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Culture Matters | Volume 2

Keeping the Great Employees You Have

Candidates are savvy and they notice when companies constantly seem to be hiring, especially for the same positions.  Organizations with high turnover are regarded with suspicion and rightly so, because high turnover is generally indicative of issues with the organization.

Keeping good employees isn’t rocket science.  You can be really good at employee retention by just doing a few things right.  That is,

  • Follow the law when it comes to paying people (on time, in accordance with overtime and holiday regulations), and providing a safe work environment (minimize physical dangers and mental hazards such as overwork or bullying);
  • Compensate fairly (that means staying in touch with the market and what your people could be making elsewhere);
  • Provide clear direction in the form of goals, job descriptions, and work instructions (even if you don’t spell out every detail, make it clear what is important to be done and what if any parameters there are around how it is to be done);
  • Show you care about your people by telling them what you are planning and where you are going, listening to their ideas, respecting their time, saying thanks, and offering the benefits and perks you are able;
  • Be up front about your rules and policies (common sense is a myth, so don’t get frustrated if people don’t meet expectations which aren’t communicated);
  • Be consistent (people would rather work for a consistent jerk than an inconsistent nice guy);
  • Train your managers (they are how your employees experience your organization, so ensure they are setting the right tone and sending the right messages);
  • Uphold your promises and don’t make promises you can’t keep;
  • Offer opportunities to grow and learn (even if training comes from peers and managers, most employees enjoy being challenged);
  • Be a good corporate citizen (more than ever, employees value and want to work with companies who show they care about more than their profits); and
  • Don’t put up with bad behaviour (employees want to know you will protect them from colleagues who are rude, incompetent, and/or unethical).

Of course, there are other things you can do to keep people like offer retention bonuses and long term incentive or saving plans which vest over time, but the items above can be done by any employer including small businesses which don’t have a lot of extra cash.

Keeping people is a good way to reduce the number of people you have to hire. It also has other benefits such as knowledge retention, and quality management and reduces your costs of hiring and training over time.  If you find yourself constantly having to replace employees, consider reviewing how you are doing on these 11 suggestions.

Connect with the author Shawnee, Owner of Love HR. Hungry for more? Head over to Shawnee's blog. 

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