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Posts Tagged ‘employee retention’

Four Employee Retention Strategies – What Really Matters to Employees

“I don’t like my boss and my career is going nowhere in this organization, but we get free lunch and the office has a game room, so I think I’ll stay,” said no employee ever.

Employees enjoy free lunch and ping pong, but these perks don’t improve retention or performance. The only perks known to improve employee loyalty and commitment is time off, a flexible schedule, and the ability to work from home.  Everything else is nice to have, but does not impact career decisions.

We’ve all heard about the great workplace exodus. Employees are leaving jobs in droves for a different life. To retain employees, a job has to work for employees’ desired lifestyle – the number of hours employees want to work, the amount of commuting and travel they want to do, and the social aspects that get met at work. Once those basic needs are met, leaders and managers can focus on other things.

Organizational leaders and managers have been led down a path of expensive distractions disguised as employee retention strategies. Eliminate the noise and focus on the four things that really matter to employees. And provided you meet your employees’ lifestyle needs, your best people will stay.

After lifestyle needs, this is what’s important to your employees:

  • I trust the leaders who run this organization.
  • My opinion means something.  I am listened to.
  • I feel respected (by my manager) and have good relationships in the organization.
  • My work is challenging and interesting.

So what should you do if you want to be a best place to work? 

Here are Four Employee Retention Strategies Managers Can Take:

1.   Meet one-on-one with employees and have meaningful discussions about performance and career goals.

2.  Ask employees for their opinion and demonstrate that you’ve heard them.

3.  Provide opportunities for employees to do work they enjoy.

4.  Ensure employees who want to advance in your organization are learning and growing.

Read about our Be a Great Place to Work leadership training program that eliminates the noise and teaches the things leaders and managers really need to do to retain the best employees.

 


How to Stop the Great Workplace Exodus – Ask for What You Want at Work

We’ve all heard about the great workplace exodus. Over the last two years, millions of people have quit their jobs in favor of doing something different. You too may have realized that you want something different from life and work.

Despite wanting something different, you may find it difficult to make those requests at work. You may be worried that if you ask for what you want, you’ll be fired before you’re ready to leave, or you’ll be seen as disloyal and unreliable, and thus not promotable. Many people suffer in silence fearing that speaking up will get them ‘in trouble.’

Regardless of your concerns, you aren’t likely to get what you don’t ask for. So how do you ask?

Here are five steps to ask for what you want at work:

  1. Become very clear about what you need and want. Don’t have a conversation with your manager that sounds like a conversation with a friend. “I don’t know what I want. I just know it isn’t this.”

 

  1. Lead with your intentions. Difficult conversations are easier when we start the conversation with our intention. “I really love this company and I want to stay here.”

 

  1. Then make a clear ask. “I’ve realized over the past two years that I really want to be doing ____________. I’m wondering if there is an opportunity to do that kind of work here?” Or, “I’ve realized that I really want to live in __________” Or, I’ve realized that I really want to work a flexible schedule.”

 

  1. Create a plan. “Can we make a plan to move me to ___________ department or role in next 12 months?” Or, “Can we make a plan to make that happen in the next 12 months?”

 

  1. Don’t give ultimatums. No one likes to be forced. Negotiate a realistic time period to make your desired changes. Saying “I need this, or I have to leave now” isn’t likely to produce the result you’re looking for. “What’s a realistic time period to make this transition?” is better.

You can make requests as I’ve suggested and still not get what you want. Then you have decisions to make. But you are unlikely to get what you don’t ask for. Asking for what you want, in a professional way, is better than leaving, never knowing if your needs could have been negotiated.


Five Keys to Employee Engagement and Employee Retention

Employees leave managers not jobs. We’ve all heard this 100 times.

One of the most prevalent reasons for employee turnover is boredom and lack of growth. We’ve also heard this many times.

We know why employees leave jobs. The question is what must managers do to engage and retain their best people. The answer is actually quite simple, although not necessarily easy to execute.

Employees want to know that their manager:

  • Knows them
  • Cares about and is invested in their careers
  • Gives feedback so they can improve
  • Provides opportunities so they can develop

In other words, employees need attention, and attention requires time – time many managers may not feel they have.

