Hiring the right employees for your team is vital to business success.
But retaining top talent is equally, if not more, important. After all, you invest a lot of time, money and training into employees, making it all the more costly to lose them.
Unfortunately, too few employers recognize this fact until it’s too late and a top performer has been poached by the competition or starts searching for greener pastures.
The good news, is that with some effort you can spot signs of discontent early, or better yet, prevent it in the first place and build a happier, more loyal team.
Below are nine helpful tips for building more loyal, longer-lasting employees.
1. Analyze changes in performance
Deteriorating satisfaction tends to result in deteriorating performance.
That’s why one of the first steps in protecting employees from jumping ship is to analyze key performance metrics. Be on the lookout for fluctuations in things like quotas, productivity over time, the ability to complete projects on or ahead of schedule, especially when you’re sensing a negative trend. These changes can be indicative of an unhappy employee and a precursor to evaluating competing offers for employment.
2. Incentivize strong performers
One of the best ways to keep top performers is to recognize and reward their accomplishments. To do this fairly and give everyone the same opportunities, offer incentives instead of reactionary compensation. Consider providing benefits that increase with time spent at the company or pay bonuses based on things like supporting company culture.
3. Coach weaker performers
It’s important to consider that not all employees grow at the same rate. Therefore, you’ll want to be mindful of employees who aren’t performing at their best – and nurture them. Mentorship and coaching not only helps them improve into more effective employees, it also show that you consider each employee as a valuable team member worth investing in.
4. Treat them well
It seems obvious that you should treat employees well if you want to keep them. Of course, many managers and bosses elicit more fear and frustration over praise and appreciation.
Treating employees well doesn’t mean babying them. This is business, after all. But there’s a lot to be said for being firm but fair, and for being willing to listen to feedback and ideas from anyone and everyone. When your employees feel like they have “a seat at the table” they want to stay at the table.
5. Set proper expectations
Few things cause employees to run for the exits more than improperly set expectations. From job duties, to work schedule, to performance metrics, to intangibles like dress codes and office rules, make sure you’re clear from the get-go. Avoid surprises, and you’re less likely to face the surprise of their two weeks notice.
6. Foster company culture and a shared vision
People love to feel like they are a part of a team. It’s a great idea to ensure cohesion by having a shared vision and mission, and creating a company culture that unites everyone together. Company culture should be more than some cookie cutter phrases in a handbook. It should include well thought out policies, habits, and activities that bring people together, including management.
7. Give your employees the ability to self-direct
In keeping with the idea of a shared vision, you must also be willing to relinquish some control and eliminate micro-management. Let employees self-direct as long as they stay within the larger company rules and culture. Fostering this entrepreneurial spirit not only promotes creativity and ideas, it gives people a sense of pride and ownership over the work they do.
This might also mean considering things like flexible schedules and work-from-home options. While not all employees thrive in these kinds of environments, many find freedom in the workplace to be invigorating and a major reason to strive for shared success.
8. Keep an eye on the competition
Paying attention to what competitors are doing, pays dividends. That’s true across the spectrum of recruiting and hiring as well. Know who is hiring, how they are structuring positions similar to yours, and what kind of benefits and perks they offer. You may find it’s time to re-evaluate your own compensation strategy to not only keep up with the competition, but to surpass it.
9. Mitigate the fallout
At the end of the day, despite your best efforts, some amount of turnover is to be expected. When an employee leaves for the competition, it’s ok to feel a range of emotions, but it’s important to keep the business and its future in perspective.
You can help this process along by instituting non-compete and non-disclosure clauses in employee contracts from the outset of employment. These clauses can spell out what information must be protected should an employee leave for a competitor, giving you, at the very least, some peace of mind.
Wrapping up how to stop losing employees to competitors
The business of hiring and retaining employees is more competitive than ever. Thankfully, with a little planning and evaluation of your strategic options, you can overcome challenges and keep top talent on your team.
Try to put yourself in the shoes of each employee and see things through their his or her eyes in order to get a more complete picture of the work environment and its compensation structure. This can go a long way in protecting employees from competing offers while building a more secure future for your business. The following nine key tips can help make this happen:
- Watch performance closely
- Incentivize strong performance
- Coach and nurture underperformers
- Treat people well, and fairly
- Set proper expectations from the outset
- Foster a strong company culture
- Give your employees some freedom to self-direct
- Watch the competition
- Mitigate the fallout