Retention is on the mind of every leader and human resources professional. Although there has been a rise in the size of the talent pool over the last few recession-driven years, companies are still finding it difficult to recruit employees with the specialized skills needed to drive innovation and creativity to advance business initiatives.
This challenge has forced employers to focus more on who their most talented employees are and how to keep them. Less than 50 percent of respondents in the SHRM Research Spotlight on Employee Engagement say that they are satisfied with their opportunities for career development and advancement. This has a huge impact on being able to retain these employees. To drive retention, there are a few simple things that employers and HR professionals need to remember daily.
Employees want to climb the corporate ladder in order to gain greater success, and employers should help. Follow these five easy steps in what I call the CLIMB method so that new heights of performance and value are achieved.
1. Challenge. One of the top reasons employees quit is dissatisfaction with the job duties. If the employee starts a job that is different than described during the interview process, or if a long-time employee becomes dissatisfied because they are not busy, the end result can mean leaving the company. One of the easiest and least used tactics is delegation. As a leader, it is often faster or more accurate to handle something yourself. This behavior is the worst option, though, when you have an employee who needs and wants greater challenges. By taking time to teach and demonstrate what you need from the employee, you are building a challenging work environment for the employee to show their skills. This type of work environment is difficult to leave.
2. Loyalty. One thing you may have heard is that human resources took the “human” out of work relationships. While I don’t believe this is true, what is true is that employment laws that have been written and passed over the last forty years sometimes make people fearful of how much they can share at work. This often creates leaders who are cold and impersonal with their staff. One of the best ways to engage a staff member is to show your human side. Be sincere and honest as you share information with them. Additionally, provide feedback and recognition in a way that is meaningful to that individual. By being more personal with your staff, you will build the loyal relationship that is needed to increase the odds the employee will stay with your company.
3. Investment. Does your company invest in your employees? Do you provide training for all employees? Do you enhance their benefit options or lead the competition in providing matching funds for 401K plans? A key way to retain your talented employees is by showing that you are willing to give time and money to build their skills or personal wealth.
4. Measurement. HR analytics is on the lips of many HR professionals and business leaders today. Why? HR holds all the data on employees, and yet it is one of the hardest to obtain data due to lack of analytic tools. Whether it’s performance feedback, employee opinions, medical benefit usage or other data-based questions, employers need a way to collect this data in a timely and efficient manner if they are ever going to be able to analyze and use the results. As an employer, you need to do all you can to provide experiences that are not only based on measurement, but also provide opportunities so that people can be measured.
5. Building. This may be the single most important step in retaining your top employees. Building is the way you not only look at their performance and value today, but it’s also the way you demonstrate your commitment to growing the team so that the existing superstar has opportunities to lead in the future.
Focusing leaders on not only how they are climbing the ladder, but also how to engage their team to climb is where the rubber meets the road. Leaders with a more reactionary or lackadaisical approach will see higher turnover rates compared to their highly engaged counterparts. Which type of leader will you be?