If you’re like most good leaders, you work hard to put together the best possible team. Finding not just the right skills but the right person—someone who’s productive, knowledgeable, and a good fit with your other team members and organizational culture—is a gratifying experience.
But whether your dream team is fully in place or still a work in progress, it’s important to remember that retaining great staffers is at least as important as recruiting them. Not only is turnover hard on employee morale and short-term capacity, but searches, hires, and onboarding are time-consuming and expensive processes. And there’s always an element of risk when you bring in someone new.
So how do you keep your best people? There are lots of steps you can take, but they all come down to the same idea, which is true of every position, industry, and organization: Show people that you value them and their contributions. Here are eight ideas about what that may look like:
Check the bottom line.
It goes without saying that money is a major factor in employee satisfaction. How do your salaries and benefits stack up to your competitors’? Maybe you think you can’t afford to pay your people more—ask yourself what it’s costing you to pay them less.
Make sure you’re providing room to grow.
Closely related to the salary schedule is your system for periodic increases (both cost-of-living and merit) and promotions. No one wants to stay in a position where they feel financially or professionally stagnant.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Younger employees, in particular, are less tied than earlier generations to traditional ways of work. If the nature of what you do allows for it, they’ll appreciate flexibility in things like scheduling, telecommuting, and office attire. Always keep an eye out for other innovative ideas.
Keep your ship in order.
Often what motivates employees to look elsewhere is frustration with day-to-day issues of communication, conflicting priorities, and undefined processes. If your organization isn’t running smoothly, you need to figure out why and take immediate steps to fix any issues, for everyone’s sake.
Take a look around.
What’s the workplace like? Are your décor, furnishings, and equipment all up to date? Are there flexible spaces where people can talk and work both privately and collaboratively, sitting or standing? Do employees have convenient access to parking and public transportation, lunch facilities, and other needs? Workplace environment plays a big role in employee quality of life.
Build a culture of collaboration.
Do your structure and way of working reflect newer models of collaborative leadership, or are they stuck in an old-fashioned top-down hierarchy? Develop your organization in directions that will appeal to high-performing employees.
Be on their side.
Part of your role as a leader is to serve as an advocate for your employees. That means listening and taking action. Can you bring a pressing need to senior management? Help resolve an issue with a difficult client? Respond to faltering performance with better support or more training rather than punishment?
Evaluate your own performance as leader.
With a mentor, a colleague, or a core group of trusted employees, spend some time reflecting on what you’re doing well and how you can better serve your team.
Of course you’re bound to lose a few people to different career paths, personal considerations, or just a straightforward desire for change. But the more you can hold on to good employees—from executives to service staff—the stronger your team will be. Make it a priority and it will pay off well.