Employee Loyalty – Reducing Turnover
Loyal employees are the foundation to creating loyal customers. They are invaluable to achieving you goals and assuring your bottom line. Even when finding jobs is not so easy, attracting and retaining your best employees should be one of the most important goals of your business. The rest will come if the foundation is solid.
How do you do this?
Make It More Difficult To Get A Job At Your Company
Getting a job at Google is tough. Rounds and rounds of interviews. This seems counter-intuitive on its surface, but so do many things that actually work. Your hiring process should include several steps, with time in between each step. Quick hiring reflects too little attention to quality, and leads to high turnover almost every time. You should insist on 2-3 interviews with each candidate, with increasingly pertinent questions each time. You need to ask open-ended questions that allow the candidate to give detailed and expansive answers. Questions that allow a “Yes or no” answers should be minimized or eliminated. Have more than one manager or leader involved with each interview – get different views from the people who must work with the new hire. Crucially, focus more on whether or not they fit into your business culture than their skill set and resume. Technical skills are still important, but you can have someone with the best qualifications in the world, and if their attitude is bad or they don’t get along with others – they are a drag on your business and a liability, not an asset. They will cause you grief, particularly when you have to fire them. And you will, and it will cost you a lot of money.
Invest In Your Team
If your attitude is “here’s the job description, now go do it”, you probably don’t have the team you want and need. There are two things that you should do with every employee on a regular basis, and the first is training. If the position is so basic that you believe new training is all but pointless (there is no such thing), then cross-train them on other positions and responsibilities. A waiter who is training to be a manager is more likely to stay engaged than one who imagines that their position is fixed forever, with no possibility for anything different in the future. Always find some way to help them build their skill set, to allow them to learn new things and expand their knowledge and experiences, and do it on a regular basis.
Assess Regularly In A “Building-Up” Manner
The assessment portion is where most managers fail. Observing and recording performance is only the first step, and most managers end there by simply presenting this to the employee with a grade of some kind. To encourage loyalty, you have to lose the manager mindset and become a coach. Read a book on coaching – actually, read all that you can on the subject. A weekly or monthly performance review should involve asking more questions than presenting your opinions. Learn to approach a situation with “I noticed that you are struggling with…, how do you think you could improve in that area?”. Let your employees use their brains, and beware – they will not be used to this at first, and it will take some time to get them used to it.
Always be constructive, and as much as possible let them make their own decisions, even if that decision is that they need to leave the company. When you are transparent and up-front about your expectations and about your employees’ performance, you will probably never have to fire anyone. They make their own decision to improve or move on. Either way, everyone comes out ahead.
Treat Employees Like Adults
Employees need the room to make mistakes. Give them the resources to learn from their mistakes. Ask employees their opinions on decisions in the company. Don’t scold or demean – talk to them and let them understand that you care that they improve and succeed. Give them the freedom, within parameters, to make decisions and choices about how certain things in their area can and should be handled.
The more you allow employees to feel empowered, the more they will improve and the happier everyone will be. This doesn’t mean that “anything goes”, but if the reigns are too tight and your employees have no responsibility – only accountability – they will always feel like they are under your thumb, and that is never a pleasant place to be.
Set Goals With Them, Not Just For Them
This is a later step in the assessment process, but it deserves special attention. Everyone has an internal desire to be something more, to do something better, even if they aren’t aware of it all of the time. If there are paths for promotion in your organization, let them know what they are and what they require. If they are interested, work with them to set up a plan to make it happen, over a planned period of time. Succession planning is a very overlooked part of most businesses, but it is extremely important. Why would an ambitious employee stay where there is no future to grow?
And if you have managers reporting to you, make sure that they learn and implement these lessons too.
Share your dreams for expansion, and get input from your team. Even if you don’t have many promotion paths right now, your vision of the future might, and that is something you can share as a team. Always set and share some kind of goals with your team. Ask them what they want in the future, and help them get it. The rewards here can go well beyond the walls of your organization and return in ways that may surprise you.
Adapted from an article at www.blog.swipely.com
About the Author: Dejan Ristic
In 2004, I founded Exceleris. In addition to managing all recruitment aspects of Exceleris, I have consulted (as CFO or in similar roles) with a number of technology companies (both publicly traded and venture funded start-ups)....