Top 5 Employee Retention Mistakes
Yes, it's an employer's market and there are plenty of capable people looking for work in the current economic climate. But now isn't the time to sit back and assume your employees have no options available to them so you can ignore them or treat them poorly. Many employers are making these costly employee retention mistakes.
Mistake #1: My employees won't leave
If your company is like so many others out there, you may have already scaled back significantly through layoffs and cost-cutting, keeping on only your most critical and best-performing employees. Losing just one of those employees can have a significant impact on your business, so assuming they won't leave is a common and potentially very costly mistake. Many of these employees are wondering when their number will be up, so they're keeping their options open. If another company out there can offer them more security, they're going to consider it. And if you're working them to death because you're trying to do the same with less people, and another company can offer a better work/life balance, chances are they're going to explore the opportunity.
Mistake #2: No one else is hiring
Don't assume that every other company out there isn't hiring just because your company is not. Many companies are strategic in their hiring and know that other companies who have reduced staff have probably retained only their most valuable employees. While there are plenty of qualified candidates in the unemployment lines these days, companies that are hiring still look to the employed population as a source of available talent and may try to tap into your current staff to fill their ranks.
Mistake #3: They're not complaining so I'm sure they're fine
Check in with your high performing employees to see how they're handling the current economic climate. Many of them were already working at full capacity, and most likely are feeling the pressure of more demands and responsibilities in a situation where cutbacks have been made. Your high performers are the least likely to ask for help, and yet they're most responsible for the success of your company. Talk with them about how they're feeling and what you can do to help them. Work with them to prioritize and delegate where possible. Ask if there's anything happening currently that would make them consider leaving so you can tackle those issues head-on. Many employees complain that they're not asked these kinds of questions until they resign, so ask them now and address any problem areas. Ask how things are going with their current boss (assuming it's not you) to uncover any potential issues. Building a relationship that includes open communication, trust and honesty will go a long way in helping you retain key talent.
Mistake #4: They get along with their boss just fine
The number one reason why employees leave their job is a poor relationship with their boss. Plain and simple. The quality of that relationship is critical to an employee's decision to stay or go. If that relationship is not good, they may not leave right away, but chances are they'll bolt at the first opportunity. Watch for behaviors or comments from managers in your organization about employees,such as "they're lucky to have a job" and address it immediately. That kind of attitude now is going to drive your employees straight out the door as soon as the economy improves. Make employee retention a job requirement for your managers and tie incentives and performance reviews to their retention efforts. And use your conversations with your high performers to uncover any potential problems.
Mistake #5: We kept them on during tough times and they owe us their loyalty
When the economy improves, which would you rather spend your time on? Focusing on increased business opportunities so you can recover some of the revenue you've lost during the past year or so? Or recruiting, hiring and training replacements for the employees who jumped ship as soon as the tide turned in their favor?Don't assume the employees who stayed with you during this period will continue to do so, especially if you've made any of the mistakes listed here. Avoid these retention mistakes and you'll avoid spending lots of money and time when things turn around.