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How to retain and motivate your best employees

Why should I care?

There are tangible as well as intangible costs of turnover. These transitions can cause disruption, a loss of institutional knowledge, and a drop in morale and productivity. Progress can come to a halt, leaving projects months behind schedule. More importantly, how people exit can affect employee sentiment and their view of your company. When they land at their new job, how will they talk about your organization? And what repercussions does it have on your ability to recruit new hires? It’s all part of your employer brand. Think of former employees as “alumni” of your company. Keep in mind, however, that sometimes when people leave, it can be a positive thing. There could be misalignment in skill set, or problems with success in a role. The focus shouldn’t be to strive for zero turn - over, it’s about ensuring you don’t lose great employees.


Should you care if employees leave?


Why do employees leave?

the #1 reason people leave a job is their manager. The manager acts as the de facto organizational representative with the employee on a day to day basis. Employees who don’t have a good relationship with their boss are rarely satisfied with their work. Thus, the employee-manager relationship is critical to success in a role. When that critical contact point breaks down, employees are likely to leave. 44 percent of respondents said the main reason they left a job was because of their boss. Here are the most complaints employees have about their managers


How to get employees to want to stay in your organization

To provide a satisfying employee experience, you’ll need to keep engagement high and acknowledge high performing contributors in your group. Let’s take a deeper look at engagement. Here are four elements of engagement, each broken down into four sub-elements. These are the building blocks of a high performing organization.


why do employees leave?


Providing learning & development opportunities

Setting the foundation of learning and development - The truth is that everyone learns differently. And each employee has individual goals for their development. No longer can you offer just classroom training or take a one-size-fits-all approach. Ideally, each employee’s needs are addressed individually. While that may seem expensive to scale, there are some tips and tricks to help.

Furthermore, learning and development is a two-way street. Employees should feel comfortable speaking up if they don’t feel they’re getting the right learning opportunities. If they aren’t speaking up, or taking ownership of their own development, it could mean that there are some foundational pieces missing. 


Team Building


Tips for training managers

To help your managers become the best managers they can be, encourage them to tell you what they need to learn. Once you’ve identified their learning needs, you can create space for managers to talk to each other so that they can share best practices and learn from one another.

“Ultimately, managers have one job: Hire the best talent and continuously engage them. Managers know who’s talented. And they know (or should know) who’s unhappy with their current situation. If they don’t meet the basic psychological needs of their most talented employees, they squander years of performance gains. At worst, they lose their talent (and whoever leaves with them) to their competitors.” Gallup, 2018. 


Manager Training


What is coaching?

There are many different ideas about what coaching means. Is it the same as mentoring? Consulting? There’s a fine line. The International Coach Federation provides a succinct definition:

“Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

At a basic level, coaching can include the following:

• Helping an individual navigate development opportunities How does an employee get to the “next level”? Do they even know what the next level is?

• Career pathing discussions Help an employee crystallize their thoughts on where they want to go next in their career

• Conflict resolution assistance Help an employee navigate a difficult conversation Identify tools for dealing with issues

• Feedback communication tools Help an employee figure out how to give and receive feedback

• “Managing up” support How do you manage up to your boss, or your boss’s boss in a respectful manner?

Bear in mind, development is holistic. Just be sure to clarify the confidentiality aspect. Often, confiding in a coach can feel safer than going to HR.


If you’re questioning whether or not bringing a coach on board would benefit your organization, here are some things to think about:

• How is morale within your organization?

Like any program, it should be tailored to your culture. Would your employees be open to it? Would someone from outside work better? Coaching – like feedback or opinions – need to be invited.

Do you have existing employees who have the passion and talent for coaching?

It could be cheaper to have someone on staff full-time than to hire a consultant.


Final Takeaways

Retaining and motivating your best employees require a multi-faceted approach. Make sure you consider the following as you think about ways to create a more engaged workforce:

• Take the time to recognize and acknowledge the hard work of your employees, and do it in a way that feels meaningful to the individual. Remember, 69 percent of employees would work harder if they were better recognized (not necessarily better paid).

• Make recognition into an org-wide habit. Get employees to recognize one another. It can be a fun learning experience and create great bonds.

• Find appropriate ways to measure engagement. But don’t ask employees questions if you’re not willing to act. Investing in growing the people at your organization is the best investment you can make for long-term success.



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