Lessons in Retention for TM practitioners

Lessons in Retention for TM practitioners
By Carlos Botero, VP of HR, DIRECTV

From the September 8, 2011 meeting of the CO New Talent Management Network (www.contmn.com), at the DIRECTV facility at 161 Inverness Drive West in Englewood, as written by Laura Stack.

Under the leadership of Carlos Botero, who took over as VP of HR in July 2008, DIRECTV is on track for a 24% employee churn in 2011, down from a high of 110% in 2008. How was this accomplished? Here are my key take-aways from his presentation on employee retention.

1. “Great talent follows great talent.” Procedures can only take you to a certain percent of turnover, and then you rely on the hearts of your employees. If it’s a great place to work, their buddies ask them, “Hey, can you get me a job?”

2. “If you want stars to come work for you, they need to know you:
• Know your business;
• Are headed in the right place; and
• You will have to sell them a little bit.”

3. “If you want to keep good people, your organization has to be:
• An awesome place to work;
• Where everyone wants to stay; and
• Employees actually have to BE awesome to stay.”

4. “When do I give you the shoes? Should you walk 3 miles, and then I’ll give them to you? Or should I give you the shoes now and ask you to follow me 3 miles? At DIRECTV, we believe you should give the shoes up front. If you invest up front, you’ll get it back in commitment.” This involves:
• Competitive pay
• Health & retirement benefits (“We spend a lot on great healthcare. You want to know someone’s strategy? Ask them to show you their budget.”)
• Multimedia communication
• Employee engagement

5. “People don’t leave the company, they leave their bosses.” If boss not moving you forward, you start to resent it. So you must invest in your managers to become better managers. You must build a better work environment where people want to stay. We provide in-depth leadership training for our supervisors. We also have a High Potential program that includes:
• 360 feedback surveys
• Mentoring
• Personal Development
• Coursework

6. We pay our technicians per job. We know their productivity has increased. Since they are paid for production, they simply do more installations, and they earn more money. Our technicians make it a career. The harder they work, they more they are paid. If they can do 10 jobs, they earn more than if they do 5 jobs in that same timeframe, so they are not lazy. They get fast and can churn out work, peaking at about 19 months of employment. We make a long-term commitment to their growth.