Top Ten Tips to Retain Your Great Employees. Why Retention?

Employee retention matters. Organisational issues such as training time and investment, lost knowledge, mourning, insecure co-workers and a costly candidate search aside; failing to retain a key employee is costly. Various estimates suggest that losing a middle manager costs an organisation up to 100 percent of his salary. The loss of a senior executive is even more costly.

Employee retention is one of the primary measures of the health of your organisation.

The Ten Tips are:

  1. Management thinkers agree that 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. This is not to advocate unchanging jobs, just the need for a specific framework within which people clearly know what is expected from them.
  2. 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 undervalued will contribute to turnover.
  3. Ability of the employee to speak his or her mind freely within the organisation is another key factor in employee retention. Does your organisation solicit ideas and provide an environment in which people are comfortable providing feedback? If not, they bite their tongues or find themselves constantly “in trouble” – until they leave.
  4. Talent and skill utilisation 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. 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. When an employee is failing at work, ask the W. Edwards Deming question, “What about the work system is causing the person to fail?” Most frequently, if the employee knows what they are supposed to do, the answer is time, tools, training, temperament or talent. The easiest to solve, and the ones most affecting employee retention, are tools, time and training. The employee must have the tools, time and training necessary to do their job well – or they will move to an employer who provides them.
  7. 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 organisation.
  8. A common place complaint or lament heard 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 organisation. 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. It makes them nervous; no matter how you phrase the information; no matter how you explain the information, even if you’re absolutely correct, your best staff members will update their resumes.
  10. Your staff members must feel rewarded, recognised 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.

Take a look at your organisation Are you doing your best to retain your top talent?

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