Employee retention is a huge key for any successful business.  I’m not just talking about okay or average employee retention; quality long term employee retention is a HUGE factor and is the real key.  One amazing fact is that while money is and will always be a factor in retaining employees, it is not the only factor, in fact money is not normally the number one reason that key employees give for leaving a company, when asked, business and employment experts will generally say financial reasons rank on the lower end of the top ten.  I’ve seen several studies and in most of them only 12-15% of employees left their employer because of the money, HOWEVER 85-90% of employers THINK that money is the reason why the employee left.  I’ve heard before, and this rings true, “employees don’t quit the company they quit the management.”  So let me tell you three KEY things that you can do right now to be a better manager and a better leader to keep your key players intact.

  1. Train yourself.  The only way you can effectively train others (step 2) is if you know the material that you expect your people to know, yourself; and to stay ahead of the curve to continue learning new things.  If you are a sales manager reading this, most of the time this line runs through your head, “Why do I need to know _____, I’m not on the front line anymore – I’m a powerhouse on the desk!”  Well the reason you need to is exactly that, you have to have the ability to do more than just inspect what you expect, YOU HAVE TO FIRST PERFORM WHAT YOU EXPECT.  I am certain that while you may be a desking powerhouse, or you can “close any deal that comes your way.”  You will have a whole lot of nothing if your employees never get a prospect to that point.  You have to perform what you expect and get out of your chair and SHOW your people that you still have got it.
  2. Train your people.  As you gain more knowledge and learn new things, pay it forward to your staff.  As a manager or leader, if you continually have something new and fresh to offer, often people will stay because you are a participant in growing them.  This is huge, be a participant not a spectator in your employees growth and learning.  Even if you go back and recap the things that they or you know, but “forgot,” your employees will be thankful for the refresher course.  This cannot just be a management whim or a once-in-a-while thing; you have to train and train consistently.
  3. Connect with your people one on one and give feedback (and take it).  People are social creatures, they want to connect with you and feel important and that what they are doing is important.  What I am not saying is that you have beers out with your team or that you have to have a weekend barbeque to impress that you care about them.  What I am saying is that you need to be sure to make time to listen when an employee has a concern or problem.  Make 10-15 minutes out of your day to give real, honest feedback on that individual’s performance, don’t pull any punches if they are making a mistake somewhere; offer strong praise when you catch them in the act of doing something right.  Allow your people in that one on one environment to give honest feedback of YOUR performance as well, and don’t get defensive, in fact don’t even respond, just listen to the input then go back to work. Learn from your people too.

If you want a return on investment… you must first invest and then start looking for the return.  Things will not kick-start or change on their own, you must take action, get out of your seat and start with a plan right now.  You can start right now, find a mentor (or someone who knows something you don’t, and that you want to learn), pick up a new book, enroll in a new seminar and start training yourself first, THEN train those around you.  It only will take a few minutes a day, you can start connecting right now.  Provide your employees more than TLC, give TRC – Train, Re-train, Connect and you’ll have higher quality, longer lasting employees and better employee satisfaction in the process.