New Year’s Resolutions for Employee Retention

‘Tis the season for resolutions.  And I hereby promise to drop five pounds (for good this time), go vegan (for good this time) and read more books (fiction – I have enough non-fiction in my life).  But shouldn’t we also make resolutions for our professional lives?  With predictions of the job market taking a turn for the better in 2010, resolutions for employee retention should be top of mind for Human Resources representatives.  In order to prevent your current employees from jumping ship when the job market heals, resolve to strengthen your retention efforts this year. 

I present to you my suggested employee retention resolutions for 2010:

Boost Morale

It’s easier for employees to be content with their current employer if the working environment is desirable.  Workers will more than likely thrive in an environment that provides a warm and friendly atmosphere, teamwork and co-workers that generally enjoy the work that they do.  Bottom line, staff members are more likely to leave if there’s a poor morale.  One of the biggest factors influencing morale is career pathing.  Make sure your staff members have clearly defined milestones they must accomplish to advance within your organization.  Pro-actively boost morale by treating employees fairly, delegating workloads appropriately, adequately staffing your organization and compensating your employees with what they rightly deserve.  It’s also imperative to lead by example.  Ensure the leaders throughout your organization are actively doing their best work, motivating their employees and cultivating a culture of positivity.  Speak to employees that are highly engaged to reveal what makes them excited about their roles.  Tout these reasons internally to actively promote the positive aspects of working for your company.  Because misery loves company, pessimistic employees can spread their negative attitudes throughout an organization.  Don’t let a Negative Nancy dictate the morale within your organization.  Speak to Negative Nancy and find out why she’s miserable.  Often times, these employees are more vocal about their concerns and are the most candid in revealing retention issues that are more widespread throughout your organization than you are aware.  If their concerns can be validated, make appropriate adjustments that will in turn boost morale across your organization.  But be wary; sometimes the squeakiest wheel doesn’t need more oil. It could just be a bad fit. 

Improve Communication

Employees need to be heard.  Advise immediate supervisors to meet regularly with their reports to find out what they like most about their position, what they would like to change and what suggestions they have for the company overall.  These meetings will allow the immediate supervisor to gauge the employee’s engagement level and correct any performance issues before their annual review.  By communicating regularly with employees, supervisors are better able to assess which employees are vulnerable to leaving and potentially alleviate any areas of concern before the employee resigns.  Just as employees need to be heard, they also need to hear from immediate supervisors and senior management.  When changes are being implemented within your organization, communicate clearly and frequently to workers what the changes mean and what they can expect for the future.  Furthermore, get senior managers out from behind their office doors.  No one wants to work for a hermit.  Employees want to be able to approach senior management if need be.  Allow and encourage workers to have candid conversations with senior management.  Senior managers should be honest and open with their vision for the company, new developments within the organization and competitive strategies.  Effective methods to increasing senior management visibility include staff-wide meetings; small, town hall meetings and social events where executives are in attendance.  

Recognize And Thank Employees

What do all employees desire from their employer?  In the words of Aretha, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!  You’ll find out what it means to your employees if they aren’t being recognized for going above and beyond.  Plainly, they’ll leave and seek recognition from your competitor.  Many workers have absorbed additional responsibilities resulting from staff reductions.  Don’t let these contributions go unnoticed; personally thank employees for their hard work.  Then, let other employees know how much you appreciate and recognize a job well done by publically praising your stellar staff members.  If budget allows, reward over-achievers with cash bonuses, gift cards, a premier parking spot or other prizes.  Foster a culture of team members recognizing other team members.  Even encouraging staff members to send glowing emails of appreciation to an employee’s supervisor will improve recognition efforts.

2010 is not the year to sit idly by while your staff grows more discouraged.  By implementing these vital retention strategies, your organization will surely suffer from fewer turnovers than those competitors disrespecting their employees and work environment.

Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

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