Turnover is a fact of life for any business or organization. Some level of turnover is even good. With new team members comes fresh perspectives and new ideas. But turnover is also expensive. Depending on your business it can take up to and even over 12 months to bring new team members up to full speed. If you can’t keep them on the team for at least a few years your business will always struggle.
That’s even more true if the people you’re losing are considered “key” employees. These are people in leadership positions who you rely on to help you chart the future course of the company. Key employees may also be those who possess unique skills or expertise that is not easily replaced. When you lose a key employee the “sting” is worse. Losing several key employees in a short period of time can signal serious issues within the organization.
It can be tempting to say that it is mere coincidence that more than one key leader left in the same time frame. It may even be true. But as a leader you better know exactly why you’ve lost a key employee and what you can do to prevent it from happening again.
Retaining your key employees is crucial for maintaining stability and ensuring that your company continues to thrive. If you’ve lost a key leader or employee lately here some areas to focus on as possible reasons.
• Ensure that your employees are fairly compensated for their skills and contributions. Conduct regular salary reviews to stay competitive in the market.
• Provide comprehensive benefits packages, including health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks like flexible work arrangements, wellness programs, and professional development opportunities.
• Recognize and reward your key employees (well actually all employees) for their hard work and accomplishments. This can include bonuses, promotions, or public recognition within the organization.
• Show appreciation through regular feedback and simple gestures like thank-you notes or verbal recognition.
So here is the thing about these first two points. Most key leaders don’t leave for more money. Some do and some always will but most simply don’t. But many of them do leave if they don’t feel recognized and appreciated. You MUST be intentional in providing that recognition and appreciation. If you think your people “just know” how much they mean to you then frankly you deserve to lose them.
• Offer opportunities for growth and advancement within the company. Ensure that employees have a clear path for career progression.
• Provide access to training, mentoring, and skill development programs to help employees enhance their skills and advance their careers.
• Support a healthy work-life balance by encouraging reasonable working hours and providing flexible scheduling options.
• Promote a culture of respecting personal time and vacation days.
• Cultivate a positive work environment with a strong company culture that aligns with your employees’ values and goals.
• Foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie within the organization.
• Maintain open and honest communication with your employees. Encourage them to share their concerns, ideas, and feedback.
• Address issues promptly and transparently, so employees feel valued and heard.
You’ll likely be surprised how many issues can be resolved through truly open communication. Never assume people know what’s going on just because you do. When in doubt communicate. Then communicate some more.
• Involve employees in decision-making processes when possible. Seek their input on matters that affect their work and the organization.
• Give employees a sense of ownership in their roles and the company’s success.
• Establish mentorship programs to connect key employees with experienced leaders in the organization.
• Invest in leadership development programs to prepare potential future leaders within your organization.
• Conduct regular employee engagement surveys to understand their needs and concerns.
• Act on the feedback received to make improvements and create a better work environment.
• Offer non-monetary incentives like additional vacation days, opportunities to work on exciting projects, or the ability to work remotely.
• Create a fun and engaging workplace through team-building activities and social events.
• Consider offering retention bonuses or stock options to key employees as incentives to stay with the company for a defined period.
• Stay competitive in terms of perks and benefits. Things like on-site daycare, gym memberships, or commuter benefits, can attract and retain top talent.
• Conduct exit interviews with employees who choose to leave. Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and address any concerns.
Different employees have different motivations. It’s essential to tailor your retention strategies to individual needs and preferences. Continuously monitor your retention efforts, adapt as necessary, and make employee satisfaction a priority to keep your key employees engaged and loyal to your organization.
Above all know this; if you’re losing multiple key employees you’ll continue to lose key employees until something changes. You may change something and miss the mark but that’s better than standing pat and allowing your losses to mount. Keep changing until you get it right.