Last updated: March 30, 2020
Retaining your best employees is essential to building successful teams. With the right talent, a company can execute strategy and prevent lost productivity. Sometimes that talent is hired. Sometimes it is developed.
Smart managers know that loyal, well-trained employees provide the stability and consistency that increases productivity and amplifies talent. Which employees you need to retain and how you retain them will vary based on your organization’s needs and the job market, but there are some things every manager should be doing to develop loyal employees.
If it’s so simple, why is it so often forgotten? Feeling appreciation can turn a bad day into motivation. A trying time for the company can turn into glue that bonds co-workers and management. Take a moment to thank employees for their efforts and results. This includes sharing credit for successes.
Sure, showing appreciation can be as simple as saying “thank you”, but sometimes you’ll want to take things to the next level. Buying them a cup of coffee, giving them a gift card, or taking them to lunch are all cost-effective ways to show you recognize their efforts and if part of regular practice can have an exponential effect. What is modeled by management often gets repeated between co-workers and when sincere, can lead to a more positive work environment and a place employees grow attached.
Let them grow
Not every new position needs a heavy-hitter from the outside. Sometimes there is someone just waiting to shine. Let employees know about opportunities for promotion and skills development. If there isn’t a formal path available, then work with them to identify tasks or projects that will let them round out their skills or gain visibility.
You can use quarterly reviews or more informal sessions to learn what tasks, skills and responsibilities most interest your employees. Then look for ways to integrate these interests into their workload.
Help them fit in
Help employees understand the company culture and build relationships. Start by giving introductions when they start and make sure to explain how meetings are run. Also, make it a point to share your views about the best ways to communicate.
As your team grows, have weekly or monthly mixers where employees can get better acquainted with their peers and with you. Throwing someone “into the fire” of daily work doesn’t have to include isolating them and making things tougher.
Whether someone stays is about more than the work. If an employee feels connected to co-workers and comfortable being their self, then they are more likely to stick around.
Have a drug-free work environment
This might not seem like an obvious choice, but the benefits of one prove its worth. Of all the factors influencing an employee’s loyalty, nurturing a drug-free workplace has impact because it benefits every employee.
An environment with regular testing reduces the possibility of co-workers performing poorly or behaving badly due to drugs. Employees will appreciate having a stable environment where they can focus on doing their best work. Working with a drug user can lead to conflicts and negativity between co-workers and the company.
Also, workplaces where drugs are abused have more unplanned absences, which impacts productivity, but also means other employees are having to pick up the slack. Over time, that’s a morale killer. Now you’ve got two types of employees: ones that are missing and ones that resent the missing employees and the company for letting it happen.
Like a good coach, a good manager works to get the best from each team member. Offering constructive criticism or tips to improve performance lets an employee know that you are paying attention and that you care. Along with showing appreciation and letting them grow, offering advice shows you have an interest in the future of the employee’s career with the company, not just what they are doing now for the bottom-line.
Share the big picture
Unless you have a secret project, your motives don’t need to be secret. As a manager, you have direct responsibility for meeting certain goals, but sharing those goals turns them into (big surprise) shared goals. Employees with perspective will treat the work with respect.
You don’t have to share the minutiae of your job with your employees, but do let them know how the work of your team or department supports the larger goals of the organization.
Remember they have lives outside work
You should absolutely expect your employees to be on time and have a productive day. That said, sometimes kids are sick, cars get flat tires, or in-laws need to be picked up from the airport. You have to show the flexibility you’d want shown to you, but even if you expect more out of yourself, you have to have reasonable expectations set and be willing to bend.
If you can accommodate the occasional non-work intrusions, then your employees will feel they can do their job without it competing with their personal lives. Knowing that you support a healthy life and work balance can be a strong incentive for them to stick around.