(Guest post by Zohaib Akhlaq)
Most successful business owners realize the importance of keeping good employees, those whose current and future contributions are vital to the prosperity and, in some cases, even the continuance of the enterprise.
I find that corporate policies and procedures often do nothing to help retention and sometimes actually create an incentive for employees to leave.
I have compiled a list of 12 factors, easy to adopt and implement, that have proven effective in encouraging good employee to stay:
Employees should have constant, relevant feedback on their work product, work habits and other job attributes that are critical to their success within your company.
Not knowing how you are doing can lead to frustrations, discomfort and lack of security.
Employees who believe they are doing better than they actually are not only have little incentive for correcting deficiencies, but also become disenchanted when they finally are told of their shortcomings.
Conversely, individuals who believe they are doing worse than they really are have their job progress impeded by lack of confidence and sometimes leave because they fear being terminated.
Seeking and using input from employees is one of the top “gratifiers” in any employment.
People like working where they feel someone cares about what they think and where they feel they can make a difference.
3. Financial Disclosure
Always share as much information about the company’s finance as is practical.
Knowing how the company is doing makes for better team play and often eliminates the “us” versus “them” attitude that is so destructive in many organizations.
Seeing the relationship between one’s own efforts and the company’s results, whether positive or negative, helps improve overall work attitude.
To the extent possible, share plans and information with your staff, especially when there is a likelihood they will hear the news, or some version of it, from strangers.
Although it is obvious that all information should not be discussed openly with every employee of the company, it is important not to give employees false information or mislead them in order to get temporary results.
One thing that should be made clear to all employees is what their future should be.
5. Working Conditions
Office ambiance often is important to some individuals, but the intangibles are usually very important to everybody.
Whereas we all like to work in modern, efficient, air conditioned and spacious work places, those elements rarely are enough to deter a good person from seeking employment elsewhere, although lack of those items might motivate some people to move.
The real keys to good working conditions are the overall atmosphere, the work rules and the “personality” of the firm.
How to create this atmosphere easily could be the subject of a separate article, but suffice it to say here that employers should embrace policies that allow people to enjoy themselves at work.
When possible, employers should make an effort to be as flexible as possible with employees.
Flexible work hours, flexible job assignments and flexibility in performing those assignments can act as disincentives to leaving.
In most companies, people work at different levels, which can become very pronounced when performing specific tasks.
When it gets beyond a specific work assignment, however, every company should strive for an atmosphere where individuals look upon themselves as team members and communicate as equals.
Companies should strive to give employees work that is interesting and challenging. Sometimes, this can be accomplished only by rotating positions among employees.
At first, such an action might seem inefficient because it makes sense for people to continue doing what they are used to. However, the opposite often is true.
People will do best what they are interested in and challenged by rather than the routine work. Doing repetitious work often leads to job dissatisfaction, which obviously results in greater turnover.
Compensation is not only important as a means of meeting some of the materials needs and desires of the worker and his or her family, but it also is the way we keep score in the business world.
Regardless of the dollar amount, individuals often feel unrewarded if their compensation is less than it should be and if their title or status places them at a lower level.
Consequently, it is important to compensate employees in an extremely fair manner.
Although it is not always possible to allow people to advance to newer and higher levels within the company, that effort should be made whenever prudent.
Developing individuals for promotions creates a much greater work force stability than filling upper level positions with outsiders.
Although pointing out opportunities to individuals within the company sometimes can be useful, most employees will judge the level of their own opportunity by seeing what has happened to others in the business.
Individuals need to grow, and the most obvious way this growth can be accomplished is to delegate responsibility as early and as often as possible.
People seldom leave a company in which they are in the process of becoming acclimated to a new and more important role.
Employers should do everything they can to see that employees are encouraged to develop their skills to higher levels.
If employees can enhance their skills to the point of becoming an expert or specialist in a specific area, the mutual rewards easily will justify the expenditure needed to accomplish this.
Perhaps you should take a few minutes to “grade” your business in each of these 12 categories.
The human capital within your company probably is more important to you than any asset on your balance sheet. Let’s all do our best to see that we keep those assets working for us and not for our competitors.