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It is much easier and less expensive to keep your trained employees than to hire new ones. Recruiting, interviewing, reference checking and employing new personnel is also inconvenient. During the recent economic crisis many employees stayed put more out of fear than allegiance. As business owners and managers, we learned how to squeeze out more production while we have created a disgruntled workforce.
But exactly how do you make your employees stay motivated and happy? Let me give you a hint; it has nothing to do with money. Although most employees are motivated to earn a lot at work, their salary does not define the employee’s loyalty to the company. Thus, you should think of ways far beyond that. Here are some pointers to make employees stay at your company:
The foremost reason why most employees are working is because they want to support their families. If they can sense you are family oriented you can make great strides towards keeping them happy.
If you can afford it, allow workers to work from home when their children are ill and must stay out of school. You can also allow your employees to leave early, come in late or take mid-day breaks in order to attend family functions such as school meetings, cub scouts or sporting events. Think about having a children’s day when your staff can bring along their kids at work.
2. Help them take care of their health.
Too much stress can be detrimental to your employees’ health. If their immune system suffers, they get sick and they find it more difficult to take care of their loved ones and themselves. They cannot even perform their duties well.
Try to affiliate with health clubs and gyms, ask for discounts based on volume. Train your staff in stress and time management. Honor their leaves, and as much as possible, spare their weekends.
3. Provide training to enhance their skills.
Many of the employees that decide to resign are those who have found better opportunities elsewhere, including the ability to be trained to enhance their skills or gain new ones. You can help them develop a much better career path. Moreover, you can benefit from it since their new techniques can be applied into their work.
You should conduct regular appraisals or evaluations to determine the level of skill and needs of your employees. This way, you can develop training programs for them. You can do it in segments to make sure the employees improve their skills at their own pace.
4. Performance versus seniority.
There are still some companies who offer promotions to those who have been around in the organization for the longest time. But longevity does not really tell you about a person’s effectiveness. Many of your new employees have proven themselves to be equally good, if not better than their older counterparts.
Give more emphasis on performance than on time on the job. Offer incentives to those who can exceed your quotas and expectations. Provide recognition to those who have contributed to your company, regardless of their tenure.
5. Be more transparent.
Do not treat your staff like mere employees. They would also want to contribute to the growth and success of your company. You can make yourself more open or transparent, so they would know what they can do to help you out.
Conduct meaningful meetings to discuss company issues that concern them. Delegate tasks and allow them to head smaller projects. Develop an information portal that they can check when they want to read the latest news about the company.
Studies conducted by the American Staffing Association show that 82% of all employees that stay after you make a counter offer based solely on salary increases will leave within 18 months. If you act now on company culture you can keep the talent that you have developed.
Kevin J Kowal
According to John Gray, relationship adviser and author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, men complain about problems because they are asking for solutions while women complain about problems because they want their problems to be acknowledged. I believe these different approaches can be found in the workplace. Good leaders understand and act like they are from Mars. Great leaders recognize that they need to treat their direct reports as if they are from Venus, listen to them, and guide them to solving their own problems.
On the way up the corporate ladder most managers make their mark by being innovative problem solvers. They stay late, work weekends and do “whatever it takes” to get the job done. And like Pavlov’s dogs these behaviors are reinforced by the heaping of praise and promotions. Is it any wonder why there are career coaches who make their mark by teaching middle management delegation skills?
The great leaders are those that figure out when to stop taking on everyone else’s problems. They understand that the best course of action is not to act like the issue is from Mars, not to solve an issue outright, but rather to ask questions about what the team thinks should be done to resolve their issues and allow them to do it.
That’s why I know that I’m good, but not a great leader. I am practicing delegation, but I find myself faltering. I often preach that forgiveness is easier to get than permission, but I find my day is interrupted with listening to someone else’s problem and further wasted by resolving their issue. In other words I make the mistake of doing the work that my company is paying someone else to do. If I would only ask those four precious words, “What do you think…” my work day would be so much more effective. When I do delegate I see my employees begin to solve their own problems and I’m amazed as I watch their confidence grow.
So why am I self-disclosing? Because through past experience I found that admitting a problem is the first phase in correcting it. That and perhaps my employees will read this and take the hint that I no longer will try to solve their problems until they at least come up with their own solution.
What is the most valuable asset that a company has? Is it the name, customers, goodwill, physical resources, or product line? The answer is that it is none of these. A company’s most valuable resource is its’ employees.
Without your employees your business is nothing. If you’re a manufacturing facility you depend on your employees to produce a good product that you can sell to your customer. If you’re a big box store or small corner store then customer service is what your business is built on. The same is true if you’re selling services like insurance. Regardless of your business the employee is your most valuable asset.
If you want to retain your employees and get the most from them, empower them. Make sure that you provide them with all of the training, education and motivation they need. For the most part, people do not fail because they want to it is because they do not have the tools to succeed. Management alone cannot ensure the success of your company.
As the leader, you need to give your team a chance to show their strengths and really put their skills to work. If you don’t, you may be losing your next superstar to the competition. An asset running away to the competition is the last thing you want for your business.
Assets are something that you invest in. When you invest in your employees, whether it is through better benefit programs or educational opportunities, the money you spend is not an expense. It is an investment in your most valuable asset.
And remember, just because the job market may be bad right now doesn’t mean that you should be caring any less for your assets. While your employees may be “chained” to you at the moment, they can and will find an employer who will treat them better at some point in the future if they are being treated poorly by you. Happy employees are employees that not only stay with a company, but give it their all. Better attitudes, performance and productivity all impact your bottom line, even if you can’t see it in black and white.