“An employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.”
~ Bob Nelson~
Client Joan Asks: We’ve been really struggling with an employee retention problem. I’d like to help my managers determine where the problem may lie and come up with some solutions we can implement to keep our employees productive and happy.
Do you have some articles I could recommend to them that would help?
Coach Joel Answers: I like the direction you are going, Joan. If you allow your managers to read up on the way other people have resolved this problem, you get some buy in.
Then when they come to the table to discuss their ideas and solutions, you already have them taking ownership of the problem. They will be more interested in working toward a solution.
Here are six articles that will get you started.
1. How Managers Can Improve Their Workplaces for Employees. Joan, the fact is, most employees leave because of their boss and the management. The great thing about the suggestions in this article is that you don’t need to bust your budget to accomplish these strategies.
You’ll find seven simple steps you and your managers can take immediately to help retain more employees. Read Employee Retention Article.
2. Ten Ways to Keep Your Star Employees. Anytime you have top talent, you want to have them happy and secure with you. One of the issues that surfaces with rising stars is they will not stay if they don’t feel they are doing fulfilling work. Also, if they feel they are totally inundated with work they may become discouraged. Read Star Employees Article.
3. Highly Engaged Workplace. Sometimes you find workers just “biding their time” at their job. They don’t feel committed to the work. They stick it out because of the down economy, but don’t feel any loyalty to your company. This article helps you identify the key things that bring your employees fulfillment.
When you find those benefits and work situation that engages your workers, you change them from “waiting to leave,” to “wanting to stay.” It changes the entire workplace environment. Read Engaged Workplace Article.
4. How Men and Women in Leadership Can Help Employees Succeed. When employees are properly trained and feel they are using their skill sets to succeed, they enjoy their jobs more.
Use this article to examine the training opportunities you have in place. Do your workers need tutoring, mentoring, coaching or on-the-job training to feel more valuable? Are your employees confused about expectations and how you define success? This article will help you evaluate your workers better. Read Help Employees Succeed Article.
5. Give Employees What They Need. Sometimes as you evaluate your employee retention issue, you may discover that you have not given your staff the tools they need to succeed.
When workers stand on uncertain ground, they seek the security of another job. With this article you’ll find six tips to strengthen your employees’ commitment to succeed at your job instead of looking elsewhere. Read Keep Employees Motivated Article.
6. Learn How to Create a Happy Workplace with an Employee Retention Survey. What’s the best way to determine whether your employees are happy or unhappy and why? Ask them! This articles explains the importance of surveying current employees and provides examples of questions to include on your survey. Read the Employee Survey Article.
Joan, as your managers look at these employee retention articles, they will see where they can strengthen the workplace and their management skills. When employees enjoy their job, their manager, their work environment, and their pay you will find your retention problem disappears.
Looking for the solutions to your employee retention issues? Email Joel for options specifically designed for your situation.
Talkback: What articles have you read lately that could help managers keep their workers satisfied?
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“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”
~Anne M. Mulcahy~
What comes to mind when you think of business success? Improving the bottom line? Cutting costs while increasing profits? Those are important, but no business is successful for long without good, talented employees who are happy to come to work and do their best every day. Below are ways to focus on improving employee satisfaction – and increasing your business’ success and profitability at the same time:
1. Value your employees – in every way.
Did you ever have a boss who was quick to praise for a job well done – but stingy with benefits and pay? Actions always speak louder than words, and while current finances may not always permit you to pay top dollar, pay as much as you can based upon company profitability. In other words, the employee who toils five days or more a week to help make your company a success deserves to be recognized for that effort with praise and with benefits and pay commensurate with performance. Fair pay for work done is one of the best ways to improve employee satisfaction, and it’s also simply fair.
2. Create a culture of true camaraderie.
Of course, your first priority each day is to get business done and make your company successful. To do that, though, it’s important to have fun once in a while too, as colleagues. Schedule office parties occasionally where all employees are invited to bring their spouse/significant other and children, too. Acknowledge birthdays with a 15-minute impromptu party. Don’t frown upon spontaneous wiffleball games in the hallway; in fact, why not join in? Improving employee satisfaction means letting your hair down once in a while – prudently – and allowing your employees do the same.
3. Celebrate victories together.
All too often, companies reward management with big bonuses and lots of recognition, but overlook the accomplishments of lower-level employees, some of whom may have significantly contributed to management’s successes. That’s not fair, and employees (rightly) resent that. Instead, whenever your company has a big victory, celebrate together. Schedule a company lunch, or have a little party. Recognize your entire team – everyone. Recognition is a central component of improving employee satisfaction.
4. Be a part of your local community.
One of the best ways to create a cohesive work environment is to become a part of the local community. Connect with your community as a group, and give back to it. Get involved in community service as a company. Investigate what particular needs your community has. Serve Thanksgiving dinner at the local homeless shelter, or volunteer to participate in a cancer walk as a company team. Getting out of the work environment and rolling up your sleeves together toward a shared goal brings cohesiveness to your group that continues back at the office. Breaking out of everyday roles outside of the office can go a long way toward improving employee satisfaction in the office as well.
