Top Ten Tips to Retain Your Employees: Understanding the Importance

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 their 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. Set Clear Expectations: Management thinkers agree that a satisfied employee knows clearly what is expected from them 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 Supervision: 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.
  3. Encourage Open Communication: The 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 being perceived as underperforming – until they leave.
  4. Utilise Talent and Skills: A motivated employee wants to contribute to work areas outside of their 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. Ensure Fair Treatment: 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. Address Work System Issues: 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 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. Offer Growth Opportunities: 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 organisation.
  8. Senior Management Engagement: A common place complaint or lament heard during an exit interview is that the employee never felt senior managers knew they existed. 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. Avoid Job Insecurity: 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. Reward and Recognise: 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 talent?

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Belinda Chung - Agribusiness Recruiting - Agricultural Appointments


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