There has been a lot of talk lately about employee retention. It’s one thing to identify and recruit top talent, and entirely another to keep it.
What does it mean to keep that star employee? Your initial impression may be “Well, to keep the employee means to keep him or her employed with your firm, rather than seeking alternate opportunities with the competition.”
If so, you’re thinking wrong. Way wrong.
“Keeping” your employees is your responsibility. You poach a top marketing talent from a big firm. Congratulations. In order to keep her, you need to:
- KEEP motivating her
- KEEP praising her
- KEEP challenging her
- KEEP building trust
- KEEP rewarding her
We are proud of our low turnover rate, and it’s a personal accomplishment for me – a former corporate management cog – to overcome the high turnover rates rampant in the Virtual Assistant business. Because I came from some highly political corporate environments, I learned a lot about what not to do, and I live by it:
Don’t keep your employees in the dark about company changes, or they will grow suspicious and distrustful.
Don’t ignore or procrastinate employee requests – if you have to say no, say it immediately, diplomatically and gently. Give a reason.
Don’t treat your employees like children, even if they act unreasonably – even when a conflict arises, speak in a non patronizing manner.
Don’t wait for an employee to ask you for a raise – it’s horribly stressful for the employee. Instead, issue salary reviews once yearly so the onus is not on the employee.
We began as a fledgling startup almost six years ago, and since then, we’ve listened to our employees closely enough to offer them what they want and deserve. We audited them a few years ago to find out what could make our working conditions better and more attractive – we learned about (and put into place!) several reasonably priced benefit options which motivated our stars to stay with us. And with us they have stayed.
More than anything, employees want to feel appreciated. They want to know that if they are having a hard time personally, you are present, patient and understanding. These are people, not products – they are often juggling considerably more than what you’ve assigned to them. Take the time to check in. Listen. Be understanding and shift some of the heavy stuff off their plate for a while if they seem to be drowning.
Find out what your employees’ goals are. No, I don’t mean “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I mean finding out where he would like his career to go and offering support, education, assistance, or even just exposure to projects that could lead him in his preferred direction.
A little interest, some empathy and genuine support goes a long way in keeping those fantastic employees.
Submitted by Hilary