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Do This Not That: Retaining Top Talent

Allie Kelly

This is the fourth installment in JazzHR’s “Do This Not That” series.

Employee retention is often a topic not covered in managerial training and it’s of the utmost importance. You’ve done it. You’ve got a fully stacked team and don’t have any open reqs. Everyone is up to speed on the team, and it’s like you’ve got a well-oiled machine. Projects are on schedule, profits are up, and bam! You get handed a letter of resignation. The rush of questions comes to mind. What happened? Why is this person leaving? What could I have done? What if I can’t get a new req approved? How am I going to make time to source and interview candidate’s? With 50% of all employees who quit citing their manager for the reason for leaving, it’s important to stay ahead of the pitfalls that lead to an employee leaving you in the dust.

Dilbert Cartoon

Here’s our top 10 list of no-no’s to avoid, and how to correct them:

1. When you don’t say thank you.

Maybe you aren’t in a position to incentivize or reward your team financially, but recognizing hard or quality work goes a long way. Always say thank you. It’s a golden rule, after all. 2. When you don’t notice exhaustion. There’s always a time when employees put in extra time for a big project, or stay late to finish an assignment. But when it becomes a regular occurrence, you’re risking burn out. Be mindful of how much time your employees are putting in regularly, and when it’s too much, tell them to hang it up. 3. When you don’t exercise passion. If your employee is passionate about a part of their job, make sure they can pursue it. Even if you can’t offer them 100% dedicated time to it, remember a little goes a long way. 4. When you don’t honor commitments. Remember when you promised Tom that promotion and during reviews, it didn’t happen? Make it happen. Did you tell your Amy she’d have a team under them in Q2? Make it happen. Be true to your word. If you can’t, be upfront as to why. 5. When you don’t care.Your employees work hard all day, every day. But now they have an outside priority – maybe a birth, a death, a home project‚Ķ something that is taking the exhaustive energy of this person. Show some empathy‚Ķ after all, you’d hope for the same from your manager. 6. When you don’t approve vacation time. I once worked for a manager who never allowed me to take a vacation during a holiday because I was single, didn’t have kids, and for a time, I was the newest member of the team. PTO is a benefit. When your company offers it, employees need to be allowed to take it. Also, don’t be that guy. 7 . When you don’t have fun. Ever. An occasional lunch outside of the office, drinks after work, or an offsite outing not only provide the opportunity for team building, they show your employees that there’s more to the job than just thankless hours at the office. Give them a moment to relax with their colleagues. 8. When you don’t offer transparency, or insights into the big picture. Top performers want to see that their work has purpose. Sharing road maps, plans, and data with your team helps them to understand where their work fits into the company, and gives them insights into the bigger picture. Don’t keep them in the dark. 9. When you don’t pay your team fairly. Granted cost of living increases and bonus payouts may be out of your control as a manager, but if you know that new hires are coming in at higher pay levels than current employees, push for a market adjustment or pay increase. Employees who feel they are paid fairly feel more valued. It’s true what they say, “money talks.” 10. When you don’t develop your team’s skills or allow growth. 97% of 2017 grads said they will need on-the-job training to further their careers according to a 2017 Accenture report. Growth and development are essential for an employee. While you may not want to pay for certification or training that an employee will immediately use to take elsewhere, it is critical to continue to advance your staff to keep your talent pool — and therefore output — at the top. After all, you want your company to remain ahead of your competition, right? Allowing your staff to continue their education, whether a 2-hour class or an advanced degree, not only empowers them to stay current with their skill set and grow professionally but feel valued as a member of the team. Use these tips to retain your top talent, and ensure a productive, purpose-filled, and successful team. Like this series or want to see more like it? Leave us your feedback in the comments.

Allie Kelly


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