5. Encourage open communication.
Don’t just say you want to foster open communication; do it. If your employees don’t feel they can talk to management, they won’t; resentments will fester, and productivity and employee morale will fall.
Communication starts with you. Tell your employees how they’re doing, and encourage them to talk to you about how you are doing, too. This isn’t about insubordination, by the way. Don’t take the attitude that because you’re the boss, you’re naturally untouchable. If something’s wrong with the way the company is being run or the way people are being treated, employees should be able to tell you about it. If you’re a large company, you may not know that there may be a particular problem with lower management unless you’re told – and you won’t be if employees can’t speak up.
Communication shouldn’t just be about problems that need to be fixed, either. Your employees comprise your own rich brain trust that can help your company, products, or services become better. Encourage employees to share their ideas and reward them for those you use. When employees are heard and valued, improving employee job satisfaction won’t be a chore you “must do.” It will simply happen.
About the author: Erica L. Fener, Ph.D., is Vice President, Business Development Strategy and Analysis at Progressus Therapy, a leader in connecting their candidates with school-based PT jobs and early intervention service jobs.
Do you need happier employees? For tips, help, and coaching on improving the satisfaction of your employees contact Joel.
Talkback: What steps have you taken to increase the morale at your office? What has worked best… or failed spectacularly?
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“I set as the goal the maximum capacity that people have. I settle for no less. I make myself a relentless architect of the possibilities of human beings.”
~ Benjamin Zander ~
Randy knows his company’s HR operation is in need of a makeover. The combination of the down economy, government regulations, new technologies and recruiting challenges has overwhelmed people with paper-pushing and record-keeping. Randy wants to shift the company’s focus from a “personnel department” where staff is giving attention to individual careers and salaries to a “human capital management” mindset.
As company president, Randy assumes ultimate responsibility for all departmental outcomes. But he knows that his people will support what they help create, so he wants his managers to be involved in designing a new HR direction. After a two-hour brainstorming session, they come up with three action items:
- Adopt an asset focus
- Reward results
- Expect continuous improvement
1. Adopt an asset focus. A company that operates with a human capital management philosophy believes that its people are just as much an asset as its buildings, its inventory or its cash in the bank.
“We can quantify peoples’ value,” Randy tells his staff. “And we can increase that value by making the right kind of investment in them. But how do we do that?”
Truly treating employees like assets involves a new and different mindset for many corporations. Often, especially in a down economy, people are viewed as liabilities. Both philosophically and in actual accounting, they are treated as costs, an overhead item that can be reduced or eliminated for short term gain.
Instead of the traditional belt-tightening when the going gets tough, now is the time to increase investment in our people, Randy decides. That means recruiting top talent with the same analysis and intensity the company would put into buying a new piece of equipment. It also means setting up a comprehensive people development program that includes management training, career coaching, and a comprehensive succession plan that provides upward mobility and salary increases for those who want a real future with the company.
2. Reward results. Overall compensation, including salary, benefits, and intangibles, is important, but it must be based on results. And the corporate culture should be set up so that the best rewards go to those who achieve the most impressive results. Along the way, of course, the company should also reward exceptional effort with praise and encouragement, even in cases where the goal or expected outcome didn’t happen. Each department manager will be responsible for evaluation and rewards, based on holding employees accountable for achieving specific business objectives, coming up with new ideas, and contributing to the company’s long-range plans.
3. Expect continuous improvement. Randy sees this strategy as a long term change, and long term means continuous improvement throughout the company.
The principle of continuous improvement originated with Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the management guru who helped the Japanese rebuild after World War II. Rather than making radical, high profile changes in company operations, Dr. Deming adopted the Japanese concept of kaizen, meaning “good change.” Kaizen says that each employee responsible for making small but consistent changes to his or her own operation. Over time, those small, incremental changes contribute directly to the company’s bottom line results.
Kaizen is based on five key principles: teamwork, personal discipline, improving morale, using quality circles, and making suggestions for improvement. Randy and his C-level managers base their human capital management strategy on implementing these principles. They provide monetary rewards, and they treat people as tangible assets by providing coaching and training that lead to career advancement opportunities.
The moral of the story, Randy says: “Invest in your people, just as you would any other tangible asset, and your ROI will go straight to the bottom line.”
If you would like to turn your people into tangible assets, Joel can show you how to do that. Email him today.
Talkback: Are you seeing your people as assets or liabilities? Share your experience here.
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“Over 70% of people leave their jobs because of the way they are led.”
~ Norman Drummond, Motivational Speaker ~
Client George asks: I staff a large organization in the tourism industry. There is a constant shuffle of employees coming and going. I need to know what a manager can do. Can you give me some employee retention strategies?
Coach Joel Answers: Maintaining a stable workforce is a key management issue and a strategy worthy of taking time to learn and implement.
