How to retain and grow your ‘Rock Star’ employees

We need to look at why employees are leaving us and admit that it is not just them

How to retain and grow your ‘Rock Star’ employees

by Ben Baker

We need to look at why employees are leaving us and admit that it is not just them.  It is up to everyone to change our way of thinking, acting and communicating if we want employees to stop seeing employment as merely a transactional relationship.

All across North America today, we are facing a crisis in employee retention. Inc Magazine states that 70% of employees are not engaged in the workforce and Forbes says half of US employees are currently looking for new jobs right now.

Your ‘Rock Star’ employees are probably part of this trend.

The first question HR Leaders need to ask is why and the second is what can you do about it?

The why comes down to one thing, ineffective communication throughout the organization. 

It is no one person’s fault; it is everyone’s. We are in a world today where communication has become a lost art form.  We all say we communicate. We send emails, write memos, post information on internal servers, have the entire office connected via Slack or some other internal communication tool, but we do not communicate with each other!

Communication is a two-way affair.  It is as much about listening and understanding as it is about sending out information.  That is where most companies fail.  They do not take the time to make sure what they are trying to say, and the vision they wish to instill is listened to and understood.

Face to face communication has become a lost art form.  The justification is that “there are too many of us and we are all too busy.”  But what are we too busy doing?  Unfortunately, a lot of time is spent fixing what should have been done right the first time. If we had just communicated effectively in the first place, then a lot of the “busy” work that is done by human resources, and others in the company, to solve problems caused by misunderstandings would disappear.

That lack of communication leads to frustration by people at all levels. It leads to misunderstanding and misinterpreting of what is important, what is not, leaves employees at a loss as to how to do things effectively, and how they can help achieve the true goals of the organization.

Because of this, people do not feel valued or necessary. They do not feel that their opinion matters, because their perception is, they are not being listened to or understood. They feel that what they say or do is not affecting growth within the company. They perceive that efforts do not matter and they look for somewhere where they perceive their opinions, effort, and actions are deemed valuable, and they are appreciated.

If we truly want employees to stay, be productive and be the future leaders of our companies, we need to change how we communicate the vision and values of our brand and act accordingly. We need to let employees understand our story and enable them to be part of it.

We need to help employees understand where we came from, where we are, the challenges and successes we face, who are clients are, why they buy from us, where we want the company to be in five years and provide them with the tools and skill set needed to be part of that vision.

It is vital that we get away from thinking that all employees want is a paycheque, beanbags chairs, free beer Fridays and a cool looking work environment.  Employees want to understand and believe in the future of the company and feel that they are part of its on-going success.

Now how can you do this?  How can you make some simple shifts in your organization that will allow you to be the company where employees want to stay and want to be engaged? 

Take the time to look at your organization as it is today.  The first thing you want to look at is who is leaving and why?  Is it a certain role within the company? Is it a certain age demographic? A certain gender? People within a specific department? People, who report to a specific person?

Dig deep!

Look to see if there is a specific reason people are leaving and if it is easily fixed, fix it!

If there is a certain person within the company that is causing people to leave, figure out why and deal with it immediately!

If a certain demographic is leaving in droves, now is the time to have exit interviews with those people, even if they have already left the company, to determine a pattern as to why they are leaving.

Do not believe there is a sacred cow in your organization.  Everything and everyone must be looked at to see what changes can be made to keep your best employees from leaving. 

The cost of them leaving is far too much for any organization.  Not only are you losing someone productive and valuable, but you now have to go out and find someone to replace them, train them and hope that they have the same work ethic and abilities as your previous employee.  And here is something you may or may not have thought of; not only are they now not working for you, but they may be working for a competitor and enabling their company to be more effective and profitable, at your expense.

Looking for some concrete things you can change immediately to make your company better for your employees? My latest eBook is Top 10 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement and Company Loyalty, which I think you will find it a great place to begin your path towards greater long-term employee satisfaction, corporate success, and profitability.

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