Managers in all industries have to deal with turnover eventually, and in today’s market it is especially important to be effective in retaining or replacing talented team members. One online article estimates that 76% of employees are actively looking for other employment. How can you keep your best performers in an employment environment like that?
1. Know Who Your Best Performers Really Are: This sounds simple but it needs to be approached objectively, and most managers are not effective at identifying who is doing their job well versus who is managing their boss well. Identify objective measures of job performance, and look at your staff in the cold light of those criteria. You might be surprised.
2. One-on-One Interaction: Nothing replaces face time with you. If you aren’t spending time with your direct reports, you are missing an opportunity to make them feel valued (which for some of them is more important than money). You could also be missing out on the early warning signs that would tip you off to the impending departure of a high performer.
3. Make Work Meaningful: Viktor Frankl said it best: “Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives.” People want goals to strive for, and rewards for achieving those goals. They also want to know that their work makes a difference, so tell them how their work integrates with the overall goals of the company. One of the worst things a manager can do is assume that his team members already know.
4. Be Clear: Ask any group of employees what they value in a boss and somewhere on the list will be clear communication about what is expected. Rather than waiting until annual (or even quarterly) performance evaluations, be outspoken about what constitutes an A-level performance and how they are matching up to that standard.
But what about those times you can’t retain, and instead have to replace, a key performer? In his book “How to Hire A-Players”, Eric Herrenkohl suggests a strategy of continual interviewing, even if you don’t currently have a position to fill.