Employee Retention

One of the hurdles of a manager is finding the right employee for a position and keeping them. Lately, the economy has prevented a lot of employees from being able to leave one position to go where the “grass is greener”, but now that it appears to be settling down, employees are starting to have more options. Now, more than ever, a manager has to work harder to keep those prize employees.

The easy solution would be to shackle the employee to their desk so they couldn’t escape, but I’m thinking that there is some sort of law against that. So unless you enjoy the bright orange coverall look and don’t mind bars on your bedroom windows, that may not be such a good idea. Instead, let’s make a plan to keep these folks so happy that they have to take a day off to be in a bad mood.

A lot of people in management seem to think that there should be a distinct division between them and their employees. That’s bunk. How can you be an effective manager if you don’t truly know the people that work for you? I’m not saying that you should friend them on Twitter or Facebook, or that you should invite them over for dinner. What I am saying is that you should take a few minutes to learn a little something about that person. What do they like to do when they’re not slaving away for the company? Is one of them a musician? Go see them play one night. Do you have an artist? Go to their gallery opening, or better yet, get one of their pieces for your office. Regardless, show interest in what they do & who they are. When they see you showing an interest in them, they’ll return the favor by being more productive for you.

I know times are tough, but when you’re working on the annual budget work in a few extra dollars so you can do a few little things for your team like take them to lunch once a month. Don’t have it catered from a local deli or anything, get out of the office, go to a sports bar, have some wings and see who can win a few games of Buzztime© trivia. You’ll be surprised how much fun it is and how productive everyone is when they’re back in the office. Even if you can’t get lunch into the budget, bring in donuts every so often. Don’t forget the chocolate covered ones, they’ll go especially fast.

Does your company have a recognition program like “Employee of the Year“? If not, start one. If there is one, start one for just your team. Maybe something on a monthly basis so they don’t have to wait an entire year to find out who wins and even customize it for your type of team. Is your team technical? Call it the “Geek of the Month” and give them a $25 or $50 gift certificate to somewhere like Think Geek. Just make sure they don’t shoot their eye out with the rocket launcher.

We all know that throwing cash at someone will help keep them from jumping ship on you, but we all know that if we have a great environment to work in, we’ll work there longer…even for less money.

The main thing to remember is the Golden Rule that you learned as a kid. If you were working for you, how would you want you to treat yourself? What type of environment would you want that would keep you from changing jobs?

Now a question for you. What do you do to keep your prize employees wanting to come work for you every day?