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Employee Retention: What Leaders Do that Make Stars Stay

Are you worried about losing your most profitable employees?

A study done by Kronos Incorporated, shows that 87% of Human Resources Leaders are highly concerned over employee retention. For good reason too, since the cost to replace one of your employees is estimated to cost employers anywhere from 33% to 200% of that employee’s annual salary. So losing one employee can actually be the same cost as 2 happy, productive employees. For many small businesses, that is a tremendous amount of profitability down the drain.

So what makes employees stay?

There are many reasons that employees stay. According to the Harvard Business Review, employees actually stay unless a force causes them not to. This can mean outside forces like economy, family situations that take an employee to a different location, or the other load of things that business leaders don’t have a lot of control around. However, the larger part is purely company-employee relationship and commonalities. The list of things that leaders can do can greatly impact the most important key factor of productivity: whether the employee “wants” to be there or “has” to be there.

If an employee wants to leave, but there is no great force that causes them to leave, chances are they will stay. Change usually only happens when things get uncomfortable enough for someone to make a change. This sounds like a big score for employers, but hold that thought. Just because an employee stays doesn’t mean they are as productive as happy employees are. The truth is an employee that ‘wants’ to be there, is more productive, innovative and profitable over someone who believes they ‘have’ to be there to earn a paycheck. We all know this.

So how do we make employees want to work for a company?

Employees want just what leaders often want…

  • Knowing that what they do makes a difference
  • Feeling purpose and meaning behind their work
  • Having a say in what their goals or future path will be
  • Being acknowledged and respected for their contributions
  • Coworkers that are also driven and want to be there
  • Mentoring and encouragement
  • Trust that the leadership has their back
  • A great work culture that matches their own values
  • Fair compensation

The struggle is that often we don’t consider all these aspects and we jump to one or two. An employee who ‘wants’ to be working for you usually wants a great balance of all of these. There may be one or two that are more important or less important, and overall, the key is to implement as much as this as possible. This might seem like a lot of work, but the truth is, there is one people-management tool that will help you do all of these things for your team.

Be the Coach your employees don’t even know they want.

We focus so much on managing projects and productivity that sometimes we forget the humans that carry those tasks out. We spend time maintaining machines, technology and tasks, when all of that goes smoother when we attend to the people who actually make it all go. The key to having an effective team that wants to be working with you is to remember that a big part of our job is employee relations and happiness.

What they need is a good coach that can help them stay motivated, listen to their concerns and feedback and help them be successful with the goals they design. Many companies believe this is accomplished with employee reviews. However, employee reviews are lacking a coaching aspect.

Reviews focus on:

  • Company goals for the employee
  • Performance and metric based
  • How the employee can be an asset to the company

Employee Individual Development Plans are different because they:

  • Consider both company goals and personal achievement goals
  • Help you know where your employee really wants to be, so that they have a position they ‘want to do’ not just ‘have to do’
  • Offer a chance for leadership to mentor them on their path and offer honest feedback
  • Connect leadership with their employees and what they truly want in life which offers information as to what makes them happy, what skills they like to use most or would like to expand, and what most inspires them to stay.
  • Acknowledgement of their personhood, not just their productivity.
  • Offer a chance for employees to offer their own feedback on what they need or concerns they have before they start a job search
  • Give leadership a chance to thank them and let them know how their contributions impact the whole of the organization and their clients

Or in other words, you get to coach your employees.

If you are like most leaders, you may not have thought of coaching as part of the job description. However, whenever I work with a client to increase productivity and employee happiness – it always comes down to building a strong connection to their employees and treating each one like your star player even if they aren’t — especially if they aren’t. Learn what makes them tick, help them on their path to success, and take time to hear and acknowledge them.

There are two ways I can help you.

Hire me as your coaching coach

Coaching doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but I can help. I work with companies in many aspects of coaching employees. I train leaders one-on-one, or I can work with your employees and leadership to ease the conversations and teach tools that can help you dive deeper and keep your star players or develop new ones.

Contact me to set up a call to discuss your questions or concerns about employee retention or coaching employees. Email me to book some time with me..

Or get all the tools right here.

Employee Individual Development Plan Toolkit

I’m giving you the tools I would give my clients to help them develop loyal employees. I’ve included the Personal Development Plan for your employee to fill out and then a worksheet to help you review and coach them through the conversation including what things you want to focus on, how to get your business goals and their personal goals to get on the same path and some helpful basic coaching techniques that can help you keep the star players on your team happy.

This free tool can be downloaded here.

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