Seth Morgan, MLA CEO discusses Employee Retention on The Sunday Business Page. Seth was interviewed by Jon Delano on Pittsburg’s KDKA and asked about retaining key employees during this difficult labor market.
Below is the transcript of this lightly edited version. See the full interview here.
This is the Sunday Business Page with John Delano. Welcome to another home edition of the Sunday Business Page. And our very special guest this morning is Seth Morgan who is CEO of MLA Companies. What exactly is MLA Companies?
We are in essence a business advisory firm, very focused on the financial discipline, internally running finance departments, providing strategy and business intelligence coming out of financial data etc.
But what interested me in you was a report about the increasing job vacancies during this pandemic. How bad is the situation right now?
It’s pretty bad John. I’m sitting right now in a restaurant in the Regan International Airport, so forgive the background noise, but specifically for places like a restaurant, retention has been hit very hard, and that’s been worse via COVID. It’s not limited to the hospitality industry and it’s not a specific COVID issue, it’s just been made worse.
Is it important for employers to retain their current people or should they just go out and hire new folks?
In the article you are referencing, we talk a lot about retention. The prevailing wisdom is that to retain is better than to find new. That’s because you have to do a lot of retraining, there’s a lot of soft costs that people don’t calculate. Some estimate that’s as much as a third of the salary that you’re going to pay that person which gets very expensive.
There’s always an opportunity to improve your employee group but when you’ve got a situation like we do here which is largely a labor shortage across industries, our clients at least, are looking very hard to retain employees and to find ways to make themselves more attractive to the extent of even moving plants to make themselves more accessible to that employee group.
So, it’s very expensive to change and to experience a high turnover rate, but the days of 40-year longevity inside companies are pretty long gone. So employers have to think differently about keeping their talent.
Yea, and that statistic I read, that 35% of US employees are going to leave their job in the coming year. What are some of those strategies that you recommend to keep good people, to keep people on the payroll?
The quick easy answer for everybody is more pay. but that’s not really the answer in every case. I would encourage folks to start with starting to measure the cultural environment in their company. These can be done through cultural assessments or team assessments. Start to build a knowledge base for what your employees are actually seeking.
That’s probably the biggest key even as we think about COVID, and watching our clients go through that, the clients who have paid attention to their employees and have tried to care for them, not just financially but with flexible work hours, etc., are the ones who seem to be the best at retaining that talent. Because that talent actually believes the employer cares. It’s really what we’re talking about. Sometimes it’s financial, many times it’s not.
Well, Seth Morgan, thank you sir for spending time with us today, and for sharing this advice. I think it’s good advice. And thank you for watching this edition of the Sunday Business Page. Have a great Sunday everybody!
To learn more about employee retention strategies, click here.
See more interviews with Seth and MLA Team members on our MLA In the News page.