Employee Retention Ideas For Keeping Your Top Talent

by Brick Jackson

One of the hidden ways you can help keep the budget on plan is by making sure that you do everything within your power to retain your best employees. There is an associated cost that comes with having to place ads, or work through employment agencies as well as the time cost spent on interviews as well as the loss of productivity whenever a top performer in your department decides to voluntarily leave the company. While the reasons for the employee leaving may be beyond your control, such as moving to a different city or state, health issues or some other life changing event, in the majority of cases there is something that a manager can do to make sure they keep their top talent.

There are several key reasons why employees decide to leave and seek employment elsewhere with the most common reason being the lack of room for advancement. Next in line is usually an issue with management, such as friction, a bad relationship or they employee simply doesn’t like the manager. A third reason revolves around a lack of recognition. This could be in the form of the employee getting paid less than another co-worker, or a lack of bonuses or a failure to have in place an employee recognition program or reward system.

With the 40 hour week a thing of the past, many employees are putting in many hours at the office and expect for that work that their boss as well as the company is going to pay attention to them and either provide opportunities for them to grow or provide them with some type of monetary compensation for all of their efforts.

Most of the time you will start to see signs appearing when an employee is getting ready to move on to greener pastures. The number one sign is an employee that starts to miss workdays, asks for extended lunches or beings to leave work early or starts to pile up appointments at various hours of the work day. Many times it is an indication the employee is out job hunting and could soon be leaving.

Other signs that you may begin to see include things such as a drop off in work performance, problems getting along with other team members or a withdrawal from team functions that they used to previously participate in. If the employee gets to this point, you have likely lost them but at least you can start planning to cover for them in the event they leave and you are not blind sided when they submit their two week notice.

Hopefully though you never get to that point with anyone on your team because you have put employee retention strategies in place. Knowing what the top three reasons are that employees may be looking to leave, you can proactively put steps in place to combat those instances to help with retaining employees.

For those workers that think there is not opportunities for them, work to set up lead or senior positions in their current role that they have an opportunity to get promoted to. If there are other parts of the organization where there skill set can transfer over to, set up a career development path so employees can work om improving the skills they would need to function in that role. Make sure they employees are aware of any internal training opportunities inside the company or else look for external employee seminars where the staff can help grow their skill set.

If the problem is with you, the manager and their relationship, make sure that they understand you are free to talk with any time. Some managers have a habit of locking themselves in the office and never putting their head up from their work until 5:00 hits. If you have an office, get out and walk the floor a couple of times each day. This way employees see you and know that you are taking an interest and it makes you available to answer any questions they may have. Check in regularly with each employee through weekly or bi-weekly 1-on-1 meetings. If you feel that the employee may be looking for a new job, come right out and ask them. Their answer may surprise you.

If there is not some type of employee reward system or employee recognition program in place, work to get one implemented. You can do this at little to no cost and it is a way for employees to get recognized in front of their peers and for you to give them positive reinforcement without having to wait for a review period.

Having several key performers in a department leave can have a big impact on their co-workers, your department as well as your job and budget. By having a good employee retention plan in place, you can stave off some of the problems that would otherwise cause you headaches in the long run. If you start running at too low of an employee retention rate, you can be sure that is something your boss is going to notice and will be talking to you about in the not too distant future.

For the employees that do leave, have an exit interview with them and ask them to fill out an employee retention survey so that you can help identify any problems with you as a manger, your department or policies and it may help to shed some blind spots on things you may be missing.

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