“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
– Alvin Toffler

Three Tips to Increase Employee Retention

The only thing better than finding your dream team is keeping that team around for a good, long time. There are a million ways to retain good employees, they do not apply universally to each employee or in every work place. At their core, however, most effective retention strategies are based on one simple fact: you and your team are all people, and you rely on that human connection to achieve your goals.

It may seem like stating the obvious, but one simple key to retaining a good team is remembering the fact that your employees are human resources. What can you do, as a manager, to strengthen your work environment and keep your best talent? Many proven management methods tend to revolve around three overarching concepts: managing employees as people, establishing open communication, and encouraging employees to keep up their fine work.

Managing People

Do you remember when you were a kid and you saw your teacher at the grocery store, over the weekend? It was unsettling to see them in such an irrelevant context because you’d only associated them with the classroom. In reality, your teacher existed outside the four walls of their job, and so do your employees.

An employee’s existence outside the office can very easily permeate their existence inside the office. Keep up with what’s going on in their lives: if stress or frustration at work is adding to bigger issues outside of the office, then the employee may seek out a more flexible work environment. Of course, you and your employees are held to certain standards, and it is reasonable and necessary to expect that the basics of professional conduct are upheld.

Nonetheless, maintaining a work/life balance doesn’t fall entirely on the employee. Occasionally, you may need to be flexible for your team. For example, we remember a situation in which an employee had violated a client’s strict attendance policy twice; the second time due to a medical emergency. Even though it was company policy, the manager was reluctant to let the employee go. They reached out to us for advice, and found they knew the answer all along: because the employee was excellent on the job and the circumstances around the second absence were unusual, this was a time when an exception could be made. In turn, we stressed to the employee the importance of maintaining perfect attendance in the future. With some flexibility on both sides, the employee stayed with the company and became a leading team member.

Opening Communication

You want your employees to soar. High-performing employees often do so under encouraging, communicative leadership. In our experience, managers who set standing one-on-one meetings with employees have strong working relationships with their team. This increases overall engagement with both the company and individual goals while also providing valuable day to day support. Use this time to get yourself and your employees up to speed: Where can they grow more? What are they struggling with? Do they have any concerns about their jobs? What are the company’s higher goals and vision, and what can each team member do to contribute? Establishing a daily 10 minute meeting encourages communication and investment in shared goals.

Encouraging Success

A little acknowledgement of a job well done goes a long way. Receiving personal recognition from a direct supervisor boosts morale by letting employees know they are appreciated. Constructive feedback on areas of improvement shows your best employees that you see their potential and are encouraging them to grow. Be specific: the more comprehensive the praise and criticism, the better. Details show that you pay attention to their contributions and are invested in their success. Inspire them to constantly redefine what being the best means.

Finally, remember the importance of individuals belonging to a group. Even the most introverted person thrives when they have the sense of fitting in with others. All of us have worked with managers who’ve been successful in empowering employees to feel good about their job through team lunches or team building activities to break the routine every now and again to build camaraderie. Even something as simple as your team meeting in the breakroom to eat together can help to build that group bond and encourage your team to lean on each other for help and camaraderie.

Regardless of the activities your team chooses, the fact remains that happy employees work in happy environments. If you highlight the human element of your work relationships, your dream team will want to stay with you and will work wonders.