How to Keep Quality People in Your Organization
By Marsha Lindquist
talented, quality employees is always difficult for an organization.
Not only does it mean finding and training replacements, but also
losing all the knowledge and understanding of the corporate culture
those people take with them. While it is true that in today’s
environment no organization can realistically believe they will keep
an employee for twenty or thirty years, companies can reasonably
expect people to stay for four to six years.
you need to keep your people as long as they fit within what your
company is trying to accomplish, and as long as they add value. You
want to maximize the relationship as long as employment is productive
for both sides. And you certainly don’t want people leaving because
they become disenchanted with the job.
employers believe that people get seduced away by the allure of larger
companies, greater benefits, more pay, or a desk with a window. But
those factors are rarely the reason people choose to leave. What
really causes people to change jobs is that they don’t understand
where they fit and how their role impacts the organization’s overall
goals. They may feel like they do busy work that doesn’t affect the
company’s success, or they don’t develop mutually respectful and
open relationships with their bosses and managers. When employees
start feeling this way, then they start shopping around for other
jobs. Unfortunately, many times people are seduced away by another
organization that promises all these things, but doesn’t actually
deliver them. Then the process begins again.
So how can
you keep your quality employees for as long as possible? You must make
their impact on the organization’s success clear by building a
corporate culture around the right mindset. Use the following process
to refocus your organization so your employees don’t feel compelled
to change jobs so frequently:
Lay the Foundation:
mindset you create in your organization will permeate everything you
do. It will impact your strategies, the type of clients you go after,
and the kind of people you hire. For example, many leaders focus
frantically on fire drill types of tasks, or the things that need to
get done immediately. In the process, they allow the tasks that need
to be planned and prepared for to go unattended and uncompleted. When
the leaders operate in this rush, rather than in a cool-headed manner,
they spread it through the entire organization.
actions and mannerisms reveal the mindset you maintain from day one.
Even when you interview people, you communicate the corporate culture
to them. So set your intrinsic values right away to avoid bringing in
people with a work-here-a-year-and-leave mindset. Rather than just
covering benefits, rules, and vacation time, the most important part
of your orientation process needs to focus on your culture, how you
work with one another, how you cooperate with one another, and what
kind of clients you pursue. Spend less time on the rules and more on
the way of thinking.
foundation of every organization is the attitude of the people within
it. Therefore, the senior managers and leaders of your company must
create the right mindset for the entire staff. They must determine how
the organization’s goals are established and communicated, the
importance of those goals, and the way the employees work with each
Strengthen the Structure:
organizational structure stems from strong focus. To strengthen your
focus, set goals and objectives and then communicate them clearly
throughout the organization. Limit your list to two or three realistic
goals, rather than a laundry list of items. This focuses your
employees on the most important things, rather than a cadre of
different things. Then hire people who are open to changes, can focus
on these goals, and can adhere to the culture you maintain. Many times
people hire the skill set first and the attitude second, but it needs
to be the other way around. You can teach skills, not attitude.
the people who have been in your organization for a few years and are
already with the program but seem to be veering off course? If
you’re trying to change the organization’s culture or make an
impact on it because you’re headed in a downward direction, then you
need to communicate and work with everyone to show how things are
important, communicate to your employees how they contribute to the
new goals. What do the employees need to do to continue to grow with
the company? What skills do they need? What attitude do they need to
adopt? What personal investment do they need to make? How will the
organization support that? While most organizations only cover these
issues once a year, you should communicate this at least twice every
year to maximize effectiveness without it becoming a burden.
Add the Finishing Touch:
you’ve created a mindset and strengthened the focus of your
organization, you must maintain these elements by staying involved
with your employees. The employees need to trust that honest
conversations can occur. Talk to them about what you see for them in
the future and ask how they want to accomplish that, not, “This is
what you need to do; now go do it.”
beyond business and the bottom line. Take an interest in what they do
to be happy and healthy outside of work. Many organizations see that
healthy, happy people have the right attitude at work.
involved should filter down through all levels, from the executives,
to the senior managers, to the department directors, to management. It
shouldn’t be a huge load for one single person. When you do this,
you also instill responsibility to the lower supervisory levels, which
helps them become better managers. Trusting the lower levels to become
involved also builds the mindset.
Your Employees through the Years:
though you may be able to hire an equally skilled replacement for less
money, the knowledge your organization loses when an employee leaves
is extremely difficult to replace. While no one stays with the same
company for their entire career anymore, you can expect to keep
employees for a few years. But you need to make them clear on how
their job and responsibilities impact the company’s success.
creating a mindset in your organization, and then develop goals that
everyone can focus on. Let your employees know how they contribute to
those goals and the organization’s success. Finally, stay involved
with your employees and allow them to have open conversations with you
to build relationships. When you follow these steps, you will create a
corporate culture that inspires your employees to stay with your
organization long into the future.
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about Marsha Lindquist.
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