I Hope She Doesn’t Leave Me
How many times have you wondered if your most valued team members are considering jumping ship?
The Truth No one (including you) is irreplaceable. So don’t let that thought keep you awake at night. There’s no way you can guarantee that your employees will stay with you forever. Here are some easy things you can do to improve the retention rate of staff, and minimize the impact of staff loss.
#1 Everyone Wants to Be Seen and Heard The view from the top is narrower than most leaders realize. Your staff actually has the best vantage point, or at least a different one. They are always thinking up and discussing ways to make improvements. Ask open-ended questions to get insight into their ideas. Three easy questions are:
- How are things are going?
- What is working well for you?
- What is getting in your way?
Staff will feel valued and you’ll actually find where you can make cost and time saving improvements.
#2 Acknowledge, Acknowledge, Acknowledge When you do gain an idea, or achieve a company success due to staff members, give them credit. Not once, not twice, but many, many times. Slip their names into conversations, drop in emails and mention it casually to others. I guarantee you that not only will they feel seen and heard, but other team members will also increase their engagement. This is a win/win for all.
#3 Be clear with expectations. Clarify your expectations in advance of giving directions or delegating. When you communicate, check in for understanding by asking clarifying questions. Time spent in preparation will help you avoid miscommunication and set your employees up for success. Download the SMART Delegation Worksheet here.
#4 Don’t Assume Aspirations So many times I work with leaders who make assumptions about the career goals and aspirations of their most valued staff. And most of the time they are wrong. Why does this happen? Because we always assume that everyone wants what we want. When we ask people what their goals are, and actually listen intently, we learn that what we assumed they want and what they actually want are two very different things. You can’t necessarily make what they want happen (for instance your best human resource manager dreams of being a pastry chef), but you can acknowledge and take an interest in their pursuits. And sometimes you can help create opportunities within your business so they can gain skills and build relationships that fulfill their goals.
#5 Tap into Passion and Purpose Freely share your “why”. Why do you do the work you do? How do you hope to improve the world? Ask staff about their passion and purpose. Help valued employees align their purpose with the work of the organization.
#6 Provide Leadership Growth Opportunities The number one reason why employees leave isn’t benefits or salary, it is the opportunity for leadership and advancement. You made it to the top. Now it is time to provide leadership growth opportunities with those you respect, value and want to keep on board. Take every opportunity to step back and let others lead meetings, head up projects and provide inspiration and motivation for others. At this point your job is to step into the role of coach and mentor helping your key people shine and succeed. Check out our leadership training to fast track your best candidates!
Bonus Tip - Build your bench The best way to contend with a valued staff person’s departure is to have a well-rounded, competent junior team ready to step forward. Do this by creating an environment where you are coaching and mentoring your star employees and in turn teaching them to do the same. When, not if, your star employee decides to leave, you will be able to promote from within, maintaining forward momentum and saving valuable time and money.