HR Management

Give Your Employees C.R.A.P.—and 7 Other Secrets to Employee Retention

by Jeff Kortes, Author and Consultant

Wouldn’t it be nice to find that silver bullet that would put an end to your employee retention issues? I hear that wish all the time from audiences when I speak on employee retention.

talent retention

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Unfortunately, that does not exist—at least I have yet to find it. What I have found is that the key to having good employee retention comes from working some fundamental strategies over and over and over again.

Using 8 fundamental best practices, employee retention is possible even in an age where employees tend to change jobs frequently. Here are the best practices you must systematically put into place if your goal is to have employee retention that is the envy of others in your industry.

  1. Hire for fit, not just skills. Hiring is like buying a pair of shoes. You need the right person for the organization like you need the right size shoe for everyone’s unique foot size. A person’s ability to fit into the culture of the organization is even more important than the skills they have.
    You can teach many of the skills people need to perform a job, but if someone’s personality does not fit the culture they will not be an effective member of the team. This creates conflict, destroys camaraderie and hurts teamwork. When hiring, look to see if candidates fit the culture. If not, look to hire someone else.
  2. Give your employees C.R.A.P. Caring, respect, appreciation and praise are things that people want from an organization. I have seen cases where people quit because their boss has not talked to them enough and the person felt that their boss simply did not care about them.
    When your employees need their managers and supervisors, are they there for them? Do your managers and supervisor respect employees’ abilities and not micromanage them? Do they show employees appreciation when they do a good job and praise them when they exceed expectations? There is more to C.R.A.P. but these are some of the key elements. The more C.R.A.P. your organization gives to your employees, the better off they are!
  3. Be smart about compensation. Pay must be competitive with other organizations or you will lose people. Although pay is not the most important element to most people, they do expect to be paid fairly. That means that top performers get paid more. That is only fair. Nothing drives your top performers out of an organization faster than if they find out they are being paid the same as someone that is a poor performer.
  4. Deal with your slugs. Too many organizations force their good people to “carry” the slugs and to pick up the slack. This infuriates the good people. There is nothing more frustrating than carrying the load of someone that is not performing. When people get angry, they start to look for another job. It also sends the message that leadership is clueless about what is going on in the organization or simply does not care to know. This destroys confidence in leadership, which is crucial to helping retain people.
  5. Keep people informed about what is going on in the organization. Employees want to know how things are going. If they don’t know, they will speculate and become afraid. When people are afraid, they often start looking for another job because they perceive they will have more job security in another organization.
  6. Help employees grow. Growth is one of the most important aspects of a job to people, particularly young people. This may be more pronounced with the Millennials than other generations but I can relate to being young and wanting to advance in my career. People are looking to progress and grow in their career and if you’re able to help them do that, they will stick around. Once they stop growing, they get bored and leave.
  7. Be visible. Leadership needs to get out of its office and be visible to employees. If employees never see their leaders, they are less likely to trust them, and trust is key to employee retention. The most effective manager I ever worked with got out of his office several times a day and was visible. It gave him an opportunity to learn his people’s concerns. When a leader knows what employees’ concerns are, they can address them so employees don’t start to think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
  8. Hire top-quality supervisors and middle level leaders. These leaders are the team your employees interact with every day. If they don’t have a people-oriented approach, then perhaps they should not be in a leadership role. After all, leadership is about people. If you have a team of supervisors and middle-level leaders who believe in people, they will be giving their people C.R.A.P., communicating with them, helping them grow and be visible every day. These leaders are essential if you want to drive employee retention.

If great employee retention is your goal, this is the ammunition you need. Each of the fundamentals requires discipline and systematic implementation. The hard part is to put it all together in a cohesive strategy and then have the discipline to execute that strategy. If you do, you will see your employee retention skyrocket in your organization.

Jeff Kortes is an employee retention speaker, author, and expert by accident. His early career spanned 25 years as a human resources professional, trainer, and consultant.

His no-nonsense approach is reflected in his C.R.A.P. Leadership System, which instills positive supervisory and managerial behavior while driving results in the organization. He shares expert advice on Twitter @JeffKortes and on his website www.jeffkortes.com.