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Human Resources Insights

Keeping Great Employees

What is the secret to keeping your best employees?  Good pay, flexible work hours, or generous vacation time?  

Maybe a little of all of the above.  But I have found, over my many years in human resources, that people thrive and even contribute more effectively, when the following three (3) attributes for success exist.

•    a good company culture,

•    an opportunity to be heard and to             contribute (engagement)

•    a respectful team around them.

A good company culture is characterized by open communication, fair policies and compassionate practices for dealing with issues, changes and challenges that may occur in a person’s life. What do I mean by “compassionate practices?”  I mean that people are treated like human beings: with respect and consideration, especially when issues arise at work that may reflect a change in a person’s behaviors.  Do you talk confidentially with the employee to find out what is going on in their life?  Do you have steps that can be taken to get a person some help?  Do you not condemn or pass judgment, especially until you have a better idea what factors contributed to their situation?  People are creatures of habit and most sudden changes in behavior stem from a problem in the person’s life such as marital/family issues, addiction or health problems.

People also thrive on an opportunity to be heard and contribute.  Have you ever seen the look on someone’s face when they get credit for a good idea or to help solve a situation with their idea or input?  It’s like the sun shining through their eyes!  They show joy and their face reflects the pride they feel in the opportunity to have made a valued contribution!  Those contributions must be acknowledged and appreciated by you for what they are … engagement and effort!

Last, but definitely not least, every successful organization must support and expect that respectful treatment is the cornerstone of their people philosophy!  Without respect you have nothing.  When people or policies are condemning or harsh, you will have nothing but meek, fearful and hesitant employees focused on how to CYA (cover your a$$).  That is clearly not a productive work environment. 

First and foremost, you have to embrace and recognize that turnover has costs to the organization in lost productivity and morale.  When you do, you can make changes toward ensuring you can keep your good staff.  I’d do this by making sure your pay policies and incentives are in line with your competition.  Basic incentives, recognition programs or other rewards can go a long way to increase employee morale and thus productivity and longevity.  

It is unfortunate, but many organizations today do not put much time or effort into ensuring that they retain their valued talent.  Why?   I think that it is because, 1) we are too busy with the day to day, 2) we take for granted that people need their job, and 3) we don’t appreciate what we’ve got until it’s gone.  Good employees tend to be good because of their people skills not just their results.  To reduce turnover and dissention, you must not be afraid to tell your employees, at least once in a while, that you appreciate their efforts and contributions.  

HR Question of the month: Please send your HR questions and concerns, or share your thoughts on your human resources challenges via email to the following address. Send input to vegaslinda89129@yahoo.com. Your comments, questions or concerns will help determine the direction for my next month’s column and earn you a copy of my book. Include your mailing address when sending your responses.

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