Tuesday, January 22, 2019

How to Retain your Star Employees

In today’s low unemployment, employee-driven job market, employee retention is more important than ever! It’s hard to find great employees – heck, it’s hard to find warm bodies - so is makes sense to do everything you can to hang on to the ones you have.

The cost of turnover is often way underestimated. The obvious costs are hiring and training costs, but there is also lost opportunity, morale, reputation, customer relationships, and other intangibles that are harder to measure.

The cost of turnover is even higher when you lose a great employee, one of those “A player” superstars. A study published in Personal Psychology showed that the top 5 percent of the workforce produce 26 percent of an organization’s total output. The top-performing 5 percent produced 400 percent more than you would expect (26 percent rather than 5 percent).

That means that top performers produce more than four times more! So if the average cost of turnover is $_____, then it is 4X $_____ for your best employees.

While top employees are hard to keep – they tend to promoted, “pulled” into better opportunities, and may have higher expectations, here are 10 things that a smart manager can do to minimize the chances of losing their best employees for the wrong reasons:

1. Retention starts with the hiring process. Hiring great employees isn’t just about finding employees with the right set of skills and experiences. It’s important to find out what motivates the employee, what they find satisfying and dissatisfying in a job, what their short and long range career goals are, the type of boss they like to work for, and assessing for cultural fit. You have to go beyond the resume and LinkedIn profile, and dig deep with phone screens and in-depth interviewing.
When you hire good employees that are a good fit for the job and have the right motivations, chances are, those employees will be more successful and satisfied.

2. Run a successful business or team. That’s your #1 priority as a leader. No one likes playing on a losing team or going down with a sinking ship. Bad employees will stay and suffer, great employees will eventually leave. If you’re faced with this kind of turnaround challenge, don’t let your HR manager talk you into doing an employee satisfaction survey. Invite them to step up and help you right the business – that’s the most important thing you can do to satisfy your employees.

3. Provide a good on boarding experience. Everyone remembers their first few weeks on the job – bad or good. Good onboarding sets the tone and lays the foundation for retention. Make sure your new employees get the training, coaching, and support they need to be successful.

4. Provide competitive salaries and benefits. Use salaries and benefits as a baseline, and build meaningful perks from there. While a manager’s hands may be tied when it comes to how much money they can pay, flexibility and work environment can often help compensate.

5. Trust them. Give your super-star employees the opportunity to use their unique strengths every day. Many of the best ideas float up to the top from down below—if that is allowed and encouraged. If it isn’t, employees may get bored or upset, and they won’t be doing what they do best.

6. Provide career development opportunities. Have regular career discussions with employees, allow them to explore options, provide information about opportunities, and help them make connections. Help them achieve their career goals, don’t be a road block.

7. Build a relationship with every employee. Get to know each of your employees, find out about their personal lives, their interests, values, hopes, fears, and wishes. Show them that you care, and you’re looking out for their best interests and want them to be successful. Take the time to have regular 1on1s, with no interruptions and your undivided attention.

8. Say "thank you." In creative, informal ways, acknowledge how much employees’ various contributions mean to you. Top employees will often say on exit interviews they never really felt appreciated. Praise is cheap, use it lavishly.

9. Deal with under performers. Good employees don’t like working with slackers. Train, coach, counsel, coach them out of the job, or fire them, consistently and with dignity.

10. Respect individuality. Not all employees are created equal. Recognize their individual needs, and adapt assignments, perks, and recognition accordingly. Loosen up those stale old policies and let them fly their “freak flags”.

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