Every company relies on employees to provide the best work ethic possible to ensure the success of the product or service. More tools are popping up in order to harness the employee from the recruitment phase to retention. Although there are plenty of tools that can be utilized, there are also simple things that the employer can do internally to get the best from future and current employees.

Starting my company 12 years ago has allowed me the pleasure and the pain of seeing employees come and go. As many will note, it is far more expensive to obtain new talent than it is to retain, however, in the competitive landscape it is incredibly tricky to make sure great people stick around. As CEO, I have had triumphs in building a strong team and also have made mistakes that I have turned around to create tips that will allow any business owner the chance to build better employee relationships starting today.

1. Examine what keeps your current employees around

Your best recruiting assets are your current employees. In order to recruit talent that will help grow and build your business, it is key to find out what is keeping your current employees around and what has caused former employees to leave. Memory can be hazy and unreliable, which is why it is important to keep a record of "employee inventory." Key factors to consider, include salary, advancement opportunities, job challenge, and snacks (yes, snacks). Create a spreadsheet of every single employee and track at least six data points, but make them consistent for every employee. Identify the current salary range, how many promotions received, and what are their favorite snack items. Let the data be your top selling points in identifying potential employees to join your company.

2. Set core goals for employee review

It is important for both the employee and employer to be on the same page for what is expected of them. It is crucial for both the employee and employer to have data when an individual surpasses (or underperforms) expectations. Setting up a standard employee review, however, is not an entirely effective way of measuring this performance. Instead, it is key to pair a base of general company expectations with individualized data metrics. If there is a want or need to include attributes such as attitude and community building, it is important to assign a number to correspond with the behavior. The soft data and the hard data can provide a full scope of how the employee lifts the company both in culture and in growth.

3. Know when your employee is about to leave and stop them

You do not need to stalk your employee's internet history in order to know if they are leaving. Instead, you can know by looking at past employee behavior and by simply asking. Now, this does not mean blatantly asking the question, but rather looking at the responses given by past employees for leaving and generating questions that highlight those issues so you are able to address them and prevent them from leaving. If you identify that most of the past employees left when their projects stayed static for a year, perhaps engage current employees fitting this description with, "Are there any tasks in the project that you would like to own?" Whatever question you might pose, make sure that both the question and the answer are recorded.

It is truly important to look at all interactions, answers, and moments as data points. Soft data is incredibly nuanced and hard to track in a standard service. This human element of data is the key advantage an employer can utilize in ensuring that future and current employees bring forth the most value to the company and that the company can bring the most value to them.


Shannon Smith is Founder & CEO of Blueye, a company that helps brands define the engagement journey and build tailored social programs that drive loyalty and ROI. She has been featured in Crain's Chicago, Adweek, and under her leadership, Blueye has been listed as one of the top 10 design companies in Forbes 2009, one of the top 10 web development companies in Entrepreneur Magazine in 2008 and became one of Facebook's preferred marketing partners, holding 2 of the 4 available badges. Shannon devotes what little spare time she has to saving animals through a rescue that she co-founded in 2013. Follow her on Twitter @shannonblueyes @blueyesocial