There are many reasons employees leave a job. Some are out of your control, but you can influence many of the reasons. Here are seven problems and the solutions you can implement:
1. Lack of job satisfaction.Employees leave jobs because they are unrewarding.
Solution: Do a better job of hiring for the job. Make sure the individual will be happy in that particular position. Their skills, personality, and abilities need to match the job. Also, keep tabs on your employees with regular feedback. Be the kind of manager they can talk to so they will express their dissatisfaction early enough that you can implement changes.
2. Lack of Job Training. When employees don’t know their job or feel comfortable with it they tend to do a poor job. That leads to poor job satisfaction on the part of the employee and the manager.
Solution: Train your new hires.Evaluate the skills needed in all your employees and make sure they are proficient. Hire coaches. Find mentors.Studies show there is better job satisfaction and employee retention when your workers are well trained.
3. An organizational culture that expects long hours. In the tourism industry especially, there’s a culture of “Presenteeism” where hotel managers are expected to always be there. In other companies, the boss may be a workaholic and have his desk right beside the door. He knows exactly when each person leaves.
Solution: Set clear and reasonable expectations for your workers. Let them know what’s required of them. Watch for those putting in too many hours and find out why it’s happening.
4. Life-Work Conflicts. Each employee has unique needs and demands on his or her time. What may be a normal work load for one might create a crushing conflict for another.
Solution: Be aware of each employee and their needs. Consider flex time or other options. Just having an employee know that the management is aware of their situation and needs and is willing to make concessions is a valuable employee retention strategy.
5. Burnout. This is partly an emotional state of mind from too much pressure and too many demands.
Solution: Make sure your company is not cutting corners by deliberately understaffing. It creates resentment in your workers. Also evaluate whether you are creating unrealistic expectations for your workers. If your employees always feel behind and unable to keep up, they will leave.
6. Company policy duplicity. If employees think the company has different standards for different people. If the company says one thing and does another, it creates cynicism, resentment and high turnover.
Solution: Evaluate your company for its ethics. Is there favoritism? Are you promoting safe standards in training meetings and encouraging workers to violate them in practice? Create an ethical, fair company standard to keep your workers happy.
7. No Future. If employees feel they have no way to progress in a company, they’ll move.
Solution: Show each employee potential paths for advancement. Help them see this job as a career and a profession.Give them training and opportunities so they can step up. When you take an interest in their careers, you will retain your workers.
George, you are correct to be concerned about employee retention strategies. You can make a profound difference in the lives and wellbeing of your employees. They will thank you by staying with you and helping your company succeed.
For more recommendations with your specific company on how to retain your key employees contact Joel.
Talkback: What strategies have you used for employee retention? What has been most effective?
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”The best way to predict your future is to create it”
~ Peter F. Drucker ~
Samantha was ready to move up. But she was pretty much at a dead end at her current job. She knew she needed more executive job training before she’d be ready for a profitable transition to another company, but as a single mom, she couldn’t afford to pay for it. Her current job wouldn’t cover it. The executive training had to be free.
“I knew I needed to think and act like an executive before I’d ever have the chance to be in that position,” Samantha said. “I was close. But not there yet. I came up with 4 free sources for executive job training.”
1. Observation. ”It cost me nothing to observe other leaders,” Samantha said. ”I looked for executives within my current company—ones I liked and admired.” She made a conscious effort to watch their management style. She took notes on how they presented ideas, how they listened to responses, and interacted with team members. ”I not only listened to what they said, I watched how they acted, how they moved.” She paid attention to details. ”I even listened to their voice inflection and watched other’s reactions.”
2. Books. Samantha started with the free books at the public library. Those books she found especially valuable she bought so she could underline them, cross reference, and add them to her library. “There are a lot of books on job training and executive leadership,” Samantha said. “And they vary widely in quality.” Samantha spent some time on Amazon and other sources reading the reviews. While they were not always accurate, she found them generally helpful in choosing the best books for her.
3. Online Sources. While the quality also varies with web sources, Samantha found plenty of free executive job training there. Some sites offered free white papers on different aspects of leadership. She found blogs, articles, websites and business leadership books that delivered meaningful content. “I downloaded every piece of free training I could find,” Samantha said. “Some coaches and trainers are very generous with their information. It was like getting an MBA.”
4. Study Leaders. “I decided that my leadership style was like Meg Whitman’s—or I wanted it to be like hers,” Samantha said. She felt her personality traits and the way she liked to lead dovetailed into the way Meg was currently leading. So she did an in-depth study of Meg. “I watched her on YouTube. I read every article I could find on her. Then I “put on” her leadership style. I stepped up to a more direct approach. I realized I can be pleasant and still be insightful, deliberate, and exacting.”
Samantha was surprised at how completely her free executive job training paid off! “First co-workers started coming to me for advice and problem solving. Then the management actually created a new position and moved me into it.” Samantha realized that executive training requires work and application whether the training is free or paid.
But in this case, Samantha’s efforts paid off very well.
If you are looking for free training for your executive goals, be sure to visit Joel’s website and access the leadership articles and information there.
Talkback: Have you find great free sources for executive job training? Tell us about them.
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