Last week we talked about some of the reasons why good employees stay with an organization as well as why they leave. Today we’re going to go over some strategies for retaining your best employees and keeping them on the job.
Why bother with a re-recruiting strategy? Remember, over 40 percent of employees who aren’t actively looking for a new job say they’re open to a move if the offer is right. And your best employees have the most options. They’re bright, talented, motivated and looking for new challenges. If you don’t give them what they need to feel happy and fulfilled, they will find another employer who will.
With that said, here are three strategies that will encourage your best employees to stay where they are instead of moving on.
No. 1. Know who you risk losing
Sadly, many employers are woefully disconnected from day-to-day operations and don’t even know who their best employees are. If this describes you, make a point of meeting with your managers now to talk about which of your employees are your shining stars. Then brainstorm with their immediate supervisors to identify the people you’re most likely to lose. These may include employees with a highly desirable skill set or people who appear frustrated with the status quo.
At-risk employees may also include those who:
- Have been in the same job for more than 18 months
- Haven’t had a recent raise
- Seem increasingly bored or unmotivated
- Have been taking more time off
No. 2. Meet with your best employees face to face
Now that you know who your best employees are, make time to meet with each of them one-on-one. Let them know that you and the company value their contribution and want them to feel fulfilled. Focus the conversation on what the organization can do to improve the employee’s work experience and create a culture that will allow them to thrive.
Most people will welcome the opportunity to talk about their needs. But if you need to probe a little bit, here are a few questions you can ask:
- What do you like or dislike about your job?
- How do you perceive the company culture?
- Can you talk about your career goals?
- What can we do to help you reach those goals?
These one-on-one interviews serve a dual purpose. First, they give you an opportunity develop an individualized plan for retaining your best employees. Second, they show you where you can make organizational changes that will help you recruit and retain the kind of talent you need.
No. 3. Make your company a great place to work
Once you have feedback from the folks you’ve identified as your stars, sit down with your management staff and brainstorm ways of retaining your best employees. Big changes, such as restructuring your career ladder, can take a while to implement. But even small tweaks can make your company a more pleasant place to work. You might, for example:
- Improve the physical environment. If you can’t afford a full makeover, start by adding a fresh coat of paint, more natural lighting, some plants or more comfortable chairs.
- Be visible. Company newsletters and group emails are great, but there’s nothing like a one-on-one chat with the boss to improve morale.
- Add some amenities. Again, this doesn’t have to involve a major investment. Replacing the old Mr. Coffee with a Nespresso machine and adding a full-sized refrigerator to store employee’s food may be enough to do the trick.
- Be flexible. If your best employees face a grueling commute to work each day, can you give them the option of telecommuting occasionally or flexing their hours?
- Foster an environment of trust. Do your employees feel comfortable taking time off to go to the doctor in the middle of the workday? Can they come in late if the babysitter doesn’t show up on time? If you trust your employees to get the job done, the answer to these questions should be “yes.”
- Reward success. Over 75 percent of employees feel that their hard work is either undervalued or ignored. Giving a small cash prize or a gift of company merchandise to your top performers each month can go a long way towards retaining your best employees.
- Provide opportunities for advancement. One easy way to ensure this is to always promote from within. If your best employees need more training to fulfill a more demanding role, find a way to provide on-the-job experience. Or consider offering tuition reimbursement to those who need more training to advance.
At The Carmoon Group, we help small business owners meet the many challenges they face, from recruitment and retention to risk management to raising capital for growth. Give us a call today to learn how we can help you meet your goals. Or contact us online and we’ll get back to you right away.