Good employees are the backbone of any successful organization. On the other hand, unhappy employees can result in bad work habits and bad attitudes.
This type of environment is toxic and can lead to lost profits or worse.
The steps below are a guide that can help you retain good employees.
Step 1: Make your expectations clear. Draw up a job description or task list that can easily be referred to and if any special assignments come up, don’t assume they’re self-explanatory. Explain in detail what’s needed. In many cases, employees will want to do a good job and possibly, go above and beyond. Also be clear in showing how their work will impact the company in the long run.
Step 2: Make upward mobility a reality. As employees show progression, it’s important that they know there’s a chance for upward mobility. This can mean a promotion or an opportunity to handle extra responsibilities. Giving your employees the chance to grow shows you recognize their hard work. If future opportunities aren’t available, make it clear from the start that future advancements aren’t in the cards. If your company allows for tuition reimbursement, encourage employees to go for advanced degrees so they’ll be eligible for higher-level positions.
Step 3: Keep work tools handy. Have monthly resource meetings where your team can plan ahead and tell you what they’ll need for the coming weeks. Have an open-door policy where employees can openly ask for supplies. If these supplies aren’t available on the spot, place an order as soon as possible to have them delivered. If these supplies are less tangible (like a software upgrade), make sure there’s money allotted in the budget to cover these expenses.
Step 4: Leverage talent. A good way to keep employees happy in their jobs is to find out what they do best and incorporate that into their every day jobs. Having a rigid set of duties that doesn’t necessarily leverage an employee’s talent may lead to boredom. Employees may even become resentful because they believe they could be doing more for company. Even if certain tasks aren’t in their job descriptions, delegate tasks you know the employee will be good at and enjoy doing.
Step 5: Give constructive feedback. Honest and regular feedback gives employees a realistic perspective of where they are and what they should be working toward. Make sure that your feedback is clear. Give examples of both good and not-so-good tendencies and make suggestions as they go forward. Making someone feel bad about making a mistake doesn’t help their performance. Instead, make them aware that a mistake was made and move on. People need to know what they are doing right as well so they can continue on that path. Formal quarterly progress reports should also detail how well your employees are doing as well as the goals that need to be achieved in the future.
Step 6: Recognize a job well done. Money is a great motivator, but research has shown that it works only for the short-term. Employees want to feel appreciated, especially if the work they do is a small piece of a much bigger project. Public acknowledgement at company meetings keeps up the enthusiasm, not to mention the momentum for that employee to keep doing a good job. Even a one-on-one conversation with your employee about the good work they do can go a long way.
Step 7: Take good ideas seriously. It’s one of management's biggest faux pas -- employees will come up with great ideas and share them with the management team, only to have those great ideas forgotten as it travels up the chain. Dismissing an employee’s idea without any kind of explanation or follow-up can lead to hostile work environments. See if the idea is feasible and can be worked into the scope of your overall company goals. If not, discuss it with employees so they know they weren’t sold short. No matter what you decide, encourage the employee to lend more ideas. Communication and honesty will help lend to a more collaborative environment.
Step 8: Team building activities. Many employees want to feel the work they do contributes to their team’s overall success. The best way to make sure this happens is to encourage team activities to involve everyone in the group. If the team has completed a task by which everyone has contributed to its success, go out and celebrate. These kinds of outings are a great way to build confidence and it’ll show you appreciate the team as a whole. More introverted employees will appreciate a structured forum where they can socialize and find common bonds with the people they work with.
Step 9: Address quality and performance issues. One bad apple does spoil the bunch. It’s up to each employer to address performance issues for every employee because the good work of one person might be overshadowed by another person who consistently works below par. For example, if one employee comes in late day after day while another is on time, it’ll undoubtedly cause an uncomfortable situation. Address these issues before they affect your team in a bad way.
Step 10: Be flexible. Employees that have other obligations often have to balance (if not juggle) their responsibilities. Those who are dedicated to their jobs are still responsible for these other things, so it’s important to be as flexible as possible as an employer. Flexible work schedules and telecommuting are a few ways you can help accommodate valued employees. If a long commute inhibits your best IT guy from staying on board, offer him one of these incentives. Employees always appreciate consideration and, in return, will make sure their work goes above and beyond. For more information please visit http://www.hrtools.com
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