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How Do I Make Them STAY?

What do you think attracts potential employees to a new role? Yep, you’re right. Research shows that at this early stage it is mostly salary and benefits, BUT that’s definitely not what keeps them there.

The secrets to retaining great people are a positive work environment, opportunities to grow, involvement/included in decision-making and feeling that their managers value them and are concerned for their wellbeing. ‘I’m part of something special here’. Deep down, we all crave feeling valued for who we are and what we bring to the team.

Once upon a time, the old ‘You should be grateful to have a job!’ mindset may have cut it…..not anymore. Many industries are perilously understaffed with qualified, skilled team members and staff performance is very closely linked to workplace culture so we must shift our mindset as leaders if our goal is to attract and retain the best people around and have them firing on all cylinders.

‘But I need the job done!’ Sure, as an employer, you recruit staff to perform a role and fulfil specific business needs. But that’s not where it ends. Today’s workforce is looking for growth; for opportunities; for challenges. They’ll go above and beyond but they want you to as well. They want you to be the kind of inspirational leader they want to follow, to be like, to learn from. They also bring needs which, if ignored, will find them looking for another role elsewhere soon enough.

Repetition is another red flag. If their roles see them doing mostly the same thing every day, there’s a good chance they’ll only do that for so long before they get bored and distracted. You need to build in variety or challenge by multi or cross-skilling; teaching them other skills or roles as well and allowing them to rotate tasks from time to time to change it up. If they’re great at that particular role, let them be ‘in charge’ of it, make decisions about how to improve it and give them the responsibility of training others to do it as new staff come along. And finally, keep checking in with them at your monthly/quarterly reviews to see how they’re enjoying their work. If you sense signs of boredom it might be time to offer them a new challenge. I know it suits us to have them doing that job forever- particularly if they’re great at it, but if they’re not happy, we’ll lose them anyway. Wouldn’t you rather keep a great person on your team in a different role than lose them completely?

The Mushroom Syndrome. The feeling of being kept ‘in the dark’ is an additional turn-off for staff and companies with clear communication are 20% more likely to have low levels of staff turnover. Clear, regular and open communication is a common trait of many high performing teams and an essential factor in getting great results. Do you get together weekly to talk about the team’s progress? Do you schedule short training topics into your staff meetings to create a ‘learning environment’ where your people learn and grow together? Do you openly discuss problems that have occurred through the week and seek ideas on how to improve or adapt your processes? That’s a great way to help your team learn through their mistakes by showing them that it’s not about making someone ‘wrong’, but about making sure the team learns from the situation and becomes stronger as a result. This is key to your staff feeling valued and listened to. If you’re the one making all the decisions and they’re just told what to do, you’re in the staff turnover danger zone. The key to their commitment is their involvement. You still get to make the final call on big decisions but they need to feel that they have a say & that you want to hear their thoughts.

The numbers tell us that staff who feel insignificant or not respected are three times more likely to resign than those who feel like a key part of a great team, whatever their experience level. And one more for the road? Choose the right people. 80% of employee turnover is caused by poor hiring decisions. Sure you can provide an encouraging and supportive environment but motivation is an inside job- you can’t motivate someone who isn’t excited about working with you and doing their job well.

“You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he is willing to climb a little!” Andrew Carnegie.

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