How do I retain the talent I have?

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When it comes to retaining talent, no employer should be complacent enough to operate on a ‘hire and forget’ policy. If you do, you’re most likely to be caught off-guard and left high and dry at the most inopportune time!

A lot of time, money and effort goes into recruiting the right talent; but as an employer, your job does not end there. Retaining a positive and motivated workforce is a reflection of your capability and commitment as an employer as well.

Conduct ‘stay’ interviews; prevention is always better than cure

Checking disgruntlement as and when it arises may serve the purpose at the time, but you need to be two steps ahead at all times. Think ahead, anticipate dissatisfaction, keep your eyes and ears open in your work environment and formulate a retention strategy that will make your employees feel valued enough to maintain productivity and loyalty to the company.

Try and conduct ‘stay’ interviews with your longer-tenured employees and find out what has made them stay. You can use that information to fortify your employment retention strategy, and if it’s successful, you may not have to go through an ‘exit’ interview at all!

Employees should be treated as assets not overheads

People may have chosen to be in your employ for varied reasons. It could be the attractive salary, soft benefits, retirement plans, anything for that matter! But the bottom line is, the sense of security and loyalty that comes with continuous job satisfaction is incomparable.

Make an effort to know your employees, greet them by name, acknowledge their contributions, highlight noteworthy performances – these may be small things, but they go a long way in making the employee feel valued. Encourage them to set goals, make their choices, ask for opinions and the chances are you’ll be breeding a culture of loyalty, where coming to work will not be a chore anymore, but a pleasure!

Good employees are eager to please, so make expectations clear

A clear job description is a great way to let employees know what is expected of them and the targets that have to be met.  Changing expectations from time to time keep people on tenterhooks because they’re confused about what they have to live up to.

This does not mean that their roles and responsibilities have to remain static. If there are changes that need to be made, or you want them to take on additional duties, or you want to encourage a culture of pro-activeness, they can’t be expected to glean that from your attitude – you have to communicate the same clearly and directly.

Create a benefits package to show them “It’s not all about work”

If you’re an employer who can afford to offer additional perks – don’t just sit pretty, DO IT! Health insurance, life insurance, superannuation plans, year-end bonuses are all big perks that can make your workforce stick on like glue. There’s no harm in offering smaller perks such as flexitime and the option of working from home on occasion if you think it will encourage more productivity and dedication.

Nobody expects you to be Santa handing out every perk in the book; but you must show your employees that you’re willing to do what it takes to accommodate the larger picture, provided there are no hiccups on the work front!

Feedback sessions should be constructive dialogue

Managers have a critical role to play in the retention of employees. Being a nice person isn’t enough, they need to lead by example and earn the respect of the employee. Studies show that people leave their managers more often than they leave their jobs.

Managers should be encouraged to coach employees, help good performers move to new positions and minimise poor performance. But they must keep in mind that while giving feedback on work performed or work-related issues, it’s important to encourage a dialogue where the employee has the freedom to explain himself. Criticism, if sandwiched constructively, can be seen as a stepping stone and not a morale-crushing session where the employee feels undervalued at every juncture.

Managers should learn to listen and be open to new ideas even if it comes from junior staff. They should make themselves available when they are approached for guidance and offer timely and befitting responses.

Encourage an open and honest work environment

The management should try and institute an open-door policy that gives employees the liberty to speak frankly without fear of repercussion. Scheduled meetings should be planned where employees can ask questions, comment on policies, offer suggestions – all in an effort to maximise their commitment.

If they are forced to bite their tongues at every juncture and bottle up their concerns, one day it’ll all come to a head and they will leave at the slightest provocation.

Timely appreciation and reward for good work matters

If employees find themselves stuck in a rut and they are plagued the fact that they are undervalued and unappreciated, the chances are they will be on the lookout for a better opportunity.

But employers must ensure that ‘recognition is specific’ and ‘praise is sincere’. Top talent is smart enough to differentiate between sincere appreciation and generic platitudes to placate the work force.

Feedback and praise need not always have a monetary bonus, but occasionally a monetary benefit can be a tremendous morale boost and an incentive for other employees to up their level of performance. Offering reasonable raises, tied to accomplishments and achievement, is also a good way to help retain staff.

Encourage personal growth and promotion from within

Nothing kills motivation and commitment than stagnancy! There should be a clear path to advance in roles and responsibilities, prospects to acquire a new skill, chances of broadening the job scope etc. to help employees keep pace with the times.

If their existing skill set becomes irrelevant with the progression of technology, there is bound to be frustration and dissatisfaction. They should have the opportunity to keep themselves updated and relevant!

Employee retention is one of the primary measures of the health of your organisation. Keeping these tips in mind, do what it takes to retain the talent you have, it will have a direct impact on the success of your business!

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