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Do Ask, Do Tell

Most bosses are shocked when an employee presents them with a two-week notice. In particular, those who manage from the boardroom commonly just assume that staff are happy, fulfilled, and feel fortunate to work for their company.

While employees may appear engaged, the truth is a good number of them are not happy, as reported by Grow America. According to a Harris Interactive study, a surprising 74 percent of those employed full-time are open to new opportunities. They are either open to or are actively seeking new employment opportunities.

Disengaged and unhappy workers pose a risk to your corporate culture and your business’ productivity. Unfortunately, if your employees are unhappy, they probably aren’t telling you.

Interestingly, salary is not the top cause for moving on. Rather, the main reason people quit their jobs, adds Grow America, is lack of recognition. Secondary considerations involve office culture, environment and personnel. Not money. And although attractive compensation is certainly a motivator, employees often seek a position greater responsibility and an employer who trusts in his or her abilities.

Investing time in the people who help serve your clients makes good sense, and ultimately, dollars and cents.

Tips for retaining good people

  • Poll employees for reasons they might consider another opportunity and then launch a campaign to address those concerns.
  • Talk to your people one-on-one about what you can do better to retain them.
  • Engage in regular, open conversations with employees that encourage sharing without recourse.
  • Communicate value for your employees now, not when they decide to leave. Provide constant feedback instead of waiting for the antiquated annual review.

Tips for handling employee attrition

  • If an employee does resign, ask why. Conduct formal exit interviews to identify trends and address issues.
  • In most cases, the employee/employer relationship can’t be reconciled, and so when when an employee gives notice or expresses a desire to move on, bid the individual a fond farewell.
  • Demonstrate professionalism and good will by suggesting a timeframe for departure that allows the employee to find another job while you seek a replacement.
  • Never counter-offer out of desperation. This rarely works, and more often than not the employee will leave eventually regardless.
  • Employ a strategic, sales-like methodology for ongoing recruiting, and cross-train your current workforce to prevent crisis situations.
  • Make sure when interviewing prospective new talent that you understand what motivates them. Continue to keep this in mind as you onboard new hires and manage their career path within your organization.

Creating an environment of trust that supports transparency can prevent the unfortunate loss of good people. Plus, if and when they do leave, the parting of ways is more likely to be positive.

This content is from my new book, “Solve the People Puzzle: How High-Growth Companies Attract & Retain Top Talent.” The book features compelling research, specific personal and client stories and key perspectives from top business leaders and experts – all in a format that’s easy to read and prompts readers to act. It’s an executive’s guide to finding, keeping and growing the best. Buy it on Amazon today. 



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