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Eek! It’s a horrible feeling watching another great employee leave your company. If you’re left wondering what is going on and how you can retain these rock stars, then keep reading!
It’s no secret that companies put a lot of time, money, and resources into hiring and training the best employees possible. After such an investment, it only makes sense to retain that talent once it’s in the door.
Unfortunately, retaining top talent can be a struggle for many businesses. If you still believe that salary, retirement plans, and vacation benefits are at the top of the list of retaining great employees, then you might be in for a surprise! Sure, it can win over a recruit in the beginning, but this isn’t what’s going to keep them for the long term.
To retain top talent, you need to think beyond the benefit package. Believe it or not, many employees (even Millennials) don’t want to job hop, but they do want to GROW. And they want to work in an environment that values their contributions and values them as a person. Ask yourself why your employees want to be a part of your team. What would make them want to keep coming in and dedicating their time to your company each day? Well, the paycheck is the obvious reason. But if it’s the ONLY reason then it won’t be one that makes someone stay; they can get a paycheck somewhere else, too.
So, what helps retain top talent? You’ll want to evaluate things like company culture, employee engagement, and employee development. It’s time to take a deep, honest look at your company to see if there are any changes you’d like to make.
Build Company Culture
This is all about the environment your employees work in each day. We’ve touched on company culture before in our blog post about finding talent who “clicks” with your company, but today we’re going to dive even deeper.
Your company culture is the environment set for your employees. If this is something you haven’t focused on before then you might be thinking that you don’t have a company culture. But believe us, you do even if it’s not intentional. Company culture is established by you and your managers. Your employees feel it every day when they walk in. It could either weigh heavy on their shoulders or keep the team positive and ready to come back in day after day.
A strong company culture will help with:
- Employee loyalty & morale
- Work performance
- Work-related stress
So where do you start? Start simple: giving respect, caring, and listening.
Millennials are leading the way in being inclusive of differences and often celebrating them. Respecting differences and listening to others who are different will help create a well-rounded organization that can better serve customers and clients. It also creates a safe work environment, limiting stress on employees.
This next tip sounds silly, but is very important for upper management: learn the names of your employees. Take time to meet with different teams and get to know employees at all levels. Learn their names. Listen to their ideas and what they have to say. Not only can you glean amazing insights, but you’ll also show that you care, and this will help foster a close-knit, community feel.
Trust the people you’ve hired. They stood out in the interview process, so trust them to do their jobs. Give them flexibility to get their jobs done while also managing their lives outside of work. Today’s employees want mobility and flexibility in the workplace. It’s necessary – we’re all busy. Every aspect of our lives is busy. When possible, remove the strict 8-to-5 hours and offer remote working options. Flexible workers are not only happier, they’re more productive. One study by ConnectSolutions found that 77% of remote workers get more done in fewer hours thanks to fewer distractions like meetings, conversations, and noisy coworkers (Source: Forbes.com). We know that flexibility isn’t feasible in all industries, but there are other changes you can make. Like creating an open, safe culture.
Create a culture of “openness” by:
- Holding forums, using polls, or utilizing other forms of input to involve employees in decision making and allowing them to ask questions to management.
- Clearly explain reasons behind decisions – even if you think it will make you look bad. Chances are they’ve heard rumors anyway. They’d rather have truth and honesty.
- Acknowledge mistakes and failures as well as your wins. This shows employees how much you trust them and that you want them to see the big picture, too. This inclusiveness will create loyal employees.
The bottom line is to treat your employees how you want to be treated. Not how you WERE treated when you worked at their level.
Increase Employee Engagement
Strong employee engagement should be part of your company culture, but we feel it’s so important, we want to talk about it separately. Afterall, better engagement means better productivity, customer service, and profitability. It also means you’re more likely to retain your top talent.
It’s important to make your employees feel welcome and at home every single day. This includes having an open-door policy that encourages employees to speak frankly and honestly with their managers without fear of repercussion. Managers can initiate this by providing direct answers and asking follow-up questions to make sure they fully understand all situations.
We’re all busy! But it’s important to remember to recognize your employees’ hard work and success loudly and proudly. Work with your managers to make sure they’re onboard and actively recognizing their hard work. Building an honest, trusting relationship with managers will enable them to give praise to their team instead of seeking to keep the praise for themselves. Speaking of keeping things to themselves, make sure your managers are allowing their top employees to advance in their positions and grow. Don’t hold them back as a way to try to keep a top performer. In the long run, you want your top performers to stay in your company, but that doesn’t mean staying at the same job for years upon years.
Continually showing employees that you value their voice, contribution, and hard work will build a loyal, hardworking team. They’ll have your back if they know you have theirs.
Offer Opportunities to Grow
Top talent is at the top of their game for a reason. They look for ways to improve and grow. If your company isn’t helping them continue their professional development and education, then they may soon be out the door.
Growth opportunities doesn’t necessarily mean paying an employee’s college tuition (although that is an excellent way to provide opportunities!). For a small-to-medium sized business that might not be a viable option. However, there are still plenty of opportunities you can provide! You could provide training for new skills and other educational opportunities, provide a log-in to Lynda.com for taking classes online, or pay to send top talent to conferences.
Psst … some public libraries offer a FREE log-in to Lynda.com for members! Check to see if it’s available at your local library.
Employees are your most valued asset… when they are on your side. Otherwise they are offering minimal value or even working against productivity with a negative attitude. Make changes today to ensure your top talent stays with your company and continues to perform at the top of their game. Changing the culture, increasing engagement, and offering growth opportunities will create a successful, close, energetic team ready to help meet your organization’s goals. Luckily, you can start making these changes TODAY! We wish you and your talented team of managers and employees much success!