Employee turnover is a fact of life in the business world, and not necessarily a bad thing—particularly if new entrants are exceptionally skilled and qualified, and the rate of turnover is manageable. But if you’ve experienced higher-than-normal employee turnover, you know howdisruptive it can be to the day-to-day operations of your business.
Regardless of their experience, credentials, and expertise, new hires require training and time to both become familiar with the workplace and integrate themselves successfully into its social milieu. Whereas employees who’ve been with the company for a while have had ample opportunity to learn by doing and develop automaticity with mundane tasks, newcomers initially tend to perform these duties more slowly and less sure-handedly. At least temporarily, this can cause friction, encumber productivity, and detract from the bottom line.
Much of the advice that follows can be encapsulated in a simple axiom: If you want your employees to stick around, give them good reasons to do so.
During the hiring process, favour candidates who seem compatible with your company culture.
Begin with a list of “must-have” qualities for candidates, and narrow the search down to individuals who meet those criteria. Include not only professional qualifications, but social skills and personality traits as well. Is this person equipped to handle the unique challenges of your business? Does s/he seem like s/he would get along well with the other staff, and customers/clients?
Do some research into the job market. What kind of compensation are employees in comparable positions receiving elsewhere?
Search online job boards for positions requiring a comparable skill set, and pay attention to the compensation and benefits that other companies offer—especially your competitors. If you can’t match other businesses in terms of salary, you’ll probably need to offer non-financial incentives—such as a flexible work schedule, greater convenience, shorter hours, or legitimate prospects for upward mobility—to convince employees to stay.
Praise good work, and offer specific constructive criticism of not-so-good work.
Everyone likes to hear that s/he has done a great job. By taking the time to provide positive feedback and congratulate employees on their successes, you will both enhance their positive feelings about the company and encourage desirable work habits.
Delivering criticism of less-than-stellar work in a diplomatic manner, without provoking defensiveness or resistance, is one of the most delicate tasks that managers face. Begin by mentioning at least one thing you appreciate about the recent efforts of the employee in question. When you arrive at the substance of the critique, be very specific about what you would like that person to do differently. Avoid accusatory statements; instead, favour phrases like “In future, it would be great if you could (specific instruction).”
Offer opportunities for growth and development.
Ideally, a relationship between employee and employer is mutually beneficial: the employer garners an opportunity to elevate h/er business to new heights with the help of a talented professional, while the employee enjoys the chance to grow, cultivate new skills, and experience success in a business environment. But an employee is in no way beholden to your organization; at some point, s/he will consider moving on in search of greener pastures, especially if s/he detects a risk of career stagnation. By offering reasonable opportunities for learning, growth, and career advancement, you increase the likelihood that employees will remain with your company over the long term.
A raise or bonus can be a powerful motivating tool.
Even a modest salary increase sends a psychological message to employees that the company’s managers value their hard work, and would like it to continue.