Despite the growing trend for companies to turnover their staff frequently, or fire them and use consultants on an “as needed” basis, there is still a requirement for firms to keep their best performers for the permanent positions needed in the organization. With more and more people taking to working for themselves, or moving around experimenting with careers and employers, the task of keeping good staff becomes more challenging.
Employee turnover can cost organizations thousands of dollars when you consider lost production time, re-training, etc. One of the key ways to keep good staff is to instill in them a sense of loyalty and commitment. Here are some ideas to achieve this:
- Start With the Basics.
When a new employee starts, assign a buddy to them. Make sure they understand how the company works, its policies and procedures. Give them a thorough orientation. Help them to fit in easily and quickly.
- Plan Together.
If this is an employee you want to keep, make sure you discuss with them a plan for their career development. Ensure they know you are willing to invest time and money in them to achieve mutual goals if they are interested to stick around and learn.
- Be Flexible.
Be flexible with work arrangements. The old 9 to 5 routine is going the way of the dinosaur. Allow for flexi-time. Consider allowing them to work an extra hour a day to build up time for a day off every couple of weeks. If the type of work they are doing permits, consider allowing them one or two days a week when they can “work from home”.
- Don’t be Greedy.
Be realistic with overtime expectations. People are entitled to a life, and if you look after them holistically, they will reward you with the loyalty you seek. Understand their family commitments. Flexible work schedules are a blessing to working family partners, as are day-care crèches etc. You are not hiring a single automaton, you are hiring a human being with a life and a family, and it has to blend successfully if it is to be lasting and rewarding.
- Forget the “Use By” Date.
Don’t forget your retired staff. Many retirees soon find a life of retirement somewhat boring and will jump at the chance to work part time, or mentor new personnel (a win-win situation).
- Reassure their Security.
If you want to keep staff, you have to prove that their career is not at risk by staying with you, and that you have what it takes to be a modern employer. Nobody is going to leave a company that pays well, understands their needs as a human being, and offers job security together with a career plan for advancement.
- Don’t Forget the Rewards.
Brainstorm and ask staff for their ideas on reward/bonus systems. Rewards need not entail cash bonuses, but may include benefits such as child crèches, flexible hours, time off, payment of Association fees, etc.
- Show Interest.
Show an active interest in your staff’s welfare and enjoyment in their employment – don’t wait until the once a year interview. You could try offering a company Social Club, or staff picnics, or a newsletter primarily for and about the staff rather than a strictly business newsletter. Do any of your staff do things like volunteer work, or work with Boy scouts, just for examples, because if they do, some recognition and perhaps some kind of donation or sponsorship towards their activity, sporting group, etc. would go a long way to ensure their loyalty and appreciation.
- Keep an Ear to the Ground.
Don’t wait until disgruntled staff come to you – by then, much damage has already been done. Whether the problem is at an individual level, or involves an entire department, or an individual Manager, act quickly and be seen to be taking steps to rectify any problem areas. Consult with all levels of staff. Encourage your management to take weekly walks around departments, letting their presence be known, asking friendly questions, showing concern, and taking steps to rectify problems.
- Never Mislead.
Finally, if the job opening you are offering is potentially a short-term arrangement, or likely to change or disappear in the future, be open and honest about it up front. Never mislead employees. In a nutshell, the key to remember is that many employees think of their company (employer) as an extension of their family. Treat them as you would a valued family member and you will have lifelong loyalty. Treat them as a ‘number’, a disposable commodity, and you will have nothing.