How To Encourage Employee Retention

Just about every employer has to deal with the loss and replacement of employees. The process can be costly, both in terms of time and productivity. Successful companies learn very quickly how to minimize employee turnover. Here are several suggestions that can be implemented by a company of just about any size:

  1. Make sure employees are clear on the responsibilities of their position. Few things will damage an employee's work ethic quicker than fuzzy expectations and job requirements. Take the time to go over the job description and how that position is important to the overall success of the business.
  2. Provide the tools necessary to get the job done. Administrative assistants can't process letters and other outbound mail pieces without postage, paper and printer ribbons. Salespersons can't sell if they have nothing to show a prospect. Empower your employees by having everything they need ready and at their fingertips.
  3. Be specific when praising a job well done. Remember the old British sitcom "Are You Being Served?" The store owner would occasionally put in an appearance and tell the entire staff, "You've all done very well!"  While the general sentiment is nice, its impact is minimal. Make it a point to seek out the employee in his workspace and offer focused kudos. "Ann, the way you designed and arranged that presentation chart with the same color scheme as our client's logo was a stroke of genius." Recognizing specific actions can make an employee feel on top of the world.

  4. Keep a cool head when mistakes happen. The fact is that everyone screws up now and then. Work with the employee to ascertain the exact nature of the issue and focus on reaching a resolution. Once things are back on an even keel, work with the employee to identify exactly where things went awry and together develop a process that will help prevent a recurrence. This effort helps the employee maintain self-esteem while not sidestepping the seriousness or consequences of making the error.
  5. Actively solicit input from your employees. Yes, that suggestion box in the break area is a nice touch. But if everyone knows that ideas are actively sought and valued, you will generate a level of dialogue that may yield some very creative and profitable suggestions that will help the company grow in the future. This emotional investment by your employees helps them be more a part of the company, rather than a cog in the overall machine.
  6. Realize that even the most even-tempered employee will have a bad day. We all do. Family, friends, love interests, local events, frustration with a work project can all converge to make Joe a very unhappy camper. Cut him a little slack. If your company is large enough to allow for someone to take fifteen or so minutes and allow Joe to vent a little, then arrange it. You will more than make the time up in productivity later in the day.
  7. Above all, be honest with your employees. Most of the time, this is very simple to do. Occasionally, it may be difficult. While it is not necessary to give your employees a blow by blow status of the company each and every day, understand that you are not doing anyone any favors by withholding information that affects their jobs. You may even find that in being up front about a potential problem within the company that one of your employees will have an idea that can make all the difference in the world.

Many people draw a great deal of their self-image from the jobs they hold and how competently they perform their responsibilities. An employer who appreciates, involves, and is honest with the workforce is sure to maintain a very low turnover in the company.


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