Top Strategies for Employee Retention
The impact of the pandemic has landed us in new business environments; it’s no longer business as usual. Business owners and leadership team members must move employee retention to the top of our priority focus. During my research for this blog, I came across a couple of articles by Sabina Nawaz in The Harvard Business Review that addresses the issue exceedingly well while also offering some solutions I believe we should all implement.
The first, titled “In Times of Crisis, A Little Thanks Goes A Long Way,” suggests that managers who express gratitude for their employees can positively impact how their employees feel and work. Nawaz writes, “As managers, it’s essential to express gratitude, especially in times of uncertainty and social distancing…. Almost every employee needs to know that their dedication is noticed, and it matters. Further, gratitude is proven to show improvements in self-esteem, achieving career goals, decision making, productivity, and resilience.”
In another article, titled “What Stops People On Your Team From Leaving,” Nawaz suggests that we should rethink the standard exit interview strategy and instead hold “stay interviews” as a way to support continued employee success. She writes, “A standard approach is to conduct ‘exit interviews’ to understand why employees are resigning and devise a solution. But narrowing in on why people leave may extract a price: neglect of loyal and engaged employees who want to stay in the organization. Instead, managers should spend just as much time understanding why employees choose to remain in the company through ‘stay interviews.’ These discussions involve asking key questions to your loyal employees that tackle common retention issues. These questions include: What’s your frame of mind today? Who do you feel connected to at work? What barriers can I remove for you? What new thing do you want to learn that will excite you and help you grow at work?”
The essence of the retention challenge in our collective post-pandemic business environment, is expressing gratitude to your employees and to hold stay interviews. These two strategies can go a long way toward helping our employees feel supported, successful, and valued in their roles. We can be fairly sure that employees who feel this way are inclined to stay in their positions and with their current employers. And don’t you want to be the type of employer who employees love to work for?
What’s been your experience with employee retention in this post-pandemic environment? Please leave your comments below.
July 6, 2022 @ 12:39
Our recent covid powered upending has forced fundamental change across the world. Everything from the great shoe polish shortage to the runaway inflation to the newly defined essential worker are fallouts from the pandemic. Of considerable concern is the great resignation across many business sectors and what is to be done about it. This is a great article about the human aspects of retention. We may be asked during either the exit interview or the stay interview about benefit packages. As the interviewer are you prepared to respond?
July 7, 2022 @ 10:46
Thank you for your comment, Charles. You make a great point and I hope today’s business leaders all strive to make their corporate cultures a place where their employees love to come to work.
September 1, 2022 @ 10:04
Thank you for this helpful article.
As I read and apply it, I am thinking about finding how best to communicate gratitude in ways that others can hear and understand it.
Have you ever had an employee that you appreciate deeply and you let him or her know that on a regular basis, only to discover that he or she still feels unappreciated?
What if different employees respond more easily to different ways of expressing appreciation? Just as we have the concept of Love Languages, what if there are also Gratitude Languages.
For one it might be a verbal compliment, face to face. For another it might a text or email. For another it might be an announcement in front of the group, with applause. Maybe other options include a hand-written note, a gift card, an award, Employee of the Month, coffee or lunch, a public post, an appropriate gift, or a monetary bonus.
As part of my Southern upbringing, I try to say, “Thank you; I appreciate you,” at the end of nearly every email or conversation. Sometimes I feel that I might need to do more, and to take extra steps to ensure that the other person hears it and knows it.
Because of your influence, I have started to try several of these approaches and I am finding already that it is having a positive impact on our relations with others. And they seem to be grateful in return.
Thank you, Jay. We appreciate you.
September 26, 2022 @ 09:19
Thank you for your thoughtful comments, all of which are valid and important.
Determining if your communication with an employee is both listened to and heard is the underlying essence of successful leadership. By asking relevant questions and listening to the answers carefully you can ascertain if an employee both hears you and believes you are sincere.
Relative to your question on an employee still feeling unappreciated, I haven’t had this happen to me as I recall but, if I had, here’s a straightforward approach to handling it: simply ask the employee what, in fact, makes them feel appreciated.
Your comments about different ways of expressing appreciation and your comments about different languages are valid. Again, as managers and supervisors, we must attempt to reach inside our employee’s heads and seek to understand their makeup and respond to them accordingly.
As I stated earlier, determining during an engagement with an employee, that they heard you is a sign of an effective leader. Asking a follow-up question will provide you with an indication that they did more than listen, they heard you. Thank you, again, for taking the time to write your thoughts out.