There’s only one thing more disheartening than saying goodbye to a talented employee – saying goodbye and then watching that employee sign on with your toughest competitor. After all the closely timed parallel rollouts and the tug-of-war over market share, the late night brainstorming sessions and team-building exercises, it’s galling to watch one of your best players switch sides. But this business isn’t a game for your employees; it’s a livelihood. They don’t come in every day and cheer for the company the way they cheer for their favorite soccer team. They come in here to make money, build their careers, and take care of themselves and their families. So if you’d like to inspire loyalty and keep them onboard when the road gets rough, you’ll need to take action.
Don’t assume that a family atmosphere means family loyalty.
Your employees have families, real families, and they care about those people more than they care about you. So if you aren’t paying them what their skills are worth, don’t expect an atmosphere of love and friendship to keep them from looking for work elsewhere. Love or no love, Every time you say no to a raise request, you take a gamble. Think carefully and conduct some research before you do this.
But a family atmosphere definitely helps.
At the same time, a fair wage should only represent one pillar of your retention strategy. The rest of your efforts should focus on making your workplace safe, clean, and respectful. And this starts with your culture. Do you actively encourage friendly collaboration or hostile internal competition? You don’t have to go to extremes, but the first usually fosters more loyalty than the second.
Your employees will inevitably come to you with requests for accommodations that you can’t provide. But if you can’t afford to wave a wand and replace the ancient printer, reduce the workload, or fix a broken workflow system, you can still listen. Do your best to understand the problem. Listen carefully and respectfully so employees will come to you later with problems that are well within your power to solve.
Engage in last minute rescues.
There’s nothing wrong with making a bid to retain an employee who’s heading out the door. When your talented experts give notice, spring into action. Quickly assemble a counteroffer (even if you denied them a raise just last month), and make this right. If you can’t convince your employee to change her mind, ask for an exit interview so you can determine exactly what when wrong and how similar departures can be prevented in the future.
For more on how to attract and retain top performers and encourage them to reject offers from your competitors, contact the North Carolina staffing professionals at Personnel Services Unlimited.