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Employee turnover isn't just costly -- experts say that finding and training a replacement can cost twice an employee's salary -- it can also dampen employee morale, cut into productivity and put customer and partner relationships suddenly on thin ice. With an increasingly fickle (and mobile) workforce, holding on to your most prized asset, your people, in some ways has never been tougher.

An array of well-known retention strategies can hedge against those risks, of course. Offering competitive benefits and perks, for instance, conducting "stay" interviews," and training and promoting from within are great examples. At the same time, the boom in social and mobile technologies in the workplace is pushing managers -- and not just HR managers -- to use new approaches and tactics to reduce churn and boost retention.

Introducing social business. Vala Afshar, social business expert and co-author of “The Pursuit of Social Business,” says it’s built on the premise that open and transparent social communication between people and organizations at all levels improves attitudes, performance and company culture. And today’s nascent cloud services and social collaboration tools make that opportunity easier and cheaper than ever to explore in the workplace. 

“A social business is not just about social media or social tech -- it’s about a mindset of inclusiveness and shared compatibility,” explains Afshar. Communication and transparency in a company culture can lead to a lower need to hire additional staff and efficiency gains within the workforce, he says. Afshar offers three insights for creating a social business that works.

Flatten the Social Hierarchy

Afshar believes that "not one of us is as smart as all of us." This means a great idea can come from the office assistant or an SVP -- and when people are talking and collaborating together, even greater ideas emerge. Valuing every employee and making them feel integral to the organization brings more engagement and is critical for establishing a fulfilling company culture that doesn’t lead to turnover. “Trust the people you hire and trust them to do the work,” Afshar says. 

Establish a Social and Transparent Mindset from the Top

The formation of a culture starts at the top -- executives must exhibit transparency, equality and trust to establish a companywide social mindset. Employees feel a stronger connection to the company when they are included in communications. And the more communication, the better.

Use New Tools to Jump-Start Collaboration

At the end of the day, effectively working together is what makes a social business, and there are now many tools to help facilitate that. Internal social networks can connect employees and get departments and units talking and collaborating. The result will be not only make for more efficient work processes, but more engaged employees. Use new technology to help create community.