Employee Retention-How To Keep People Happy and Focused

Employee turnover impacts an organization in a variety of ways, most of which are negative. High turnover generates not only heavy tangible costs, but takes its toll on the current team members as well. So what can you do to reduce the cost of continually bringing in new people? Here are just a few reasons for high turnover and some strategies to correct.

First of all, not all turnover is bad. When I see an organization that has not fired anyone in a very long time, that tells me that the culture there is very tolerant and most likely has few if any over achievers. If you were a highly ambitious person, would you want to work in a place where achievement goes unnoticed? Many times, companies will have “upgrading” periods where the management team identifies the lower 2-3%, and lays them off. So if you are not moving some percentage of your people out the door on a regular basis, you are missing out on a great opportunity to find much better performers.

The number one reason why people leave an organization is because of their manager. Think of what the manager influences in the team member’s activities and overall success. Managers control compensation, time away approval, day to day expectations, and last but certainly not least, the overall environment. Managers determine whether or not the team member “wants” to come to work every day. Managers can generate a team that is just fun to be around, a team that works well together and all know what is expected of them.

Do you support your team members? In other words, when team members need your help, are you there? Do you do what she can to remove roadblocks for them, so their job is as easy as possible? How supported people feel directly impacts how they feel while at work, and how long they will stay. Great managers do not wait for team members to come to them, they “notice” changes in people and seek out the reason.

Do you recognize and reward outstanding efforts? Notice I did not say “results”. Great managers know that not every effort creates the desired results. Often times there are circumstances that are beyond the control of the team member. Knowing the level of effort people are placing into their role, and providing feedback on how to make changes to produce results is the job of the leader. So be involved enough to know who is really working hard, and provide rewards and recognition for those efforts. This also communicates to others just what behavior you value and expect.

Do you lead in a “teaching” fashion? One of the simple ways we motivate people is by teaching them new things. When we stop learning, our job becomes routine, and we often times start to look for new opportunities. Delegation skills are critical in the teaching process, as it not only is a great way to get more done, but also provides a process to teach people new tasks and potentially prepare them for a promotion. Often times new managers tend to hang on to day to day functions, because they feel it is just faster to perform them themselves. Make sure you create a continual learning program, that provides people with ways to feel that they contribute more to the organization.

There are many more areas that effect the amount of turn-over you experience, but staying focused on the effectiveness of your leaders is one of the fasted ways to reduce turn-over and improve overall team performance.