Thursday, January 16, 2014

How to Stop Your Employees from Leaving

According to a new Careerbuilder survey, 21% of full-time employees intend to look for a new job this year. What’s your turnover lately? The survey shows overall job satisfaction seems to be down (59% vs. 66% in 2013). More than 3000 full-time, private sector employees were polled in November and December 2013. They cited the following as reasons for looking for a different job:

58% are dissatisfied with their job.
45% are dissatisfied with their advancement opportunities.
39% aren’t happy with their work/life balance.
39% feel they are underemployed.
39% are feeling highly stressed.
37% have a poor opinion of their boss’s performance.
36% feel they were overlooked for a promotion.
35% of those looking have been with their current employer for 2 years or less.
28% didn’t receive a pay increase in 2013.

Who’s staying in their jobs?

79% of those surveyed say they intend to stay with their current employer. They gave a number of reasons, including:

- Liking the people they work with – 54%
- Good work/life balance – 50%
- Good benefits – 49%
- Good salary – 43%
- Uncertainty in job market – 35%
- Short commute – 35%
- Good boss – 32%
- Feeling valued and recognized – 29%

So, what does this tell us about how to keep our best employees? Certainly, some of these are outside our control as supervisors and managers. Normally, there’s not much we can do about someone’s commute. Work/life balance is as much a personal issue to resolve as it is a work issue to address. And, we really can’t make everyone like each other. But what can we do?

Talk to your people. If you don’t know what your employees want in terms of their growth and development, you can’t help provide them with opportunities to meet their needs, and you risk losing them.

Create growth opportunities. When hiring, look internally first.  Make it a priority to consider your current employees first to see if there is anyone who could stretch into the new position.  Make sure employees are aware of internal openings and have an opportunity to apply for them if they’re interested.

Utilize performance reviews to gain insights into your employees’ goals and career aspirations. Performance reviews can be opportunities to discuss employees’ career goals, and obtain input for creating stretch opportunities for them — both within their current roles and in new roles.

Communicate clear performance expectations and make employees accountable for meeting them. Review performance on a regular basis.  Acknowledge good work and discuss work that missed the mark and determine how to avoid a repeat performance in the future.

Listen well. In any discussion with your employees, listen for the main message. Stop thinking about your reply or whether the speaker is actually talking about you. Let your body language make the statement that you’re really listening.

Give responsibility. Show your employees you trust them by giving them responsibilities that allow them to grow. Encourage them to gain new skills.

Reward and recognize. While "employee of the month" and service awards can be helpful, they can become stale, boring and a chore, and therefore lose any real impact. Get to know your employees! Find out how they want to be rewarded and recognized. This is one area where getting "personal" may pay off. Receiving an award that is more individualized will be more meaningful to most employees than the standard gift card for the mall.

Simple words and sentiments go a long way. Say please, thank you, and you're doing a good job. It’s so simple, yet so effective. And saying "you’re doing a good job" in front of others can be an extra boost.

We all need positive and negative consequences. The motivation and morale of your best employees is at stake. Nothing hurts motivation and morale more quickly than enduring the co-worker who slacks off or behaves badly and gets away with it.

When the economy sucks, people tend to stay in their current jobs due to the uncertainly of what’s out there. When the economy begins to improve, people start to feel more comfortable in looking to move to another job. While I doubt many of us would agree the economy is all that great right now, there’s enough improvement that you may start seeing movement of the employees who feel like some of those surveyed. If you don’t already do some of these things, now’s a great time to start.

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