Here's a lesson from Employee Retention 101: If you want to retain your top talent, remember that your employees are people…and treat them that way.
Your employees have interests and responsibilities outside of work; they have particular talents and unique lives. So if you want to keep your best employees engaged and loyal to your organization for the long run, then you’re going to need to support them in their professional and their personal lives.
A variety of factors -- lack of flexibility, a toxic company culture and bad managers, to name a few -- can drive your top employees away. So we sought out expert advice to help sharpen your retention strategies and keep your employees happy in the workplace.
Find out some of the most common reasons companies lose good employees, and how you can prevent it from happening to you:
Lack of Feedback and Encouragement
The biggest reason employees leave companies is that they don’t like their managers, according to Suzanne Lucas, who has a decade of experience in corporate human resources and blogs at Evil HR Lady.
And one of the reasons many employees don’t like their bosses is the lack of positive reinforcement. Lucas suggests nurturing positive relationships with your employees by highlighting what they are doing well, rather than focusing on their flaws. Most employees “appreciate a little positive feedback from time to time,” she says.
While competitive salaries are commonly the bait used to reel in new hires, organizations are typically less likely to incentivize or reward long-term employees with the same monetary benefits. “Companies will pay top dollar for a new person off the street, but a good performer that has been with them for years comes and asks for more money and they tell him/her they can't afford it,” says Tim Sackett, a HR and talent recruitment pro who blogs at The Tim Sackett Project.
That’s silly. Reward good employees with good salaries.
Some employers think if employees aren’t tethered to their desks, then they aren’t doing their jobs. But that’s not always the case. For the most part, employees are willing to make up the time and tasks they miss to take care of personal responsibilities.
Read more about Managing a Remote Workforce
Work-Life Balance Isn’t Balanced
Managers need to recognize that their employees have lives outside of the office. Instead of being expected to log 11-hour days, employees “need their manager to understand that they are human; [that they] have needs outside of work,” says Lucas
Look, the work needs to be done. But if companies can take a load off of their employees at home through care assistance benefits, flex work options or other offerings, then work-life integration becomes possible and employees won’t feel as though they’re being asked to prioritize work over their lives outside of the office.
“An individual might need to get out early one day to go see their kids perform at a school function,” says Sackett, “But this also means they might need to come into work on a Sunday to ensure a project launches smoothly.”
Don’t get hung up on starting and quitting times that match a traditional work week. Instead, focus on results and allow employees the flexibility to achieve work-integration that makes sense for their situation. Doing so will improve engagement and loyalty among your workforce.
Lack of Advancement Opportunities
Long-term employees can feel stuck in a position at a company. Make it clear to your employees how you can help them advance in their careers, or you run the risk of losing them. “At some point, the employee has to feel the manager is going to help them progress in their career,” says Sackett.
The value of company culture cannot be understated. And it’s not all ping-pong tables and Happy Hours. Culture is about creating a positive, transparent and mission-driven environment where talented people want to work and are supported in their personal and professional lives.
“The best companies don't have to focus on gimmicks like free yoga classes. Instead, they have good managers, solid pay packages and flexibility for their employees,” says Lucas. “So many companies constantly undermine their employees by withholding information, creating onerous processes or allowing politics to rule the office.”
Micro-managing gives the impression that you don’t trust your employees’ ability to do the job. Rather than trying to create a workforce that can do everything well, pinpoint your employees’ strengths and help them build those capabilities.
“Let the employee use their talent to perform while the manager works to get hurdles and roadblocks out of the way,” says Sackett. “The key to a healthy work environment isn’t to make us better at what we aren’t good at, but to leverage what we are good at and let us shine.”