Now more than ever, retaining key employees is critical to any organization’s success, growth, and profit. Replacing valuable employees is time-consuming, risky, and expensive. The first step in retaining key employees is knowing what your employees do for you. The second is knowing what they want. Do you know?

A friend resigned from her position of five years to accept another. The new job fit her education; it was a logical step in her career. After her employer accepted her resignation, they asked her to train her replacement. When the company owner reviewed her responsibilities, he said, “I didn’t know you did all this.”

It’s difficult to understand what a person needs if you don’t know what they do for your business. In this case, she did many unrewarding activities outside of her job responsibilities. Her position wasn’t a good fit. When things no longer fit, we replace them.

I’ve observed leaders attempting to motivate employees by giving them what the leader thinks should motivate them. How do you find out what your employees want? First, listen. Your employees may already be telling you what motivates them. An employee who struggles with a work schedule due to family commitments might be motivated by schedule flexibility. Someone who continually seeks approval may be asking for more recognition. Team members who present creative ideas and plans may want a little autonomy. Open your ears and your mind, and then ask them what motivates them. Don’t assume you know.

4 Keys to Retaining Key Employees

  1. Ask your employees what they want. Complete a survey, hold a meeting, and chat one-on-one. Do it more than once. You might not be able to accommodate everyone, but you may be surprised by how many you can. Ask, listen, and act.
  2. Know what your people do— every activity. Do the activities fit the organization and the individual? Can they be adapted to fit? The best coaches make plans to fit their personnel rather than attempting to make personnel fit the plan.
  3. Listen to your people. They may share what they want and what motivates them.
  4. Give your people what they need, whenever possible, and when their needs fit the organization’s vision.

These 4 steps will improve the retention of key employees, and they’re not as time-consuming or challenging as the alternative — hiring and training replacements.

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out. It might help you stop putting off what you want to do.

Photo by Jozsef Hocza on Unsplash