What’s one thing leaders in your company wish they didn’t have to do so often? If you answered “hiring” you are not alone. Our trainers hear a lot these days about the high costs of hiring—and for good reason. More and more employees are disengaged, and more leaders haven’t learned how to retain employees.
Job-hopping goes hand-in-hand with disengagement, which can also be costly for employers. “The replacement cost of an employee can be 150% of his or her annual salary or more—for example, as much as $150,000 or more for a worker with an annual salary of $100,000.”
Employers who disregard the significance of these engagement statistics are making a costly mistake, especially when taking action is relatively easy.
Here are the top ten management techniques for leaders in your company to learn how to retain employees and minimize the need for more hiring:
1. Empower managers to serve as mentors. If an employee begins to experience problems with engagement, it’s important to intermediate as quickly as possible so that the feelings of discontent don’t progress further. “Some managers simply don’t take the personal approach that is often necessary for getting through to an employee…. Improving employee engagement means serving as a mentor for those who are facing issues, regardless of how busy you may be. Offer your help. Drop what you’re doing and just help! Setting aside just a bit of time to help someone who is struggling in their job can go quite a long way.”
2. Focus on your onboarding process. Employers can build relationships and leverage new job excitement by coming alongside new employees through the process to guide and direct. Employees will gain confidence more quickly, thereby shortening and making the process more effective. Those in managerial positions should make themselves available when new employees join the team, even if they aren’t directly doing the training, as this will help to ensure any issues that pop up are addressed as quickly as possible.
3. Share ownership of decisions and projects. Speaking of inviting employees to give input, ask for their input on key decisions to be made. Wherever possible, let them make more decisions when the cost isn’t too high. By giving more ownership, you invite more responsibility and buy-in. But beware: don’t ask for input if you really aren’t going to listen, or if you intend to override their decision. That approach will leave you with even more disengagement.
4. Offer training opportunities on a regular basis. As more workers take ownership of career growth, regular opportunities for professional development become important to retaining highly-engaged employees. Offer in-house training options. Bring in speakers. Host workshops. Make it predictable when possible so they can schedule it into their growth plans.
5. Make your company purpose clear. What is your company’s why? Why does the company exist? If you don’t know, start there and get clarity. Then communicate it well and often. Keep the company purpose front and center to remind all of why they do what they do.
6. Stand for something worth working for. What are your core values? Does everyone know them? Post them where all can see. Refer to the list often in communication. Be sure the values you convey are ones that matter for the long-term and that resonate with lasting issues of life.
7. Invite employees into the hiring process. By letting current employees have a say in hiring, you give them ownership for the process, and you allow them a vested interest in seeing new hires succeed. The result will be increased engagement with one another and motivation to help one another succeed—if you use their input rather than ignore it.
8. Establish clear procedures for dealing with conflict. As long as people are involved, there will be conflict. But do employees know how to handle it when it arises? Empower them to succeed by giving them clear steps to take to resolve relational issues. Provide mediation options. Establish company norms. The less conflict and tension at work, the more likely employees are to engage.
9. Keep leadership approachable. Much has been said about having an open-door policy, or even establishing open office hours for leaders in a company. All of that is good, but leaders can make themselves accessible in any number of ways—if they want to. When leaders show they care about the people in the company, the people are more likely to care about the company.
10. Cultivate a culture of gratitude. Little things matter over time. Simple expressions of gratitude— saying thank you, sending a sincere note, or finding creative ways to get the message across— will foster an environment of appreciation.
When someone knows his or her efforts are appreciated, chances are good he or she will be happy to help again when needed. If not, well, they’re likely to find better things to do. Wouldn’t you?
There’s no rush for your team leaders to hire new employees until they’ve applied these proven techniques with the employees they already have.
By putting these tips into practice, managers can determine what needs are not being met among disengaged employees—and shift their management approaches to keep employees fully engaged and productive.