turn out the lights when leaving a room.

A focus on employees
Valuing your employees goes beyond offering competitive compensation and benefits programs. They need to know they really matter.

Help employees with their careers, not just their jobs. Make development a priority. That includes mentoring, training, increasing responsibility in their current role, job rotation and temporary assignments in other departments. One of the things we hear the most from our crew is how they value the career mobility we offer; they don’t get pigeonholed in one division or location. There is no one single career path.

Workplace policies and programs that will help employees achieve your business goals are paramount. For instance, flexible schedules can help retain valuable employees who need to balance work and family.

As you develop your employee retention strategy, consider that employees who feel part of a higher calling and valued for their role in the company’s success are more likely to be with you for the long run.

Kathy Gubanich is a managing director of Vanguard and head of human resources. An example of successful employee retention, Kathy has been with the company for 30 years.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics

Published (and copyrighted) in Philly Biz, Volume 1, Issue 4 (March, 2016).
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