Retention is the new black: How to encourage and keep your employees

| May 19, 2022

It’s no secret that the Great Resignation (or is it the Great Realignment? Great Reshuffle?) is challenging for companies globally. Employees are re-evaluating their priorities and changing jobs, even pivoting careers.

I’m a big fan of movement to keep individuals energised during long careers. Still, this burst of change across the world is making it hard foreven some of the best firms to retain top talent.

How can executives ensure that key employees stay? Certainly, increased flexibility is required, but the key lies in ensuring employees feel their contributions are recognised and valued, and that they can see a promising future for themselves with the firm.

What does this look like on a practical basis? In my new book, Don’t Quit Your Day Job: The 6 mindshifts you need to Rise and Thrive at work, I’ve drawn on four decades of persevering at my career, through the highs and the lows, to share insights on how leaders can  encourage and retain employees. Some highlights:

  • Model boundary-setting: For all its benefits, flexibility can have serious downsides, like creating the feeling that work oozes into all hours of the day and night. Show people you recognize they have a life outside work by experimenting with ideas like a moratorium on email at certain times, reserving morning hours for focused brain work, or sharing your calendar which shows that you take time to go for a daily bike ride.
  • Highlight your employees’ strengths: Tell them what they are good at and give examples of times they have used valuable strengths. Don’t wait for periodic performance reviews to do this – do it at the time. Praising in public is even better (where relevant). This helps people develop andboosts confidence.
  • Provide constructive feedback: If certain skills are missing or not visible, provide clear, actionable feedback on what employees need to show or where they should improve. Be specific.Share your intention to help them succeed. Your clear thinking and support demonstrate that you value the employee.
  • Create development opportunities: Help employees come up with opportunities to develop key skills they need to rise. If they need to be more strategic, get them involved with future-oriented projects. If they need to show they have a global outlook, help them find cross-border tasks to undertake.
  • Manage expectations: Let your employees know when a promotion is likely to occur or isn’t. There may not be a need for a higher-level person in your country of business at that moment, meaning a promotion isn’t possible, even if a person is ready for it. Be honest with employees and let them know when it isn’t their fault.

As a leader, an essential part of your role is to help employees develop and to get deserving ones promoted. Bolstering your employees’ careers not only assists in retaining top talent, it also creates a positive, supportive workplace culture and helps increase engagement at work and commitment to the firm.