Retaining Employees: Your Most Important Job?
I write so much about employee issues, lawsuits and “mess management” that I sometimes sound as if I don’t value employees.
The reality is that good employees are invaluable. Especially in small and medium-sized organizations, good employees are nearly irreplaceable.
Unfortunately, a national management company has found that more than 60 percent of the employees in most organizations plan to leave as soon as they have the opportunity. Imagine if even one-third of your employees suddenly departed and you were faced with the time-consuming and sometimes risky challenge of replacing them.
Perhaps more importantly, your quality employees are the ones most at risk. They are the people who are most likely to be lured away by other organizations, even your competition.
Most managers understand these realities, but too often they believe there is no place for their employees to go, or assume they have other protections from losing good staff. Other managers and owners know the danger, but are distracted by the daily distractions and “fires to put out” that is often business reality. With the weakness remaining in some areas of the economy, they may feel their team is immune to the lure of other opportunities.
It’s likely a mistake to assume your office is safe from staff theft. Experience and studies show it’s almost always a serious threat. Fortunately, a good antidote to losing good employees is relatively straightforward: interpersonal competence by management. Dealing effectively with the human aspect of your office equation will almost always allow you to gain a reasonable security with your staff.
I have noted elsewhere that sharing management’s most valuable commodity—its time and attention—can help build an important connection with staff. That connection can create a bond between employer and employee. When that bond is made, engagement occurs and turnover diminishes. The workplace environment can change for the better in many ways, even production.
If employers treat employees as mere cogs in their operation, they will see larger numbers of disengaged and apathetic employees. The good ones will be recruited away and only the mediocre will be left.
This is often a slow process that’s easy to miss. Many employers find it difficult to keep in mind, given the understandable pressures in today’s medical world. It’s easy to follow what may seem an expedient path and expect employees to “just do their work.”
Don’t let that happen. Connect with your employees. Communicate with them and listen to them. Act on some of their suggestions. And remember they are good at reading you. Don’t make a shallow attempt at this. By creating an inclusive and interpersonally competent organization, the numbers of engaged employees will grow and they will be inclined to stay.