Holding On to Good Help: A back-to-basics approach can ensure your employees are satisfied with their careers)

Holding On to Good Help A back-to-basics approach can ensure your employees are satisfied with their careers By Deborah Siday August 2000 Deborah Siday is a Senior Human Resources Consultant with over 18 years experience in human...


New set of tools

Providing opportunities for career advancement is a hallmark of great companies and an excellent retention strategy. However, what we often fail to do is to train these new managers on the skills that they need to effectively manage people. Directing the work of others, coaching, motivating, and developing people demands a new skill set that requires training. There are many workshops put on by management training organizations or local colleges. If you have a larger management staff, you may want to consider having a consultant develop a training program that is customized to meet your business needs. Regardless of the method, a formalized training program for new managers is an important aspect of employee retention.

Back to basics

Many companies spend all their time chasing the "latest and greatest" new idea to attract and retain employees and lose sight of the fact that good, basic management is the first step to creating a work environment that attracts and retains the best people. A strong "back-to-basics" retention approach should include the basic management truths that we all know but sometimes forget to practice.

• Treat each employee with integrity and respect

• Recognize and reward success

• Provide information and share knowledge

• Offer opportunities

• Create clear expectations and hold people accountable

• Do not tolerate sub-standard performance

• Provide the resources employees need to do their job well

• Allow people the freedom to learn from their mistakes

• Create a high-energy, caring environment

• Allow people to have some say over how they do their job

• If a business challenge surfaces, give your employees the opportunity to be part of the solution

• Make a personal connection with your employees

Room for growth

Retaining good employees requires creating challenge and growth opportunities. Forward-thinking organizations create these opportunities. Remember that moving forward does not always mean moving up. Adding additional responsibilities and challenges can enrich an employee's job. This could include assignment of more demanding work, the addition of team leader responsibilities, or designation as a Team Trainer. An employee may be given the opportunity to apply his or her current experience to a new job and a new challenge by providing lateral moves. Some companies allow an employee to try out a short-term job assignment. If he or she does not like the new job, he or she can move back to the old job without a negative impact.

Look inside

As the saying goes, "Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees." We jump through hoops trying to find qualified individuals outside the organization when those very individuals may already be in our organization. Talk to your employees and find out what their career goals are. It may be that you have a service employee who wants to be an aviation technician. Providing specialized training for this individual allows you to fill a future opening and provides you with a loyal, long-term employee. Skills training for existing employees is a part of an effective staffing strategy.

Offering low-cost or no-cost extras can have a high return with your employees. Employees have a positive perception of employers who offer amenities that say, "We care." Offering benefits that help employees balance work and home responsibilities are valued highly. Some examples are: credit union memberships; discounts on products from local merchants; membership in online service sites such as Perks at Work (perksatwork.com), which offers online shopping, information, and discounts to employees; direct deposit; and flexible spending accounts for dependent care and medical expenses.

Recognize and reward

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