Employee retention: a customer service approach.Radiol Manage. 2002 May-Jun; 24(3):16-23.RM
Employee retention is a huge problem. There are staff shortages in radiology because not enough people are entering the profession; too many people are leaving the profession for retirement, higher-paying jobs or jobs with less stress; and there are not enough opportunities for career advancement. Staff shortages are exacerbated by difficulty in retaining people who enter the profession. While much work has been focused on recruitment and getting more people "in the front door," I suggest that the bulk of future efforts be focused on employee retention and "closing the back door." Employee retention must be an ongoing process, not a program. Approaches to employee retention that focus on external things, i.e., things that the company can do to or for the employee, generally are not successful. The truth is that employee retention processes must focus on what the employee gets out of the job. The process must be a benefits-based approach that helps employees answer the question, "What's in it for me?" The retention processes must be ongoing and integrated into the daily culture of the company. The best way to keep your employees is to treat them like customers. Customer service works for external customers. We treat them nicely. We work to satisfy them. We help them achieve their goals. Why not do the same for our employees? If positive customer service policies and practices can satisfy and keep external customers, why not adapt these policies and practices for employees? And, there is a service/satisfaction link between employee retention and higher levels of customer satisfaction. Customers prefer dealing with the same employees over and over again. Employee turnover destroys a customer's confidence in the company. Just like a customer does not want to have to "train and educate" a new provider, they do not want to do the same for your "revolving door" employees. So, the key is to keep employees so they in turn will help you keep your customers. Because the techniques of this process mirror the activities of customer service and customer relationship management, I call the combined process C/ERM for customer/employee relationship management. Both activities must be going on simultaneously to create a loyalty link that ensures customer satisfaction and retention through employee service, satisfaction and retention.