Developing a culture and work environment where employees are motivated to produce their best results and want to stay for the long term, is possible. As an employer, it takes the finely tuned combination of a progressive approach and participation in the race to an ever changing finish line. According to strategic planning consultant Leigh Branham, SPHR,
“88% of employees leave their jobs for reasons other than pay"
The consequence of successfully retaining staff over the long term is substantial to your company. If you’ve done the maths, you’ll have already calculated these statistics. What are key secrets to improving the rate of retention within a company and how can you develop sticking power with your staff?
Something as simple as making a change to a person’s job title can provide adequate incentive for staff to feel rewarded and recognized. A professional focused on climbing the career ladder will appreciate the opportunity to enhance their job title whenever possible.
As an example, someone with the job title “Marketing Manager” may leap at the opportunity of making the change to “Vice President of Marketing”. A modification to the scope and responsibilities of the role may or may not be associated, depending on the nature of the title change.
Proactively recognizing an employee’s readiness to perform a wider scope of duties and willingness to gain increased responsibility is one of the ultimate ways to reward an employee. Importantly, discussion about such change need not be limited to the annual review process.
Top performing staff, even new hires, are hungry to climb the career ladder and can often be enticed to jump ship if they‘re offered a more compatible work culture and environment elsewhere. To avoid this occurrence, regularly assess the progress and accomplishments of employees and track the personal and professional goals of each. Working hard to continuously improve the quality of your communication with employees will encourage them to have frank and honest discussions with you in an environment where they feel safe to do so.
When it comes to allocating work among employees, consider how the allocation takes place. It’s an easy trap for managers to continually assign the latest and greatest projects to their top performing staff, thereby not affording other staff the opportunity to learn new skills and develop in their practice.
Mixing up the combination of employees who work on each project allows them to build relationships with people whom they may not ordinarily come into contact with. The more connected people feel within an organization, the stronger relationships they foster and the greater the loyalty they will develop.
Encouraging staff to participate in opportunities for further education demonstrates that your company recognizes the value of education and learning new skills. If financial restraints limit your company from funding external staff development, consider permitting time-off for the purposes of dedicated study leave. Engage your tribe by providing them with opportunities for education as a team through in-house training and continuous education programs within the broader workplace.
Employees want to work for a company that recognizes the responsibilities they hold outside of the workplace. Believing their manager appreciates the work they do and trusts them to get it done, no matter the timing or location, is key to improving morale in the workplace and subsequently retaining staff for the long haul.
Employees are continuously expressing the significant value they place on flexible work practices and this is particularly the case when it comes to young people. They want to work for an employer who believes in their ability to act in the capacity of a successful independent professional. In turn, they expect to be trusted to work remotely on occasion and to manage their own time effectively.
“You're no longer getting a nine-to-five, clock-in, clock-out worker. You’re getting someone who considers your brand an extension of her own personal brand.”
Parents with children, both male and female, also appreciate the benefits of flexible work practices. Having the flexibility to structure start and finish times around childcare responsibilities is just one example. Employees with elderly parents and carer responsibilities appreciate the option to work remotely during times of emergency or when needing to take elderly parents to medical appointments, for example.
Hiring from within promotes authentic opportunities for progression and provides a genuine career path for employees. It enables your company to:
Provide motivation to existing staff who recognize they may not need to look elsewhere in order to advance their career.
Retain valuable skills and all the training invested into individuals over time. Ultimately, this has direct impact on the company’s bottom line.
Retain high achievers who want to know they have a future with their employer. These types want to work for successful companies where they can step up the corporate ladder.
Promoting from within also entails discussing short and long term goals with employees and identifying how these align with what the company has to offer. Regular meetings to discuss such ambition are essential for keeping this dialogue open. Where possible, promotions should be generous and publicized across the organization to provide staff with recognition they deserve.
Something as seemingly simple as showing employees respect can go a long way towards creating a culture where people want to work and fostering the loyalty that makes them want to stay. As the saying goes, “People may readily forget the things that you said, but they will always remember the way you made them feel.” When you think back upon your working career, many of the memorable moments are probably the result of negative things your manager has said or done.
“If managers make it a priority to show outward respect for employees on a regular basis, it will lead to a strong and enduring workplace culture as well as positive experiences and memories that they will never forget.”
These are just a few of the many ways you can foster a culture that embraces the value of employees within your workplace. While an increase in salary is undoubtedly appreciated by most employees, there are also an unlimited number of other ways to incentivize staff. The most important method of implementing retention strategies that add value to the particular demographic of individuals in question, is to simply ask.
Joe Flanagan is the Senior Consultant at Velvet Jobs Outplacement Services where he helps candidates transition into new job roles through interview advice, resume writing and job searching and provides guidance to organizations on best employee transition practices.
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