Employee Retention: Five Leadership Fundamentals

Marcia Zidle

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Are your management practices on the right track? Retaining your valued or high performing employees must be a strategic issue for your company. Throwing more money at your workers is not the answer and can become very costly. The more effective way to retain top talent is to address their important needs.

Universal Truths:

  • Most people are content being paid at or around the market rate for good quality work. SOME folks are extremely money conscious, but eventually they learn that the paycheck comes every two weeks all on its own, and other motivators come into play very quickly. There are very few folks who can be bought for money alone.
  • Most people want two opposing things out of their jobs. They want to feel they are part of a group that’s able to accomplish greater things than they could on their own, AND they want to know that they stand out as individuals. The job as a manager is to give them BOTH experiences: to bring about a ‘team spirit’ and to let his staff or team know what a great job each one is doing.
  • Finally, most employees have a few ongoing needs that motivate them to do their best work and to stay. They include a clear direction of their job or project; specific assignments that help them grow; access to necessary organizational resources, and feedback on their performance on a regular basis. Otherwise, they pretty much want to be left alone to get their job or assignment done.

Five Leadership Fundamentals:
He then realized that his job as manager became very simple. To motivate high performance and, at the same time, ensure employee satisfaction within his group, he just needed to:

  1. Provide employees with a clear sense of where we’re going and why.
  2. Make sure they have the necessary resources to get their job done.
  3. Be attuned to their professional needs and try to provide them with assignments that meet these needs (not always easy but still attainable).
  4. Regularly meet with them both formally and informally to give and get feedback on what’s going on.
  5. Get out of their way and, at the same time, be available when needed.

He ended with this comment: “I don’t have long-term results to share, but in the short-run, I have a staff that reports being happy in their jobs and challenged by the work. And our group has a better reputation for service than the rest of the large department we are part of. So I know I’m on the right track. ”

This manager’s comments reinforce my observations that the primary reason that people commit to a job, an organization, or an effort is not financial! It is the basic feeling of success. The employee who achieves, who accomplishes his or her goals and objectives, who maintains a feeling of personal worth and value, will more likely remain with the organization.

Marcia Zidle, the ‘people smarts’ coach, works with business leaders to quickly solve their people management headaches so they can concentrate on their #1 job ­ to grow and increase profits. She offers free help through Leadership Briefing, a weekly e-newsletter with practical tips on leadership style, employee motivation, recruitment and retention and relationship management. Subscribe by going to http://leadershiphooks.com/ and get the bonus report “61 Leadership Time Savers and Life Savers”. Marcia is the author of the What Really Works Handbooks ­ resources for managers on the front line and the Power-by-the-Hour programs ­ fast, convenient, real life, affordable courses for leadership and staff development. She is available for media interviews, conference presentations and panel discussions on the hottest issues affecting the workplace today. Contact Marcia at 800-971-7619.


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