It’s a paradox—the employees you most want to keep can often be the self-starters who end up moving on to what they see as greener pastures. And if your turnover is high, you lose out on productivity and momentum, possibly losing profits while you’re at it.
Here are 5 timely strategies for retaining the best.
1. Encourage and motivate
Be sure to acknowledge achievements, good work, and initiative. Also, Once you get a hint of what an employee might be longing for or find lacking, try to supply as much of that that as you can. Running contests and providing other incentives can also prove useful.
2. Help With Advancement
If there’s room in your company for any advancement of any kind, try to facilitate it. Even if there are limited slots, try to raise pay and raise responsibilities for your sharpest employees. Give them opportunities to expand and grow professionally. The grass won’t seem as green on the other side of the fence if the colors in front of your employees aren’t allowed to fade to gray.
3. Set Clear Expectations
You can’t ask someone to do what they don’t know they’re being asked to do. If employees feel the bar is being raised and lowered, they may feel a sense of being lost—the situation may become hopeless.
There’s nothing easy about being a boss or about retaining your best talent. To wit, while the last few tips involved a hands-on approach, one that involves keeping tabs on your crew and their feelings, here’s one that yanks it right back from you. The Huffington Post gives a smart piece of advice to be sure not to smother or strangle employees in any way. The attention you give them should be empowering, not overweening.
5. Employees with Benefits
Even in an Obamacare world in which people are required to go out and get their own health insurance, employees still place—to use a pun—a high premium on benefits packages from their employee. One study, conducted by the Principal Financial Group, found health benefits to be the most important component. That serves as one indicator that if you’re not quite able to afford dental and optical and retirement, you may be all right, at least for a short period of time. The other frills can come later, as soon as possible. Further, you shouldn’t necessarily feel pressure to spring for healthcare from day one, but as you begin to grow a good-sized staff, it should be a priority.
In short, having a master plan for the retention of employees should be on your agenda. Yes, you have plenty there already—too much—but that’s part of the fun of being the boss. It’s easy to forget employee retention when trying to just stay alive, but it’s important to do from day one. The steps above require foresight, long-range planning, and of course, maintenance. Think of retaining your employees as being as important as any other profit-raising strategy, because the strength of your employees is absolutely crucial to your bottom line.