Here is a five-step formula for employee retention and employee engagement:

  1. Get to know employees better and differently.
  2. Have meaningful, one-on-one meetings [at least] monthly.
  3. Give balanced feedback as work is done.
  4. Ask for and be open to feedback.
  5. Create opportunities for employees to do the work that interests them most.

Managers, how do you make time for these meetings when you are busy and have several direct reports?

  1. Meet for 15-30 minutes.
  2. Ask direct reports to create an agenda and run the meetings.
  3. Ask direct reports to send follow-up notes of decisions and plans made during meetings. Give some of the accountability away.
  4. If meetings get cancelled, reschedule as soon as possible. Direct reports take cancelled meetings personally. Cancelled meetings that are not rescheduled send the message that managers don’t care about employees and their careers.

Employees, if your manager doesn’t schedule meetings with you:

  1. Ask permission to put a monthly meeting on your manager’s calendar.
  2. Provide rationale for why you want to meet – to get your manager’s feedback and ensure you’re focused on the right work.
  3. Ask permission to reschedule meetings when they get cancelled.
  4. Don’t take cancelled meetings personally.
  5. Offer to meet with your manager via the phone when it’s convenient for him/her. Leverage commute and travel time.

Employees need time with their managers. Meaningful discussions and work result in employee engagement and employee retention. So managers, make the time, even when you don’t feel you have it. Ask questions you don’t ask now. Give feedback, even if it’s uncomfortable. Give your employees an opportunity to do the work that interests them most. And watch your employee engagement and employee retention improve. And if your manager doesn’t do these things, politely and persistently ask. You won’t get what you don’t ask for. We are all 100% accountable for our careers.

giving feedback


Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Work Without Spending Money

Many organizations spend more money than they have to on employee recognition gifts and appreciation programs that often involve bonuses, paid time off, contests, gifts, and other expensive forms of compensation. What employees want most is to know they’re doing a good job.

Giving feedback in the workplace is the cheapest, most effective, and often overlooked form of employee recognition. Employees want to know how they’re performing, and most employees get little to no positive or negative feedback at work. They may not want to hear negative feedback, but employees want to know if they aren’t meeting expectations.

In several of Candid Culture’s training programs, I give participants a box of questions to help coworkers set expectations and improve workplace communication.  Some of the questions include:

  • Do you prefer to receive information via email, voicemail, or text message?
  • Are you a big picture or a detail-oriented person?
  • What are your pet peeves at work?
  • What type of work do you like to do the most? What type of work do you like to do the least?
  • What do you wish I would start, stop, and continue doing?

Participants use the questions during the training, and I am consistently amazed at how often training participants ask what their coworkers wish they would start, stop and continue doing. I assume employees will be hesitant to ask for feedback in front of a group of peers. But training participants consistently tell me that they get almost no feedback at work, and they’re desperate for the information.

Here’s How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Work Without Spending Money:

  1. Give clear, specific, and timely positive and negative feedback. Employees want to know how they’re performing.
  2. Ask what type of work employees really want to do, and let them do that work most of the time.
  3. Ask what skills employees want to learn, and give them a chance to attain those skills.
  4. Write handwritten notes of appreciation.

Employees at Candid Culture get their birthdays off paid. We often buy employees lunch, give bonuses, and have a generous time-off policy. Those perks are important and do help retain employees. But monetary rewards never replace or supersede the value of being aware of employees’ performance and caring enough to tell employees the truth.


Be a Best Company – Four Employee Retention Strategies

“My boss is a jerk and my career is going nowhere in this organization, but there’s yoga and a pool table, so I think I’ll stay,” said no employee ever.

Employees enjoy concierge service, free lunch, ping pong, and social events at work, but these perks don’t improve retention or performance. The only perks known to improve employee loyalty and commitment is time off and a flexible schedule.  Everything else is nice to have, but does not impact career decisions.

Organizational leaders and managers have been led down a path of expensive distractions disguised as employee retention strategies. Eliminate the noise and focus on the four things that really matter to employees, and your best people will stay.

This is what’s important to your employees:

  • I trust the leaders who run this organization.
  • My opinion means something.  I am listened to.
  • I feel respected (by my manager) and have good relationships in the organization.
  • My work is challenging and interesting.

So what should you do if you want to be a best place to work? 

