This is a topic you will read, hear or even write about over the next several years. Why? Because retention is the key to our future. And our future will not shine bright if we cannot keep our people - bottom line. I recently had the opportunity to hear Ed Barlow speak on the future ... exploring the rapid and dramatic economic, technological, social, and political changes that lie ahead. His audience (CEOs, CFOs, CAOs and Presidents) was completely engaged, capturing every last detail on paper. Circled in red marker was Retention, with a capital "R." Ed's point in tying everything back to retention was clearly that no matter the changes in our future, we cannot survive these changes as a company without our people.

Just released in Nation's Restaurant News is an article on an IHOP franchisee who utilized post-hiring surveys to dramatically reduce turnover. Joe Scripture is president of Southern Restaurant Management, an 11-unit IHOP group he operates with partner Jose Rodriguez in the metropolitan Atlanta area. He says

It’s as if you were a fly on a wall, getting a look at a new employee’s life. By confidentially learning employees’ candid opinions about their hiring experience within 30 days of employment, SRM’s restaurant managers have been able to adjust training and orientation methods and reduce turnover by 31 percent at five IHOPs in a pilot program.

IHOP is an excellent example of a company that realizes the importance of retaining their talent - with an immediate result in cost savings. Joe was the first restaurant operator to use the QTrac program. Other IHOP franchisees may choose to follow in his successful footsteps to reduce turnover, as well.

When you consider the cost of finding people all over again, the cost to hire and train, then retention is the ultimate goal, Kevin Hensley, of the Bernard Hodes Group, said. Ultimately the goal at the end of the day is to get the voice of the employee.

More and more companies are utilizing QTrac to ensure an ROI on key factors that have an impact on the employment brand. The innovative survey system queries current and exiting employee's impressions of everything from recruiting process and brand awareness to source of hire and job fit. The analytics and benchmarking enables improvements to the employer brand experience.

We got feedback we had never had before—in aggregate, Scripture said. Usually when people get hired and then leave, we’re left sometimes scratching our heads as to why. A curious thing happens: What you measure tends to improve.

To request the Nation's Restaurant News article on IHOP, please email chorgan@hodes.com.

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