Can't Keep Good People? Probably Your Own Fault!

 


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Having trouble retaining good people these days? Ever wonder why it is that just as you get someone up-to-speed on a project or position, suddenly they’re winging off to brighter horizons elsewhere?

Maybe you think you’re not offering enough money, or your healthcare benefits aren’t very competitive? Perhaps available parking spaces are too far from the front door.

Sorry, Bunkie: According to surveys, it’s not likely any of those things. Instead, the problem may be a lot closer to home, that is to say, you, the departing soul’s manager. It seems that the most prevalent reasons given by professionals for leaving one job for another fall entirely within the accountability of… drum roll… the ex-boss!

Here’s what I mean, as evidenced by this list of employees’ “leading reasons” for changing a job from a survey by the Society of Human Resource Management:

  • 89% offered higher salary elsewhere

  • 85% didn't see enough career development potential

  • 79% didn’t feel appreciated

  • 74% burned out

  • 71% balancing work and life issues too difficult

  • 62% conflicts with supervisor or co-workers

    Get the picture? Notice that, as a manager, you possess control over practically EVERYTHING on the list. Only the first may be out of your control, though you have either authority or influence on that one too. You may not, however, see your own job quite that way. And therein lies your basic rub.

    Managers who do define themselves as something more than just 5-star generals may in fact view this list as an apt description of what they currently do. Nurturers, coaches, orchestrators, career counselors—bosses who incorporate all these roles into their mandate probably experience the sting of employees leaving much less often than blood-and-guts command-and-controllers.

    Studies over the years have shown repeatedly that the best-run companies, i. e. , most profitable, routinely pay attention to employee wants, needs and feelings. The annual Fortune “Best –Companies” lists are rife with firms that behave this way. Given this reality, your firm (and you) should too.

    So to increase retention and reverse employee emigration, regardless of your company’s actual policies, try one or more of the following, incorporating new actions into your managerial day:

  • Meet with each of your subordinates on a regular basis for the sole objective of career development. Ask where they see themselves in 2-5 years, what they enjoy most about their current work, and what they loathe. Search together for projects and duties that will get your staffer truly excited.

  • Tell your people, frequently, how good they’re doing. The phrase “Good job!” takes exactly one second to say though its effect extends exponentially. When workers NEVER hear this phrase, however, they cannot possibly know that it’s how you feel.

  • Implement life-balance benefits, such as flextime, wide latitude for punching in and punching out, the option of working from home, etc. Telecommuting used to be a big deal way back before the days of email but e-communication upends the traditional need to keep regular hours. Give your staff time and flexibility to do each job in individualized ways. In the process you’ll help them lessen their work/family stress, making employment with you hard to beat.

    Though only a few suggestions, you should be getting the idea. Expressions of support and caring, and the will to back it up, go a long way, especially in our work world bereft of such notions. It ain’t only about salaries, stock options and health benefits; in the end it’s about showing real, live people that you care.

    Ken Lizotte CMC is Chief Imaginative Officer (CIO) of emerson consulting group inc. (Concord, MA), which transforms consultants, law firms, executives and companies into “thoughtleaders. ” This article is an excerpt from his newest book “Beyond Reason: Questioning Assumptions of Everyday Life".

    Visit =>www.thoughtleading.com for more info.

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