Managers agree that retaining your best employees ensures customer satisfaction, product sales, satisfied coworkers and reporting staff, effective succession planning and deeply imbedded organizational knowledge aneid learning. If managers can cite these facts so well, why do they behave in ways that so frequently encourage great employees to quit their jobs?
Employee retention is one of the primary measures of the health of your organization.
1. A satisfied employee knows clearly what is expected from him every day at work.
Changing expectations keep people on edge and create unhealthy stress. They rob the employee of internal security and make the employee feel unsuccessful. I’m not advocating unchanging jobs just the need for a specific framework within which people clearly know what is expected from them.
2. The quality of the supervision an employee receives is critical to employee retention.
People leave managers and supervisors more often than they leave companies or jobs. It is not enough that the supervisor is well-liked or a nice person, starting with clear expectations of the employee, the supervisor has a critical role to play in retention. Anything the supervisor does to make an employee feel unvalued will contribute to turnover. Frequent employee complaints center on these areas.
–lack of clarity about expectations,
–lack of clarity about earning potential,
–lack of feedback about performance,
–failure to hold scheduled meetings, and
–failure to provide a framework within which the employee perceives he can succeed.
3. The ability of the employee to speak his or her mind freely within the organization is another key factor in employee retention.
Does your organization solicit ideas and provide an environment in which people are comfortable providing feedback? If so, employees offer ideas, feel free to criticize and commit to continuous improvement. If not, they bite their tongues or find themselves constantly “in trouble” – until they leave.
4. Talent and skill utilization is another environmental factor your key employees seek in your workplace.
A motivated employee wants to contribute to work areas outside of his specific job description. How many people could contribute far more than they currently do? You just need to know their skills, talent and experience, and take the time to tap into it.
5. The perception of fairness and equitable treatment is important in employee retention.
In one company, a new sales rep was given the most potentially successful, commission-producing accounts. Current staff viewed these decisions as taking food off their tables. You can bet a number of them are looking for their next opportunity.
6. The easiest to solve, and the ones most affecting employee retention, are tools, time and training
When an employee is failing at work, I asked, “What about the work system is causing the person to fail?” Most frequently, if the employee knows what they are supposed to do, I find the answer is time, tools, training, temperament or talent.
7. Your best employees, those employees you want to retain, seek frequent opportunities to learn and grow in their careers, knowledge and skill.
Without the opportunity to try new opportunities, sit on challenging committees, attend seminars and read and discuss books, they feel they will stagnate. A career-oriented, valued employee must experience growth opportunities within your organization.
8. A commonplace complaint or lament I hear during an exit interview is that the employee never felt senior managers knew he existed. By senior managers I refer to the president of a small company or a department or division head in a larger company. Take time to meet with new employees to learn about their talents, abilities and skills. Meet with each employee periodically. You’ll have more useful information and keep your fingers on the pulse of your organization. It’s a critical tool to help employees feel welcomed, acknowledged and loyal.
9. No matter the circumstances, never, never, ever threaten an employee’s job or income.
Even if you know layoffs loom if you fail to meet production or sales goals, it is a mistake to foreshadow this information with employees. Think before you say anything that makes people feel they need to search for another job.
10. Your staff members must feel rewarded, recognized and appreciated.
Frequently saying thank you goes a long way. Monetary rewards, bonuses and gifts make the thank you even more appreciated. Understandable raises, tied to accomplishments and achievement, help retain staff. Commissions and bonuses that are easily calculated on a daily basis, and easily understood, raise motivation and help retain staff. You can bet that work is about money and almost every individual wants more.