Retain Your Best Workers:
How to Recognize the
Stars in Your Organization
By Daisy Saunders
landed her dream job in sales. It had everything – pay, perks,
reputation and challenge. She started the job with lots of energy,
enthusiasm and high expectations. However, within six months she was
running out of steam; in twelve months, she crashed. Susan left the
company disappointed and disillusioned. What happened?
Employee retention has moved onto the radar screens of corporate
executives. From small businesses to major
corporations, executives throughout the world have either witnessed
or experienced the damages associated with employee turnover. The
impact of excessive turnovers can be devastating – lost customers,
lost production, poor morale, unemployment claims and hiring costs.
There is no magic formula for employee
retention. However, there are some things every organization can do
to help keep employees happy, increasing the chances they’ll be
around for the long haul.
Start by hiring smart.
Examine your hiring
needs. What are the essential services and needs for the company
that help to sustain its productivity and success rate? What types
of skills and personality traits are necessary for an employee to
have in order to fulfill the duties described in the job
description? Then, hire smart. Make sure you hire people who can do
what they say they can. Employee turnover can be reduced
substantially by hiring the right person for the right job at the
Clarify expectations. Let employees know what’s expected of them. This expedites time and
helps to avoid potential conflicts that can occur due to the lack of
knowledge and miscommunication. Establishing expectations within a
structured working environment helps employees stay focused on the
specifics of their individual duties; therefore, meeting corporate
goals as a whole.
Get to know your employees.
Take the time to get to know the interests of your employees. Find
out their expectations, not only within their job requirements, but
their long-term goals, hobbies and extracurricular activities.
Getting to know your employees helps you to better meet their needs.
And, it sends the message that you care.
Give feedback. Let employees
know how they are doing; that you value them; and want them to stay.
Leslie was an administrator in a medium-sized school district
employed for several months, but she decided to seek employment
elsewhere because the job wasn’t fulfilling. About a month later,
she was still on the job and seemed to have a new attitude about her
work. What made Leslie change? She explained that the day after she
submitted her resignation letter, her boss came to her office. He
told her how much he valued her work, and asked her to stay. Leslie
said that this was the first time she had ever been told her work
was appreciated. This small gesture changed her whole outlook –
about herself and her job. She felt wanted, valued, and needed.
On-going feedback results in improved
performance, communication, and less turnover. It is one thing to love your job, but it’s even better when you know that the job
loves you back.
Be aggressive on turnover by
making employee retention a part of your organization’s culture.
This should not only be your goal, but the goal of the entire
staff. Emphasize the need for supportive staff members who can
motivate other employees to be committed, passionate and accountable
to the company. This cultivates a “we’re all in this together” team
atmosphere in which everyone feels included. As a result, employees
gain emotional satisfaction by recognizing that cohorts can actually
become a little more like family and are more likely to remain on
Educate and train. Provide a career management program that offers continuous education
and training. As an employer, it is up to you to make sure your team
is confident in their abilities to perform the required task. If you
want to see growth in your business, then you must be committed to
growing your people. Offering employees opportunities for education
and training helps to make them stronger, more confident, and
competent. Plus, it sends the message that they are valued and
Offer incentives and rewards.
Just as you make
special offers to external customers to let them know how much you
value them, offer your internal customers incentives and rewards to
show you value them, too. Almost everyone seeks some type of
reward or gratitude towards a work effort. It’s easy to see the
drastic differences between the behavior of those who are rewarded
and those who have been overlooked. The passion and energy levels of
those who are acknowledged for their work is far greater than those
who receive little recognition. Offering incentives and rewards
creates a happy and charged working environment and shows your
employees an even greater sense of appreciation.
Empower. Within reason,
employees to make decisions that allow them to expedite customer
service and satisfaction. Remember, if your mission is to
retain employees, then employees need to be prepared to handle any
situation that could evolve from in-house operations, to customer
service interactions. Empowering employees sends the message that
you trust them and their ability to make sound decisions.
Give performance updates and evaluations.
Give employees periodic performance updates and a comprehensive
evaluation at least once a year. Periodic updates allow them to
address challenges and build on strengths on an ongoing basis. When
evaluating, use the sandwich technique – start with praise for work
well done, discuss challenges or deficits and together create
corrective action strategies. Close on a positive note. This allows
employees to walk away feeling good about themselves and gives them
a positive place from which to start addressing challenges.
Finally, the primary drivers of employee retention are the
organization’s leaders. People may join an organization because of
the job itself or the perks, but they are likely to stay if they
like and respect their leaders. Therefore, companies must be
committed to investing in their leaders, especially first-line
managers, because their skills can directly impact retention and the
bottom line. And, first-line managers are in the best position to
implement the suggestions outlined above.
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