How to hold on to good employees – Part 2: The strategies
In my last HRZone blog entry I set out the five main reasons why employees leave their companies. Today I’m going to describe some corresponding employee retention strategies.
1. Create and maintain a working environment that attracts, retains and nourishes good people.
The issues you need to attend to include developing a corporate mission, culture and value system, insisting on a safe working environment, and creating clear, logical and consistent operating policies and procedures. Your aim is to make your company a place where people want to come to work. Among other things, this means:
- clarifying your mission
- creating a values statement
- communicating positive feelings
- staying focused on the customer
- being fair and honest
- cultivating a feeling of family
- promoting integrity
- not tolerating sub-par performance
- insisting on workplace safety
- reducing the number of meetings
- making work fun.
Above all, today’s employees want a culture of openness and shared information. They want to know how the company is doing, where it is going, and how they can help. How does your company fare in terms of openness? To find out, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do our employees know how the company is doing in key areas such as sales, financials, strategy and marketing?
- Do we promote open-book management, or do we keep information a closely guarded secret among the senior managers?
- Do employees understand our vision, mission and values?
- Do we have a values statement that clarifies and supports a culture of openness?
- Do we give performance feedback on a regular basis, or only at annual review time?
- Do we encourage individuals and departments to share information with each other?
2. Develop effective employee relationship strategies.
In all but the smallest companies, people work for their supervisor, not you – so the first thing is to give your managers and supervisors plenty of relationship training.
Secondly, ask employees why they work for you. This will not only reinforce these benefits in employees’ minds, but will also give you a better understanding of what attracts people to your company. You can then use that information to recruit new employees, and you can also ask: “What can we do to make things even better around here?”
There are many employee relationship strategies that can impact retention. Here are just a few:
- Use behavioural style assessment tools, such as Myers-Briggs or DISC, to help people better understand themselves and each other and communicate more effectively.
- Help employees to set life goals and get focused on where they want to go. Then help them to see how their goals match up with company goals and that they can achieve their goals by staying with the company.
- Whenever possible, get the family involved, through letter-writing, open house days, social activities and celebrations.
Ultimately, employee relationship strategies help to build a sense of family. In families, people learn to work out conflicts and disagreements; stick together through good times and bad, and support each other’s growth. It’s much harder to leave a family than to leave a place where you just go to work.
There are three more employee retention strategies that deserve close attention:
- Employee support strategies that give your people the tools and equipment to get the job done.
- Employee growth strategies that help your people to develop new knowledge and skills.
- Employee compensation strategies that recognise the fact that, nowadays, money alone will not retain most employees.
Look out for more details about these strategies in my next blog post.
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Terry Irwin is the founder and CEO of TCii Strategic and Management Consultants. Born and brought up in Wales, he studied Economics and Marketing at university, followed by an MBA.
Before setting up TCii, Terry spent over 20 years in the corporate world with GSK and Henkel, managing consumer goods and services businesses, living...