Here are Four Employee Retention Strategies Managers Can Take:

1.   Meet one-on-one with employees and have meaningful discussions about his/her performance and career goals.

2.  Ask employees for their opinion and demonstrate that you’ve heard them.

3.  Provide opportunities for employees to do work they enjoy.

4.  Ensure employees who want to advance in your organization are learning and growing.

Read about our Be a Great Place to Work leadership training program that eliminates the noise and teaches the things leaders and managers really need to do to retain the best employees.


Five Keys to Employee Engagement and Employee Retention

Employees leave managers not jobs. We’ve all heard this 100 times.

One of the most prevalent reasons for employee turnover is boredom and lack of growth. We’ve also heard this many times.

We know why employees leave jobs. The question is what must managers do to engage and retain their best people. The answer is actually quite simple, although possibly not easy to execute.

Employees want to know that their manager:

  • Knows them
  • Cares about and is invested in their careers
  • Gives feedback so they can improve
  • Provides opportunities so they can develop

In other words, employees need attention, and attention requires time – time many managers may not feel they have.

Here is a five-step formula for employee retention and employee engagement:

  1. Get to know employees better and differently.
  2. Have meaningful, one-on-one meetings [at least] monthly.
  3. Give feedback every time you meet.
  4. Ask for and be open to feedback.
  5. Create opportunities for employees to do the work that interests them most.

Managers, how do you make time for these meetings when you are busy and have several direct reports?

  1. Meet for 15-30 minutes.
  2. Meet over the phone while commuting or waiting for flights.
  3. Ask direct reports to create an agenda and run the meetings.
  4. Ask direct reports to send follow-up notes of decisions and plans made during meetings. Give some of the accountability away.
  5. If meetings get cancelled, reschedule as soon as possible. Direct reports take cancelled meetings personally. Cancelled meetings that are not rescheduled send the message that managers don’t care about employees and their careers.

Employees, if your manager doesn’t schedule meetings with you:

  1. Ask permission to put a monthly meeting on your manager’s calendar.
  2. Provide rationale for why you want to meet – to get your manager’s feedback and ensure you’re focused on the right work.
  3. Ask permission to reschedule meetings when they get cancelled.
  4. Don’t take cancelled meetings personally.
  5. Offer to meet with your manager via the phone when it’s convenient for him/her. Leverage commute and travel time.

Employees need time with their managers. Meaningful discussions and work result in employee engagement and employee retention. So managers, make the time, even when you don’t feel you have it. Ask questions you don’t ask now. Give feedback, even if it’s uncomfortable. Give your employees an opportunity to do the work that interests them most. And watch your employee engagement and employee retention improve. And if your manager doesn’t do these things, politely and persistently ask. You won’t get what you don’t ask for. We are all 100% accountable for our careers.


How to Retain Good Employees, and Yourself

The fear of saying what we think and asking for what we want at work is prevalent across organizations. We want more money, but don’t know how to ask for it. We want to advance our careers but are concerned about the impression we’ll make if we ask for more. Instead of making requests, many employees assume they won’t get their needs met and choose to leave their jobs, either physically or emotionally.

How to Retain Good Employees:

The key to keeping the best employees engaged and doing their best work is to ask more questions and make it safe to tell the truth.

Managers:

  • Do you know why your employees chose your organization and what would make them leave?
  • Do you know your employees’ best and worst boss?

The answers to these questions tells managers what employees need from the organization, job, and from the manager/employee working relationship.

Can your manager answer these questions – that I call Candor Questions – about you? For most people, the answer is no. Most managers don’t ask these questions. And most employees are not comfortable giving this information, especially if the manager hasn’t asked for it.

It’s easy to mistake my book, How to Say Anything to Anyone, as a book about giving feedback. It’s not. It takes me nine chapters to get to feedback. The first eight chapters of the book are about how to create relationships in which you can tell the truth without fear. You can read all the feedback books you want and take numerous training classes on coaching, managing people, giving feedback, and managing conflict, and you’ll still be hesitant to speak up, because a formula for giving feedback is not what you’re missing. What’s missing is being given permission and knowing it’s safe to tell the truth.

How to Retain Good Employees

Managers, here’s how to retain good employees:

“I appreciate you choosing to work here. I want this to be the best career move you’ve made, and I want to be the best boss you’ve had. I don’t want to have to guess what’s important to you. I’d like to ask you some questions to get to know you and your career goals better. Please tell me anything you’re comfortable saying. And if you’re not comfortable answering a question, just know that I’m interested and I care. And if, at any point, you’re comfortable telling me, I’d like to know.”

