Retaining Your Top Employees
As every successful entrepreneur knows, employee retention is critical to the long-term health and success of a business. Managers readily agree that retaining your best employees ensures customer satisfaction, product sales, satisfied staff, effective succession planning and organizational knowledge and learning. If managers can cite these facts so well, though, why do they behave in ways that so frequently encourage great employees to quit their jobs?
When it comes to business, failing to retain a key employee is costly. Various estimates suggest that losing a middle manager costs an organization up to 100 percent of their salary. The loss of a senior executive is even more costly. If you’re losing critical staff members, you can safely bet that other people in their departments are looking, as well. Here are four tips I share with my peers to help them in their employee-retention efforts:
Institute employee frameworks. A satisfied employee knows what is expected from him or her at work. Changing expectations keeps employees on edge and creates unhealthy stress. They rob the employee of internal security and make the employee feel unsuccessful. Provide employees with a specific framework within which they know what is expected from them.
Enhance the quality of management. The quality of supervision an employee receives is critical to employee retention. People leave managers and supervisors far more often than they leave companies or jobs. It is not enough that the supervisor
is well-liked or a good person. Starting with clear expectations of the employee, the supervisor has a critical role to play in retention. Anything a supervisor does to make an employee feel unvalued will contribute to turnover. Many 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
- failure to provide an environment in which the
employee believes he or she can succeed
Encourage open communication. 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 employees are comfortable giving feedback? If so, your employees will offer ideas, give constructive criticism and commit to continuous improvement. If not, employees will bite their tongues or find themselves constantly “in trouble” until they leave.
Effectively utilize employees’ skills. Talent and skills utilization is another factor key employees seek in the workplace. A motivated employee wants to contribute to work areas outside of his or her specific job description. How many people could contribute far more than they currently do? You just need to know their skills, talents and experiences, and take the time to utilize them.
When it comes down to it, a few simple steps can mean the difference between a sub-par staff and one that exceeds expectations on a daily basis. In my experience, treating your staff with the same attention and care you give your clients can create the kind of success you and your team deserve.