Invest in Your Most Valuable Asset: Your Employees

What are you doing to retain your employees? Many employers assume that offering a good salary, challenging job, and a great work environment is enough to keep your employees from going elsewhere.  But is this really enough?

Embody your values – give up your parking spot!

If you, as an employer, are to maintain loyal employees, you must begin by modeling the values you ask your employees to embody and provide to those they serve. If you are asking your employees to put their customers first, you need to put your employees first. 

Look no further than the parking lot for a great example of putting your employees first.  Think of the parking lot at your place of business.  Where do you park? Is there a designated space for you, your administration, or other key executives? Is it closer to the main entrance than the parking spot for your employees?  If you park closer to the main entrance than your employees, ask yourself why.  Is it because you deserve the closer parking space, either by merit or position?  Give your employees the closer parking spot.  Make them feel more important. They are typically the closest to your customers and need to provide great service.  Employees that feel important are more likely to relay that into great customer service. They will respect you more and this is necessary if you are to establish trust, respect, and loyal employees.

Solicit candid feedback – award gold stars!

Many employees are afraid of providing feedback because they think their candid responses will be tracked, or that their immediate superiors will somehow find out.  Worse, sometimes their immediate superiors are the issue. How do you solicit candid feedback?

Introduce a recognition program that rewards your employees for their ideas.  Many employees pass up suggestion boxes or simply do not candidly complete a feedback survey. Develop a program that solicits ideas and rewards employees a gold star for each idea that is then implemented.  Develop certificates employees can keep and to which they add their gold stars.  When they earn 5 stars, offer a bigger prize. Most people are willing to provide suggestions for improvement, especially when there is recognition or a monetary award associated with the submission.  Follow through with your rewards and recognition, and make it a big deal!

Solicit ideas regularly.  Often, the ideas submitted are really areas for improvement that would keep employees from looking elsewhere.

Offer skill development workshops – truly invest in your employees!

Often, employees will leave due to reasons that could have been avoided.   For example, employees will leave a job they enjoy to pursue a more lucrative opportunity they may not even enjoy. They believe they have to trade in a great job in order to pay the bills. In reality, some of these employees may not need more lucrative jobs – they may just need better financial management skills.

What can you do to retain these employees while improving their situation?  Offer professional development workshops that target their needs, such as a personal finance workshop.  It is surprising how many employees do not feel like they are in control of their finances.  Many have never stuck to a budget and simply creating one will help them track their money flow.  Offer employees the knowledge and tools to make better financial decisions.  These types of workshops will help employees take control of their finances and often will reveal that they may not need to take a more lucrative job after all.

The skills developed after taking professional development workshops reduce stress levels and allow your employees to focus on their job better.  Your employees will feel truly valued, and when employees feel valued, they will hesitate to look somewhere else.

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