Love, The Greatest and Best Retention Tool

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November 03, 2008

Hold on now HR people, we’re not talking about hugs and kisses. No sexual harassment and hostile work environment situations. However, my thoughts with this kind of retention strategy hover a bit above the notion of love and caring for employees. In my opinion, it is in fact, a greater retention tool than money, bonuses, gifts, cards, letters or any other form of corporate concept to address high turnover. Not to say that those items don’t contribute in a positive manner to the workforce, they just can’t do it alone. What is it that your employee’s are asking you to do? Let’s take a quick look at what they’re asking for and what they believe “love” from you is:

Inspire Me
Here you need to be of strong support to your employees and staff. Take them to the next level; show them you care about their development. Please throw away the older management concept of “chain of command.” I’m here to tell you that this concept will not work with 21st century management. The next generations of employees only respect a leader after the leader has shown respect to them. A leader that inspires, and really takes the concept of servant leadership to the highest mark, will see the lowest turnover and the highest productivity from their teams, it’s just that simple. Inspire me is all about being one with an employee. You provide the tools, you provide the means for them to do their jobs, give them what they need. 

Know Me
Do you know your employees? It doesn’t matter whether you manage five or 50, the question is do you know your staff? Who are they? What are their likes and dislikes? How about their favorite thing to do on the weekend? We spend so much time as managers talking about how we can retain our people. In fact, 80 percent of companies talk about retention strategies, but only 20 percent actually execute plans to combat it. It’s sad really. Do you know me? Make it a part of your schedule to spend one on one time with staff to learn about them. How many kids do they have? Dreams? Inspirations? Phobias? Greatest successes?  Take the time, it will pay big dividends and will also make you a happier more engaged manager and leader.

Communicate With Me
One of the top reasons why people leave companies is lack of communication with their manager. Let’s face it; people leave companies because of bad management. Feel free to give me a call or email and I can elaborate. I’ve studied and participated in exit interviews and no matter what the reason the exiting employee gives, down deep inside, it’s the manager that is the reason.  Communicate with me!....say your staff. Listen, talk to me, tell me how we’re doing, how does my position contribute to the common good, or simply take some time to just talk to me and tell me how your weekend was. Through good communication techniques, a manager can break down so many barriers of mistrust with employees. Get and keep employees engaged, have them work hard for you and really go the extra mile for their leader……communicate with them.

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Care About Me
Earlier in my HR career, I once thought that employees needed to leave their personal issues at the door when they walked into the office. Leave your personal problems on that hanger on the door when you come to work and pick it up when you leave.  How wrong I was! It took me nearly 10 years to observe and understand just the opposite. If our staff has personal issues going on, it’s our job as managers to assist them with getting through those tough times as much as we can. Organizations often have many tools to assist with this. Despite your personal proxemics, this could be the best time to offer a hug to a staff member or even a prayer. Managers and leaders, we need to hold ourselves just as accountable to loving our employees as we are to initiating the performance management process when it dictates action based on absenteeism. In other words, if we can pay as much attention to employee’s needs as we do with P&P and SOP, we’d be in a much better place as an organization. Take the time to show some love!

Grow Me
Our staff and employees are begging us to develop, train and assist them in their work. Almost 100 percent of generation X and Y would agree with this. Simply, if we don’t provide these tools, they will leave our organizations. Succession planning, training and development, seminars, and investing time into people sounds daunting doesn’t it? What manager has the time? We need to make the time. Again, as corporations, we spend a lot of time talking about strategy, monthly P&Ls, MORs, media issues, threats of the economy and its impact on our bottom line.  But ask yourself, how much time do you take each week to develop your people?  My guess for most managers is very little.  It’s not necessarily our fault though. We have so many things to do in a work week. It’s not like we’re not trying. I hear you! However, the best retention strategies must include this concept of “grow me.” 

If all these five principle can be managed well and developed, your organization should not have a recruitment crisis on its hands.  Aside from growth strategies, those who say we’re in or are soon to be facing a recruitment crisis have got it wrong. Ask yourself why you have open job requisitions open in the first place? Why are people leaving? Ignore the obvious answers you get during exit interviews from people who are afraid to burn bridges: “better opportunity, more pay, better benefits, commute, personal”….sound familiar?  Here’s the key: Why are they looking in the first place?  If your organization can cover these five points, I am convinced that you won’t need to worry about open reqs as much as you may now. 

Please feel free to give me a call or send an email.  I would enjoy an opportunity to discuss strategies on how you can offer more love to your staff and company.

Brian Beck, PHR, MHROD
Director of Human Resources
Lovelace Westside Hospital
(505) 727-2255

[email protected]

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