How to Keep Your Best Employees

i love my job
How to Keep Your Best Employees Happy

The Computer Merchant, Ltd. (Frank Anigbo)

Replacing a great employee who leaves is very costly. Not only is the process of finding a suitable replacement expensive and time-consuming, on average it will cost about half a year’s salary to bring a replacement up to sufficient speed. Add to that the risks associated with new hires, like hiring someone who appeared great on paper and interviews but ultimately proves an unsuitable fit for the role or company.

Unfortunately, most companies do not place as much value in employee retention strategies as the amount of effort and expense put into hiring new people.

When it comes to your star employees — these are the employees that naturally become a productivity core around which many other employees orbit and are inspired by to rise above themselves, not having a retention strategy can expose your company to unnecessary and potentially damaging losses. This is especially true for smaller companies.

It is incumbent on organizations to recognize that the effort expended to find great employees must be matched by an ongoing effort to make sure they do not leave for some avoidable reason.

Here are some important steps you can take to keep your best people happy.

Hire for Attitude

To have great employees, you must first hire great employees. When it comes to team players, a good attitude is everything. Of course you must hire people with the hard skills and qualifications required for a given role, but you should not ignore attitude or a sense of fit when assessing a potential new hire.

Skills can be taught, a bad attitude is much harder to ditch. It is far better to hire an enthusiastic team-player with 80% skill, then bring them the rest of the way, than hire for 100% talent tinged with bad attitude. Not only will the employee with a chip on his shoulder unlikely to get along with other team members, they probably will do damage to the emotional health of their co-workers.

Pay Well

Pay your top employees better than market rate, because it tells them that you recognize they are something special. That said, it’s a bad idea to pay other people at the same job less as that is guaranteed to create discord when word gets out – and word will get out. Equal pay for equal work, just make it above market rate so you are not exposed to losing your star employees to another company.

Create a Path for Growth

While good pay is important, it is even more important to provide a path for professional growth. The most creative and productive employees are driven by challenges, not money. If you give your employees the opportunity for greater knowledge, professional development and challenges, they will remain interested and likely to stick around. Nothing encourages a Rockstar to leave than not seeing a path to big and interesting things.

Be Proactive in Recognizing Great Performance

The most talented people will rarely ask for a pay raise, not because they do not think they deserve it but because they do not believe they should have to ask; it should already be obvious. It is up to the company to proactively and generously give their star employees the recognition they have earned, in a pay raises, bonuses and a promotion whenever possible and appropriate.

If you leave it to the good employee to ask for a raise when they are clearly due one, such requests will be made from a negative emotional place. Even if you grant the request, the trust that your employee had placed in you, the company, may already be irreparably damaged. Trust must go in both direction.

Provide Opportunities for Good Work/Life Balance

For the most creative people, money is a distant second to a healthy work/life balance. As the saying goes, money cannot buy you happiness. Add to that saying: play makes for a happy life and a happy life makes for a better worker.

Give your employees, especially your star people the freedom from the rigors of a hectic work life, with opportunities to occasionally work remotely and not be tied to a strict office schedule, their role in the company permitting, of course.

Do Not Micromanage

Great employees are great because they are self-starters and know what to do and when to do it. Give them their goals and responsibilities and leave them alone; they are good enough to ask questions and seek direction when they need to. With the exception of periodic status meetings, trust them and leave them alone or they will leave before long.

Get Their Input and Act On It

Forget the standard annual review, use impromptu sit-downs to talk freely with your employees, especially the very best ones. Encourage them to tell you what they think and changes they would like to see made. While you may not be able to (or want to) do everything someone asks, acknowledging input and implementing meaningful suggestions will go a long way to making your employees feel valued.

Your best employees know their jobs better than anyone, give them the opportunity to direct making their performance even better.

Get Rid of Bad Actors

As there are great employees, so are bad ones – I’m talking about the ones that are poisonous to a healthy work experience. These are the gossips, bullies and serial detractors. Your people spend a greater part of their daily lives in their work environment. As their employer, you owe it to them to make those hours as pleasant as possible. Create and maintain a healthy workplace by getting rid of the bad actors, or you will most assuredly lose the good ones.

Have Fun Often

Ice cream socials are a good thing, so are pizza and beer socials, and inter-team softball challenges. It might not seem like much but these little things foster a sense of family and responsibility for the wellbeing of co-workers.

The Computer Merchant, Ltd.

At the Computer Merchant, Ltd., our team of expert IT recruiters utilize a state-of-the-art candidate sourcing engine to search our database of over 13 million IT talent for active job seekers, and our deep networks of passive, pre-qualified and proven technology professionals with the experience and skills demanded by our clients.

Our proprietary consultant onboarding, assignment management and compliance monitoring and enforcement systems has been praised by both clients and contractors for its efficiency and accuracy in getting new hires to work and keeping both clients and their employees informed throughout the life of an assignment.

We provide our clients an 80-hour guarantee on all hires. We can do this because we provide the best available candidates anywhere in the U.S.

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