How to Retain Good EmployeesThen ask the Candor Questions during job interviews, one-on-one, and team meetings. We’re always learning how to work with people. So continue asking questions throughout your relationships. These conversations are not one-time events.

If you work for someone who isn’t asking you these questions, offer the information. You could say:

“I wanted to tell you why I chose this organization and job, and what keeps me here. I also want to tell you the things I really need to be happy and do my best work. Is it ok if I share?”

Your manager will be caught off guard, but it is likely that she will also be grateful. It’s much easier to manage people when you know what they need and why. Most managers want this information, it just may not occur to them to ask.

If the language above makes you uncomfortable, you can always blame me. You could say:

“I read this blog and the author suggested I tell you what brought me to this organization and what I really need to be happy here and do my best work. She said I’d be easier to manage if you had that information. Is it ok if I share?”

Yes, this might feel a little awkward at first, but the conversation will flow, and both you and your manager will learn a great deal about each other.

The ability to tell the truth starts with asking questions, giving people permission to speak candidly, and listening to the answers.How to Say Anything to Anyone


Let Unhappy Employees and Vendors Go – Don’t Chase

letting an employee goSeveral years ago I hired a vendor that wasn’t a good fit. Try as we might to work together, we didn’t communicate well. Everything was a struggle. After a frustrating few weeks, the owner of the business offered to refund my money and amicably part ways. His company had already done work on our behalf and I didn’t want to lose momentum. I turned him down. That was a mistake. When a small business owner, who needs your business (money), tells you to go elsewhere, listen. We parted ways a few months later in a much more costly and less amicable way.

You don’t want to work with people who don’t want to work with you. The same is true for friends and romantic relationships. Don’t chase people. If they don’t want you, move on. There are lots of other people who will see your value.

There are differing schools of thought on whether or not you should try to retain unhappy employees who quit. I’d be interested in seeing statistics on how long employees who quit but are then retained, stay with an organization and how well they perform. I’d let them go. Again, you don’t want people who don’t want you.

The challenge is that most people are afraid to speak up in organizations and relationships (of all kinds) when they’re unhappy. Unhappy employees typically quit versus make requests and give feedback.

The antidote is to create a culture in which employees, vendors, and customers openly make requests and talk about what is and isn’t working. Create a climate of candor in which feedback is exchanged regularly versus just during exit interviews, which is too late.

How to know when to cut bait with unhappy employees and vendors:

  1. You’ve had several open discussions and can’t meet each others’ needs. If you don’t have a job the employee wants, that’s a good reason to part ways.
  1. It’s not a good culture fit. You talk and talk but don’t communicate. Issues don’t get resolved. Frustration is the norm. This is also a good reason to end a working (or personal) relationship.

Five steps to create a more candid culture:

  1. Discuss employees’, customers’, and vendors’ needs and requests at the beginning of working relationships. Agree upon what success and a good job looks like. Ask lots and lots of questions, and listen closely to the answers.
  1. Ask for feedback regularly. Conduct a weekly plus/delta (a discussion of what is and isn’t working) during which all parties are invited and expected to speak freely. The more you have these discussions, the easier they will be and the more candid people will become.
  1. Address challenges as they come up.
  1. Discuss challenges that can’t be fixed.
  1. If a relationship isn’t working, end it sooner rather than later. Be slow to hire and quick to fire.

There are lots of talented vendors and employees. Find employees and suppliers who are easy to work with (for you) and who can meet your needs, and vice versa. If you can’t meet each others’ needs or the relationship is a constant struggle, those are good reasons to move on. Don’t chase.

why employees quit


Let Unhappy Employees and Vendors Go – Don’t Chase

unhappy employees

Several years ago I hired a vendor that wasn’t a good fit. Try as we might to work together, we didn’t communicate well. Everything was a struggle. After a frustrating few weeks, the owner of the business offered to refund my money and amicably part ways. His company had already done work on our behalf and I didn’t want to lose momentum. I turned him down. That was a mistake. When a small business owner, who needs your business (money), tells you to go elsewhere, listen. We parted ways a few months later in a much more costly and less amicable way.

