All companies have at least a few excellent prepared employees. How do I know that? If they weren’t, you wouldn’t have hired them. Moreover, they are there to guide the less prepared ones and determine them to excel at what they do. In the past, retaining your key employees was easier given the reduced number of companies that were willing ti hire. Also, employees felt stuck at their job and decided not to leave. However, nowadays, being able to keep the so-called rockstars on your good side and determining them not to jump ship will prove difficult at times. Almost every manager has faced this situation or will have to confront it, whether that person wants to or not. Due to the increasing number of layoffs and the fact that retirement pensions are pretty much just a reminder that an employee used to work, employees will decide to switch companies in a heartbeat. Yes, the degree of loyalty among the employees has plummeted during the last few decades. In a way, it is understandable that they want to receive a bigger payday or a better prospect.
So where does that leave you? To avoid the exodus of the vast majority of your key-employees you may have to adapt and change the workplace culture whether you want to or not.
1. First of all, you should put money into training and supporting your employees. Even though this is an expense, it will prove more effective in the long run. Given the economic crisis and the fact that employers wanted to cut any extra costs just to get by, this aspect was largely forgotten. How can employees develop new skills at the job without some proper training? By offering them training and support, your employees will pay you back in hard work thus increasing productivity and the level of respect an employee has for the company.
Don’t do it and you might end up alone in the office. Just imagine one day you walk in the office and see only empty chairs. Especially in the case of young and talented managers, there is a tendency to leave because of the lack of thorough mentoring and/or training. This has been proven scientifically in a research conducted by the Harvard Business Review. Approximately 1.200 employees with high performance rates were interviewed for this research. Almost all of them were feeling disappointed because of the gap in support and training they were promised and the one they actually received. That led to frustration and eventually quitting.
2. The 9 to 5 mentality is antiquated. According to recent studies, companies which offer more flexible work schedules are not only more successful in attracting remarkable talent, but also in retaining it. According to a study conducted by the Center for American Progress, 75 percent of asked employees stated they’d prefer their work schedule would be more flexible, thus allowing them to comfortably work from their home at least half of the workweek. Whether you apply this method for the entire company or just for those with high performance, leave aside the traditional schedules as they have passed their expiration date. Instead of focusing on the 9-5 schedule, aim to increase the productivity of your employees. In this way they will have a sense of accomplishment and also feel valued and respected. The best news is that you won’t need to sacrifice the bottom line of the company.
3. Offer encouragement as often as you can. It is a well-known fact that young employees prefer regular feedback whereas older ones only want acknowledgement for their hard work once on a blue moon. Your feedback should always be consistent and also a great way to show that you care about your employees and showing them you are engaged in their job development. It won’t cost you anything, a verbal or an acknowledgement via email are free. Small signs of appreciation can go a long way and will definitely help you retain your best employees.
4. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times. Stack ranking is the worst decision a business owner or a manager could make. Although in theory this method proves an efficient way to tell apart the best employees from the rest, in practice it only facilitates office politics and stifles the innovation process. Moreover, this can determine the employees to feel stressed and cornered in a workplace where competition is commensurate to your paycheck and loyalty is the last thing they would take into account. You should rethink the criteria on which you rank your employees and take into account how these evaluations will affect the productivity and the morale of your employees.
5. This may sound weird but make sure to manage your managers. The workplace should always remain positive and you need to do your best to ensure that managers know what they’re doing. Here’s an easy way to tell apart an average company from an excellent one: in average companies employees are tossed around and end up into management positions without even having any training whatsoever. Sooner or later – sooner in almost every case – this will spell disaster. Why risk having leaders that will prove inefficient, uninspiring or even divisive? This could lead to a negative atmosphere in the workplace and drive down the productivity. Before actually promoting them, make sure your future managers have attended leadership courses or at least they worked with some in-house mentors. The better a manager, the better the atmosphere within a workplace. Moreover, key-employees will be less interested in leaving.