Employee retention is critical to the health of your organization. With your eye on company growth, member satisfaction, and innovation, it's critical to maintain your successful workforce.

Also, losing star employees comes with financial and non-financial costs—costs to the bottom line and demands on the organization, like training time, lost knowledge, and an impact on employee morale.

Meeting basic needs of your workforce has a direct correlation to retaining employees. However, with so many competing challenges, where do you begin in developing your organizational retention strategy and how do you know what basic needs matter to your employees?

Starting at the End: The Value of Exit Interviews

I’ve read many tips, perks, and programs for retaining employees, all valuable and thought provoking. But how do you know what will work for your organization and keep your talented workforce?

A valued tool for gathering information on the reasons why employees leave is conducting an exit interview. If the same reasons come up over an over again then this is good place to start in developing your retention strategy. It is important for your strategy to be authentic, pertain to your organization, and show that you genuinely care about the needs of your employees.

Let’s say your exit interviews point to the following reasons why employees are leaving:

  • Fair pay
  • Career development/room for growth
  • Desire to be seen as a valuable contributor to the organization
  • Work-life balance

Then these are areas to begin working on to meet employees’ basic needs.

Taking Action on Exit Interview Insights

Here are some tips for tackling these areas:

Fair compensation packages: As an employer you should know what the industry is paying. Besides networking in the industry, industry compensation and benefits benchmarking is important. IHRSA provides both networking and benchmarking.

The IHRSA Health Club Employee Compensation & Benefits Report helps health club owners and operators compare their compensation practices with those of North America’s most successful clubs. Salaries, hourly wages, and benefits (health insurance, retirement, vacation, and more) are provided for nearly 60 job titles.

Career development: Daniel Pink, former IHRSA keynote speaker and author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, says what actually motivates people is autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Keeping employees motivated and developing professionally is a great way to retain them. Also consider the IHRSA Institute and IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show as a form of training and developing your staff.

Valuable contributors to the organization: Another past IHRSA keynote speaker Simon Sinek says start with ‘why’—this is a valuable way to connect employees to your company mission. Explain to employees why they are doing what they are doing. What’s the bigger purpose?

Work-life balance: Work-life balance includes more than just offering benefits. We work in the industry to be able to offer wellness programming for our employees, flexible work schedules, and a positive work experience.

More Ways of Gathering Employee Feedback

You don’t have to wait to the exit interview to find out employees’ basic needs. Conduct regular check-ins to keep a pulse on what would help retain employees.

Conduct new hire 90-day check-ins as part of your onboarding, asking questions such as:

  • Is the job/team/company what you expected?
  • Do you have the tools and resources you need?
  • Do you feel out of the loop on anything?

Conduct “stay” interviews with current workforce:

  • What makes you stay at the company?
  • What would change about your role if you could?
  • What are your career goals?

At the end of the day, listening to what your employees have to say is a worthwhile investment that will benefit your health club in the long run.