You don’t want to work with people who don’t want to work with you. The same is true for friends and romantic relationships. Don’t chase people. If they don’t want you, move on. There are lots of other people who will see your value.

There are differing schools of thought on whether or not you should try to retain unhappy employees who quit. I’d be interested in seeing statistics on how long employees who quit but are then retained, stay with an organization and how well they perform. I’d let them go. Again, you don’t want people who don’t want you.

The challenge is that most people are afraid to speak up in organizations and relationships (of all kinds) when they’re unhappy. Unhappy employees typically quit versus make requests and give feedback.

The antidote is to create a culture in which employees, vendors, and customers openly make requests and talk about what is and isn’t working. Create a climate of candor in which feedback is exchanged regularly versus just during exit interviews, which is too late.

How to know when to cut bait with unhappy employees and vendors:

  1. You’ve had several open discussions and can’t meet each others’ needs. If you don’t have a job the employee wants, that’s a good reason to part ways.
  1. It’s not a good culture fit. You talk and talk but don’t communicate. Issues don’t get resolved. Frustration is the norm. This is also a good reason to end a working (or personal) relationship.

Five steps to create a more candid culture:

  1. Discuss employees’, customers’, and vendors’ needs and requests at the beginning of working relationships. Agree upon what success and a good job looks like. Ask lots and lots of questions, and listen closely to the answers.
  1. Ask for feedback regularly. Conduct a weekly plus/delta (a discussion of what is and isn’t working) during which all parties are invited and expected to speak freely. The more you have these discussions, the easier they will be and the more candid people will become.
  1. Address challenges as they come up.
  1. Discuss challenges that can’t be fixed.
  1. If a relationship isn’t working, end it sooner rather than later. Be slow to hire and quick to fire.

There are lots of talented vendors and employees. Find employees and suppliers who are easy to work with (for you) and who can meet your needs, and vice versa. If you can’t meet each others’ needs or the relationship is a constant struggle, those are good reasons to move on. Don’t chase.

why employees quit


Five Keys to Employee Engagement and Employee Retention

Employees leave managers not jobs. We’ve all heard this 100 times.

One of the most prevalent reasons for employee turnover is boredom and lack of growth. We’ve also heard this many times.

We know why employees leave jobs. The question is what must managers do to engage and retain their best people. The answer is actually quite simple, although possibly not easy to execute.

employee retentionEmployees want to know that their manager:

  • Knows them
  • Cares about and is invested in their careers
  • Gives feedback so they can improve
  • Provides opportunities so they can develop

In other words, employees need attention, and attention requires time, time many managers may not feel they have.

Here is a five-step formula for employee retention and employee engagement:

  1. Get to know employees better and differently
  2. Have meaningful, one-on-one meetings [at least] monthly
  3. Give feedback every time you meet
  4. Ask for and be open to feedback
  5. Create opportunities for employees to do the work that interests them most

Managers, how do you make time for these meetings when are busy and have several direct reports?

  1. Meet for 15-30 minutes
  2. Meet over the phone while commuting or waiting for flights
  3. Ask direct reports to create an agenda and run the meetings
  4. Ask direct reports to send follow-up notes of decisions and plans made during meetings. Give some of the accountability away.
  5. If meetings get cancelled, reschedule as soon as possible. Direct reports take cancelled meeting personally. Cancelled meetings, that are not rescheduled, send the message that managers don’t care about employees and their careers.

Employees, if your manager doesn’t schedule meetings with you:

  1. Ask permission to put a monthly meeting on your manager’s calendar
  2. Provide rationale for why you want to meet–to get your manager’s feedback and ensure you’re focused on the right work
  3. Ask permission to reschedule meetings when they get cancelled
  4. Don’t take cancelled meetings personally
  5. Offer to meet with your manager via the phone when it’s convenient for him/her. Leverage commute and travel time.

Employees need time with their managers. Meaningful discussions and work result in employee engagement and employee retention, so managers, make the time, even when you don’t feel you have it. Ask questions you don’t ask now. Give feedback, even if it’s uncomfortable. Give your employees an opportunity to do the work that interests them most. And watch your employee engagement and employee retention improve. And if your manager doesn’t do these things, politely and persistently ask. You won’t get what you don’t ask for.  We are all 100% accountable for our careers.


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