Part 3: People: Your Most Valuable Asset – How to Retain the Best People in Your Company
In the first article of this series, we discussed the value of good people in the Factoring industry. Whether in sales or operations, the key to success for your company, is having the right people in the right positions. In the second article, we discussed how important a great company culture is to ensure an atmosphere which will enhance the growth of your people. In turn, this will boost the growth of your company productivity. Finally, we will conclude this series with several methods for retaining the best people in your organization.
Why do employees leave?
In order to discuss employee retention, we must determine why people leave one company and go to another and how you, as a managing team member, can keep this from happening. These problems can be stated in a variety of different ways. However, it generally comes down to the three very basic reasons, which are listed below.
Looking for something new
First, an internal issue is the #1 reason that more than fifty percent of people leave one organization and join another. People will leave your company because they are trying to get away from something. They could be in a situation where they are uncomfortable or feel that they are being stifled in their career. Alternatively, perhaps there is a personality conflict with another employee or with a member of the company’s senior management.
The most common complaints are: not feeling appreciated, having no input in the organization, reaching the pinnacle of what is available to them, and having someone in the company making life miserable for them in their day to day work life. The way to combat this is simple, yet not so simple. Do you have individuals in your company that have a lack of respect for the people around them? If you do, then you should address the problem and either terminate or counsel that individual on the value of all of the employees in the organization. If the problem is you, then good luck. Your turnover will continue unless you can recognize the problem and correct it. Self-correction for an owner or senior manager is one of the hardest goals to attain.
These can also be reasons that not-so-good people leave, however we will concentrate on only the good people you want to retain. As mentioned in the previous article, company culture is a major key to employee retention. Statistically speaking, this is the primary area where you can exert the most control in keeping employees happy within your organization. One last suggestion, which is very inexpensive to implement, is simply letting people know that you value their contribution and appreciate the extra mile that they are willing to go. People spend thirty percent of their lives on the job. If they feel like they are a viable part of the organization, they are better employees and they will stay with your company. If they feel they are just a cog in a wheel with no future, they will naturally seek other opportunities to better their situation.
One last suggestion, which is very inexpensive to implement, is simply letting people know that you value their contribution and appreciate the extra mile that they are willing to go. People spend thirty percent of their lives on the job. If they feel like they are a viable part of the organization, they are better employees and they will stay with your company. If they feel they are just a cog in a wheel with no future, they will naturally seek other opportunities to better their situation.
Looking for a better career path is the second reason an individual might decide to leave your organization. Employees may choose to seek out a place where they are able to accomplish greater things and have the chance to advance their career. In most cases, there is little to no defense against this reason for leaving. If you have a great sales person who is leaving to become a sales manager and you already have a sales manager, then how can you offer them anything that can compare? This scenario is difficult, especially in small companies. Money will not retain employees who feel they’ve reached a glass ceiling. The best course of action is to wish them well as they depart. Just as when children grow up and leave their parents, people will grow through your organization and then move on to better opportunities. It would be detrimental in these types of situations to make a counteroffer; scrambling to save someone will only prolong the agony and they will leave anyway. Cross training is an intricate part of allowing people to progress in their careers and grow as individuals, while remaining in your company. It provides employees with more valuable skill sets and helps your organization maintain the best talent at the same time. Another key component is to ensure that you include your employees in the goals of the company.
Finally, an additional reason for an individual to leave is for money. This should not be a surprise to anyone. Money is always a motivating factor. Paying good talent the current market rate is your first defense against losing individuals for this reason. If you are suppling what the position is worth, and not taking advantage of your employees, there isn’t much more you can do. When you feel that you are getting a bargain on a talented person, be sure to review his or her salary and keep it at the market rate. If you aren’t willing to do this, someone else will recognize their abilities and snatched them away from you.
Although money is usually the first motivation we think of for changing jobs, it is generally the third most common reason people leave positions and seek other opportunities. Unfortunately, some employees are never happy and always want more. I’m certain you have met the type of individuals who believe the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Quite frankly, if money is the only thing that brought them to you or keeps them with you, then, when the next highest bidder comes around the corner, and they will be gone again.
In closing, it is clear that no magic bullet exists which will enhance employee retention. As in all phases of your business, it is up to you, as an owner or senior manager, to make the work atmosphere of your company attractive and conducive to people wanting to be there every day. If you can accomplish this lofty goal, you will retain the best people. If you cannot, you will continue to lose them to work environments and opportunities that do foster this atmosphere. The choice is yours.