One of the hardest parts of running a business is finding the right employees to fit the jobs you have and to fit the culture you want to create. Being known as an employer who has a revolving door is not the reputation any company wants. The hard part about keeping employees is that many employers blame the people in the jobs for their lack of engagement, instead of looking at their operation to see if there are unresolved issues or areas of the business process that could be improved to keep employees happy and productive. So, if you are struggling to keep employees, give these ten tips a try. You might find that a few tweaks here and there can make an impact on the life of an employee at your company.
Invest in Your Employees
It might seem like you have already invested a lot of time and money into your current employees, but the fastest way to lose people is to stop offering them learning opportunities. If you want to retain employees longer, provide them opportunities to learn new skills, travel to new places, work with new people, and take on new roles as they progress through the company.
Talk to Your Employees
If you want to create a connection with people, you need to talk to them. Don’t sit in your ivory tower and look down on your employees, get out there and work with them. Talk to them regularly. You can wander around the floor, office, or worksite and ask people how they are getting along. Use opened ended questions to keep people engaged. Rather than ask “how are you doing?” — to which most people would say “fine” — ask employees to tell you about their day. Open-ended questions leave more room for conversation and further probing to let them know you are genuinely interested in them.
Never Assume Anything
A lot of employers make the mistake of thinking everything is running smoothly. The truth is that every company has employees that have something to say and they want the chance to be heard. Using feedback software, such as 15Five or SurveyMonkey can help you give your employees a platform for providing feedback, and they can let you know what is going on in the day-to-day of their jobs.
Rewards Go Beyond Money
Sure, people want to make a decent wage, but with more and more people emphasizing their happiness at work rather than their paychecks, it’s essential to provide opportunities for people to be rewarded and recognized. Travel and trip incentives are an excellent place to start if you can afford it. Reward people with time off, gift cards for things that aren’t related to their jobs, dinners for their families, or anything else that you can do to show them you care about them as a person and not just an employee.
Encourage Work/Life Balance
When employees need to care for loved ones, or they are sick themselves, they can feel intimidated to ask for the time off. Encourage your employees to take the time they need to get well, care for children, or even skip out early on a Friday before a long weekend. Going above and beyond what is “required by law” is often a great way to connect with your employees and show them you care about their engagement and happiness at work.
Use Candor without Malice
When you have an issue with an employee, it’s best to speak to that person as soon as possible and be clear about what the problem is. Allow the employee to tell their side of the story and be open to what has occurred when there is an issue. Also, it’s important to be open to hearing how you might have impacted the situation and if you want to use candor, you need to be willing to receive candid feedback as well. It goes both ways in a good working relationship, and your employees will stick around if they feel like they are being listened to when it matters most.
Maintain an Open-Door Policy
Encourage employees to visit you in your office when you are not out on the floor. Many companies are ditching cubicles and walled offices in favor of open working space so that there is less intimidation when it comes to hierarchy and communication.
Praise Good Work
Most employees only see the boss when something has gone wrong. Be present as much as possible and always praise employees who have done an excellent job. Don’t think that because they are “just doing their job” that it’s not worth paying attention to – do you know how many people with jobs don’t even do the bare minimum every day? If you have good employees and you want to keep them, tell them so.
Create a Mentor Program
A great way to keep people engaged in their work is to create work-share programs or mentorship programs. If an employee wants to learn the ropes of a different department, you can allow them a certain amount of time each week or month to get their feet wet in finance, recruitment, placement or sales. Whatever your company looks like, there is always room for cross-training and more experienced workers love to share their knowledge with novice workers.
Ask for Help
If you are struggling to keep employees, take the time to talk to the employees that have decided to leave. Find out what they would have liked to have seen, or better yet, ask the current employees what they want to prevent them from leaving. Of course, people are going to say more money, but as we have seen, there is much opportunity to pay people with experience, learning, opportunity, travel, sharing, mentoring, communication and much more. Don’t pretend you can figure this out all on your own. Opening up and asking for feedback will let your employees know that their opinions matter, and that will keep them encouraged at work for years to come.