It’s hard enough to find good help, but it’s even harder to watch a great employee walk out the door, especially when you’ve invested time and money developing him into a key staff member. Jumping from job to job is fairly common these days. From the employee’s perspective, it’s easy to see the upside: greater pay, a better title, another step up on the corporate ladder. From the employer’s perspective, it’s a frustrating phenomenon that causes all kinds of headaches. If you’re lucky enough to find a worker who’s one of those rare gems you just can’t live without, then consider the following advice for retaining your top-notch talent.
This doesn’t just mean saying “good job” or occasionally chatting in the break room. If you have great employees with terrific potential, take time to have constructive conversations. Tell them how valued they are, outline the career path you see, and point out opportunities for advancement. Allow them to speak candidly about any concerns or potential obstacles. Find out what it will take to make them want to stay. Map out a plan with specific goals, and be sure to highlight the benefits and rewards.
Stay one step ahead
If your superstars aren’t knocking on your door asking for a raise, don’t assume they don’t want one. One of the most effective ways to show your appreciation is through compensation, and most people I know will tell you it’s the biggest factor in deciding between job offers. Not everyone is comfortable asking for a raise, but that won’t stop them from searching for another job with higher pay, and by then it may be too late for you to win them back. So if there’s money in the budget, or some other kind of opportunity that would advance their position, be proactive in rewarding great work. If you’re not currently able to give them a raise, at least let them know you think they’re worth more, and you’re working to get them to the next level.
Get them invested
It’s not just about you investing in them, you must also get them to invest in you. If employees feel they are truly a part of “the team” then they are more likely to feel camaraderie and be committed for the long term. Give them the opportunity to build relationships by involving them in projects or assigning them a mentor. Allow them to travel to training seminars, or represent the company at trade shows and conventions. The more expertise they gain about their job, the more valued and confident they will feel in regard to their role in the company. Although it’s not always an option, offering some type of profit sharing program is an ideal way to encourage loyalty because it gives the employees a literal stake in the company’s success.
Job hopping is a tough thing to manage for companies that spend a lot of time and money grooming new hires, only to be left high and dry when another company lures them away. So take care of your employees. Don’t hesitate to praise, encourage, ask questions, and truly listen. If you pay close attention to your employees’ happiness, you can make your place of business the kind of company no one wants to leave.