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Common Sense Tips for Retaining Good Employees

By: Ann Kelleher, President and Founder

Integrity Staffing & Solutions

Are you concerned about retaining your employees now that the job market is improving?  If so, you are not alone.  Many business leaders have placed this concern front and center.  They may be thinking about traditional retention strategies such as increasing salary and earnings potential or enriching benefits.  Cautious leaders, especially those in small businesses, pause because they are not sure if the improved economy will sustain itself.  They worry about taking financial risks.

In the meantime, there are some common sense, low-cost measures companies can take that can mean a great deal more to their employees.  Much is written about the unique wants and needs of the different generations that coexist in the workplace.  For now, though, let’s set differences aside and focus on shared similarities.  Whether people are 18 years of age or 70 years of age, they are driven by some common denominators.  These common denominators include: (1) the need to feel significant, (2) the need for a sense of self-worth, and (3) the need to feel they are accomplishing something that matters beyond themselves.

With this in mind, the following six actions will go a long way toward retaining good employees of any generation:

1. Give employees the “big picture” about your company’s goals and your vision for achieving them.  Ask employees for their input and encourage their creativity.  Validate them by listening to their ideas and involving them in decision making.  Incorporate your employees’ good ideas whenever possible and give them the credit.

2. Encourage employees to grow through training programs, by sending them to conferences/seminars and by giving them opportunities to perform a variety of job functions within your company.  The desire for growth and a sense of accomplishment is inherent in most people across generations.

3. Keep employees in the loop about your company’s progress.  Let them know about positive things that are happening and don’t conceal all of your disappointments.  Employees will start to feel insecure if they are constantly guessing about the status of your company.

4. Be mindful of the other important roles in your employees’ lives by being understanding and flexible.  Be flexible with schedules and work arrangements when flexibility is possible.  Perhaps there is a child’s program at school to attend, or there is a need to accompany a spouse to an important doctor appointment.  It may be that a new parent or someone nearing retirement would like to cut back on hours or perform some work from home.  Find ways to accommodate good employees and you will both reap the benefits.

5. Provide employees with time to engage in meaningful volunteer work.  Give employees several hours a month of paid time off to volunteer as a mentor or to spend time doing charitable work for an organization they believe in.  Perhaps your company is supportive of a particular nonprofit where they can volunteer.

6. Recognize good performance by personally saying “thank you” and by rewarding employees for their accomplishments.  Tell the employee in person or send a note of appreciation. Consider giving the employee some extra time off or tickets to a ball game or the movies. Treat the entire team from time to time with lunch or something else you can all enjoy together.

Simply put, applying the Golden Rule may be the most effective way to retain good employees:  “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you… “ –Matthew 7:12.  This, along with fair and equitable treatment, will go a long way toward retaining employees of any generation.