It’s easy for business leaders to get caught up in day-to-day business needs and forget that leading and developing their team is just as important as that quarterly report that’s due next week. Your top employees are getting calls from your competition, so it’s important to give them a reason to stay. How? By hiring the right people, being available to them, and committing to their development. Use these 8 employee engagement and retention strategies to develop and retain your top talent.
1. Know Your Employees.
Employees don’t have to come and go as often as they do… if you can build great relationships built on trust. Know their motivators (their why): Who was the best coach/leader in their life and why, what is their story, who is their family, what are their short term and long term (1-3-5 year) career goals? Then consider if their goals are attainable at your company and how you can help them get there.
According to a Gallup study, employees are twice as likely to be actively disengaged if they are ignored by their manager. Be real and engage; have lunch with them, be genuine, vulnerable, use candor, listen to them with a positive attitude and take action. Identify any gaps to help them improve, but focus more on their strengths and less on their weaknesses.
2. Support Their Career Aspirations.
Show support by discussing professional growth and longer term goals with a focus on their strengths and passions, and get them on track to fulfill those goals. Help facilitate their movement internally if they are interested, and create a succession plan for your role and your team’s roles. Remember to keep the dialogue open and engage them in weekly discussions about how things are going.
3. Be Their Best Boss.
Now that you know their goals and how they like to be led, be the strongest coach/leader that they have ever had. Think about what they are getting out of working for you and how you can maximize that value. Touch base often, with a focus on values, results, humility, and teamwork. Train them on leadership traits and groom them to become the future leaders in the company. Those who leave your team should look back and feel you were their best boss ever.
4. Lead by Example.
Show them how it’s done by building great internal relationships, casting a clear vision, living by the company values, generating great results, and being a humble team player yourself. Try using in-the-moment coaching by solving problems together, and include them in strategic planning. This builds rapport, develops trust, and helps them commit to the corporate vision.
When a particular project isn’t going well, I like to remind my team that we are progressively getting better and we will find a solution, together. Their feelings towards you as a strong and caring leader will help them engage. You need to be their biggest fan and advocate and they need to feel it. Communicate well and often, make it fun, and lead by example
5. Train People Managers.
People managers do not have to always be top producers and top producers do not always make great people managers. Train people managers within your team that you trust to play the part of maintaining engagement and to proactively identify the risks of someone leaving your organization.
6. Use Smart Rewards.
Now that you know what motivates each individual, ensure that they feel valued personally and professionally. What would keep them motivated? Time off. Flexibility. Cash. Get them to commit to challenges and time lines and provide them with added rewards or incentives along the way as they hit their milestones. Use ongoing positive reinforcement, recognition, and focus on their motivators to make them feel successful based on their vision of success.
7. Hire More Wisely.
All business leaders should periodically take a hard look at their hiring process, criteria, and hiring standards with a focus on the candidates’ wisdom; their beliefs, passion, values, leadership, and work ethic being major components.
8. Get Rid of the Bottom 10%.
Even if you do everything above, some employees will be complacent and disengaged. It’s important to get rid of the bottom 10% in core values AND results. I put primary importance on core values and secondarily on results. Existing employees need to know you are serious about the quality of your employees and that you protect your work environment; it is a matter of integrity and professionalism.
You have worked so hard to create a wiser hiring process to hire wiser employees. Now employ a wiser leadership style to retain and develop your talent and you will have the keys to hire wisdom. Use them wisely.
For more from the series, check out Hire Wisdom: The 12 Keys to Successful Hiring. Also, learn more about Toronto Financial Services & Insurance Recruiter Ross Campbell and connect with him on LinkedIn.
IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm with offices in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have teams of specialist recruiters in Financial Services & Insurance, Marketing Communications & Media, Emerging Tech & Telecom, Consumer Goods & Retail, B2B & Industrial, Technology, Accounting & Finance, HR & Operations, Energy, Mining & Engineering, Life Sciences, and Construction, Property & Real Estate. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.