Top 5 Ways to Retain Employees

by Chris Young

How serious are you about employee retention?  What are you doing to ensure your best talent does not leave for greener pastures?

Now more than ever, employee retention is something that leaders must channel their energy on.  In a recent survey by Right Management, 86% of employees said they plan to look for a new job in 2013.  This is an alarming number of employees that plan to leave the workplace.

If so many employees are leaving the workplace, what can be done to keep them onboard?

Here are the top five ways to retain the employee team members you want to keep.

Look in the mirror.

top ways to retain employeesAll problems start at the head...  

A study conducted by Florida State University suggests that employees leave bosses not jobs.  Often times, managers pool all the information possible about employee retention without taking time to say, "What can I do differently to help retain employees?"  I find that management has a hard time accepting some of their management faults because it may make them look weak or they may be completely ambivilent to the way they are contributing to low retention rates.

The best way to find out how you can improve your management style is to ask current team members.  Obviously, very few team members will truly tell you what they think, so this needs to be done in an anonymous way.  One way to collect employee feedback anonymously is to hire a third party like the Rainmaker Group.

Hire the best people.

All problems walk on two feet...

The single most important determinant of employee retention is employee job fit.  Every job has a unique combination of behaviors, values, and attributes necessary to do the job well.  When an employee's behaviors, values, and attributes are not aligned with the job and culture of the company, he or she will not fit the job.  If a team member does not fit the job, he or she is most likely unhappy with work.  Unhappy employees leave for greener pastures.

The problem with job fit is most employers do not utilize the resources available to identify a candidate's job fit.  Instead, they rely on the typical interview process that gives little insight into a candidate's behaviors, values, and attributes and also relies on "gut instinct."  Both companies and employees alike pay dearly for the "gut instinct" hiring method. 

To hire the best people, you must use a valid assessment tool that measures multiple components of job fit.  The TriMetrix® HD is one assessment tool that can accurately predict job fit and also be used to make the onboarding process more efficient.

Keep the DNA pure.

Employee team members need to know the answer to, "why are we here?" They also need to be clear about what your company does.  More importantly, they need to BELIEVE in it.

Keeping only those who believe is key to employee retention and morale. It may seem paradoxial to remove team members when you are trying to retain them, but it is essential.  

Mixing believers and non-believers leads to little productivity.  More importantly, the non-believers destroy new team member's beliefs and cause great team members to jump ship.

John Miller said it best...  "Believe or leave."  If an employee team member does not believe in what you do - they need to seek a better place for them.  

Honor the greatness in every employee team member.  

Technically - the people I work with are my employees.  However, I do not like that word - "employee".  It is a cheap, subserviant word.  It suggests ownership.  It suggests putting people in "their place."

Several years ago, I read Robert K. Cooper's The Other 90%.  It changed my life and how I look at other people.  After reading his book, I cannot call the people I work with "employees".  Every human being is sacred and is to be cherished the way they are.  I refer to employees as "team members."

Do your best to know and advocate for the hopes and dreams of those you partner with.  Honor the greatness in each by praising them in the unique manner they appreciate.  Identify and honor their unique idiosyncracies - what they enjoy - and avoid what they do not enjoy.

Pay team members what they are worth.

Compensation is very personal.  You have the power to share the rewards so do so.  Pay your people the way you would hope to be compensated.  Be more than fair.  When you give - you will get back in spade.  You will not regret it and you will get their attention.

Just do not over pay low performers believing their performance will improve because it will not. 

What can you do right now to get started?

First - decide to take action.  Then review the five strategies we have shared in this post and score yourself.  How are you doing?  What should you improve?  Create an action plan for the next several weeks.  Remember...  Intention only goes so far.  Commit yourself to improving these five areas and your employee retention will improve.

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