What can you do to get your best employees to stick around? A good starting point, obviously, is having a competitive wage and benefits structure in place. To be sure, these factors will attract, and in some cases, keep people around. But as manager, you probably don’t have much control over those things. So, what can you do?
Think about the best job you’ve ever had. It’s likely that you were paid a fair wage for doing work that you found interesting and challenging. It’s also likely that you had a boss who invested time and energy on you, one who created the kind of environment in which you thrived.
Now it’s time to pay it forward, to invest in your best and brightest (or those who have the potential to be). If you do, it’s very likely they’ll stick around. Here are twelve “stickiness factors” to consider, in no particular order.
- Get to know your employees. Take time to meet with new people to learn about their talents, abilities and skills, and then check in with them periodically. (In my next post, I’ll give you some great questions to ask that will help you really get acquainted with them.)
- Pay attention to your best people. Managers tend to focus on their weakest performers, leaving their best performers wondering what they have to do to get noticed.
- Chart a career path. Give people a clear understanding of what is required to get where they want to go professionally and provide the means for them to get there. People will stay where they can get the best in experience, training, and opportunities for advancement.
- Successful people are learning and growth-oriented. Don’t allow them to stagnate! Provide ongoing training opportunities and offer stretch assignments. Send them to seminars, have them sit on committees, encourage them to read and discuss books.
- Ask your employees to share what they know through training sessions and presentations, mentorship opportunities, and team leadership assignments.
- Be relentlessly fair in your treatment of employees. Perceptions of unfairness will seriously undermine morale.
- Involve employees in decisions that affect their jobs and the direction of the company whenever possible.
- People want to know how they’re doing. Offer frequent feedback on performance, both constructive and positive.
- Find out what your employee’s unique talents are and employ aspects of those talents in the job.
- Respect your employees’ work/life balancing act. If possible, allow flexible starting and ending times.
- Make sure your employees are recognized, rewarded and appreciated in ways that are meaningful to them.
- Successful people take risks and sometimes fail. If you create an environment where there is zero tolerance for error, good people will keep their ideas to themselves and will look elsewhere to find a place where risk is encouraged.
Your best and the brightest. Your key players. Your rock stars. These are the most productive, reliable, and creative people you’ve got. You can’t afford to lose them.
Until next time.