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They’ll Beg to Stay! Retaining Good Employees

By Shelley Brott, The Personnel Perspective

Expert EditorialEmployee retention is a HOT management topic. Forward-thinking employers know that emphasizing employee retention is a key strategy, as losing excellent employees and hiring and training new employees can be very costly and time-consuming.

One of the best retention strategies is to start by hiring the right person in the first place. What do I mean by this?  The person you think is the “best” candidate (who has all the qualifications you desire) often may not be the right person if they aren’t a match with your position, organization, and culture.  Fit is critical.  Start by employing people who truly desire to work for you, in the very position you are hiring them for, in your particular work environment.  Key steps to accomplishing this include developing accurate position profiles, utilizing a rigorous interviewing process, and making sure your candidates thoroughly understand the job and your organization.

Next you’ll want to proactively integrate your new team member. I can still remember starting a new job and having to dig up my own supplies.  That memory sticks with me, many years later.  So be ready for your new employees and provide them with an effective orientation process. Consider developing a mentor program to support them. Have appropriate resources ready and available, take your new employee to lunch and make them feel welcome, productive, and appreciated. The more you can empower your team and give them a sense of ownership in your organization from the get-go, the stronger and more committed team members they will become.

Provide inspiring growth opportunities. Opportunities for growth correlate with a high degree of employee commitment and loyalty. These can include ongoing coaching, training, job changes, special projects, the opportunity to mentor others, and temporary assignments. Give your employees the opportunity to develop and use their unique skill and interest areas. This can go well beyond the responsibilities of their regular position. Do you have an employee who has a creative streak and loves to write?  That employee can develop your Wine Industry newsletter or contribute in other creative areas. One employee’s nightmare assignment may be another employee’s dream – the important thing is finding that right fit.

Make the most of your employee compensation, rewards and recognition. Find out what is really meaningful for your employees – it may be more than just money.  I once asked a team I managed to let me know what type of recognition “worked” for them each individually. The differences were fascinating – ranging from verbal acknowledgement to new shoes. A sincere and timely thank you for a job well done goes a long way. Let your employees know you appreciate them, and be creative and timely with your accolades and gratitude.

Your “total compensation” also includes benefits.  Make sure employees understand and make full use of their benefits packages and that they have support within the organization to do so.  Unfortunately many companies put significant resources into generous benefits plans, only to be lacking in effective employee communications, training, and support to use them.

Communication is a key part of many retention strategies, including actively listening to your employees. What do they want and expect? If they have left your organization, what did they want and what was missing? Conduct thorough exit interviews with your departing employees. You may discover trends that will help you create a more successful work environment.

Speaking of environment, what do you think the company culture is like at your organization?  What are your organizational values?  How would you describe the work environment?  When we conduct certain trainings we ask employees how they want to be treated in their workplace. Almost without fail, the first two responses are “with respect” and “fairly.”  What would employees say about your environment? The most effective organizational cultures are ones that emphasize things like open two-way communication, support, risk-taking, innovation, balance, flexibility and trust, among other things. Managers and supervisors have the opportunity to create and support a positive culture for their employees, through effective coaching, communication, training, and other positive management techniques.

Other potential retention strategies include things like individualized plans for targeted employees, free food, staff outings, on-site massages, and work/life balance initiatives. The sky’s the limit. Whatever you choose to do, the first step is to create a plan that works for your specific organization. While sometimes turnover is unavoidable, a proactive approach will help you retain the employees you need. And, most importantly, it will help you create a more positive work environment for your entire team.

Shelley BrottExpert Editorial

by Shelley Brott

Shelley Brott is a Senior Associate with The Personnel Perspective, an HR consulting, training and recruitment firm headquartered in Santa Rosa.  She uses her 35 years of experience and leadership training to provide HR strategic management, coaching and training support to clients. You can reach her at 707-576 – 7653 or shelleyb@personnelperspective.com and learn more about her work at www.personnelperspective.com/

2 Comments on "They’ll Beg to Stay! Retaining Good Employees"

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  1. Bob Henry says:

    From The Wall Street Journal “Business & Tech.” Section
    (October X, 2016, Page Unknown):

    “Why the Best Leaders Want Their Superstar Employees to Leave”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-the-best-leaders-want-their-superstar-employees-to-leave-1475460841

    Excerpts:

    “Should bosses try to hold on to their star performers?

    “For most of corporate America, the question might seem like nonsense. Star performers are seen as so valuable that managers should pull out all the stops to keep them—or else see their companies take a big hit in productivity.

    “Yet some of the best managers not only allow their top performers to leave, but actively encourage it.

    “I’ve spent the past 10 years studying the world’s greatest bosses across 18 industries …

    “… You’re better off having the best people for a short time than average people forever.

    “The bosses were uncompromising when it came to recruiting. They didn’t want average; they wanted mind-blowing. …

    “The bosses I studied also took advantage of a wonderful paradox: When you stop hoarding your people and focus on creating a talent flow, YOU FIND THAT MORE OF YOUR TOP PEOPLE ACTUALLY DO WIND UP STAYING. Most people [for great bosses] … didn’t want to work for anybody else. Why would they? From the employee’s perspective, the environments these bosses created offered unique opportunities for excitement, innovation and advancement. It also offered the prestige of working at a top brand-name employer in the industry.”

  2. Bob Henry says:

    Erratum.

    Article posting/publishing date was October 3, 2016.

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