5 Secrets to Keep Your Best Employees
Employee turnover isn’t just expensive; it can jeopardize your entire organization’s operations. So how do you keep your best and brightest from walking out the door? There are a lot of little things that you can do to keep your employees happy. Here are a few secrets to add to your arsenal:
Treat your employees how you’d like to be treated. Show them that you care by trying to be accommodating to their needs. In the 1920s, Henry Ford implemented an employee well-being program, one of the first of its kind. He expected his front-line managers to know how their employees were doing. Were they having difficulty at home? Were their children sick? The intention of this program was not to pry into their lives but to understand how the managers could support their workers.
Try to be accommodating when employees ask for special considerations such as days off and vacations. Try to go the extra mile by remembering and acknowledging birthdays, work and wedding anniversaries. Just remembering these dates will help your employees to know that you care.
Showing your employees that you trust, respect and value their opinions and contributions to to the organization is key. Whenever possible ask your employees for their input and opinion. An employee who feels their opinion is valued is far more likely to stay with their employer. Remember your employees are your company’s “face to the customer” and, as such, they can provide you with valuable insights about what customers want and need. They can provide valuable input on how you can improve operationally. If an employee does provide you with valuable insights and suggestions, acknowledge it and if possible reward it. You’d be surprised how a little gesture like a gift card from the local coffee shop can mean to them.
Don’t Let Them Down
This one may seem intuitive and seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often employers let down their employees. It’s critically important that you keep your word to your people. If you say you’re going to do something, you should do everything within your power to fulfill that promise. Try not to blame your employees. There are times when you will be forced to “take sides” in a dispute with a customer. However expedient it may seem to do so, never shove your employees under the bus. Even when dealing with sub-par employees, you have to avoid the temptation to blame because, if your best employees see your failure to show loyalty to others, they will always wonder if you “have their back”.
The saying “the customer is always right” is a fallacy. Sometimes the customer is dead wrong, so don’t use this platitude on your employees. It insults their intelligence. The customer is not always right, but the customer is your organization’s raison d’etre so they deserve respect, so do your employees (especially so with your best employees).
Invest in Your Employees
This one may not be a “secret” but it always bears repeating. To your customer’s, your employees are your brand. As such, you need to value them like you value your business. Pay them what they are worth. Make an investment in them. This doesn’t always have to mean money. You can invest time to mentor, train and educate them. Teach them new skills. Cultivate their interests. Of course, you can only do this if you’ve taken the time to know what their interests are. Take the time to understand their career aspirations. As their employer, you’re in a unique position to help them fulfill their career goals.
How They Leave Matters
The best way to earn the respect and trust of your best employees is by showing respect to former employers. Losing an employee is painful, especially when they are a good employee that you’ve invested a lot of time and attention in, but how you treat them as they leave reflects on you as an employer. As hard as it may be to see them go, you should always take the high road. Wish them well. If they’ve been a good employee, let them know they are welcome to come back. If they’re a subpar employee, let them know that you’re sorry it didn’t work out and wish them well. Offer them help if they need it. Remember, every former employee is a potential brand ambassador. Leave them with a great feeling about your brand so that they tell others.
Employee turnover can be expensive and it can adversely impact your operations, but there are a number of small things that you can do to help retain your best employees. Some of the items I’ve mentioned are common sense, but sometimes the secret to success is exercising good, common sense.
What are your thoughts? What are your secrets to keeping your best employees?