Three Ways to Retain Workers Now

Group of happy business people laughingThis January, news stories abound with the latest reports about worker satisfaction and the many professionals hoping to change jobs in 2011. Whether employees are seeking greener pastures with better benefits or are just ready for a change, companies may soon find themselves struggling to retain top talent.

In fact, only 5% of the 1,413 employees surveyed by Right Management in October and November 2010 said they wanted to stay at their current position. Some 84 % stated they plan to change jobs in 2011, a 60% increase over the same period in 2009.

Feeling the strain
It’s fair to say that many who have weathered the recession have taken on additional responsibilities. An economy rife with unemployment has allowed corporations top pick among professionals, but limited budgets kept those workers at a minimum. In September 2010, Express Employment Professionals surveyed 9,340 current and former clients and 68 percent of respondents reported that their work load had increased, with 36 % rating their stress as “overwhelming” or “very high.”

Unfamiliar job duties and more work to go around than people to do it are two factors that come with a reduced workforce. Employees have been feeling the tension, and the general corporate response has been less than accommodating in many cases as employees are forced to do more with less.

Employee engagement: Every manager’s challenge
Statistics vary on whether or not people really believe the economy is improving, but industry experts point to higher confidence in job availability and the reported willingness to change jobs as signs of optimism.

Improving daily stressors, like tension from projects, a daily commute, or a difficult relationship with a co-worker, is at the top of this year’s priority list for many professionals. But employee engagement should be a top priority because it’s a major factor in keeping your best employees right where you want them: at work for you. The Society for Human Resource Management correlates involvement and commitment at work – the underpinnings of employee engagement –with lower turnover and absenteeism, as well as better performance.

Encouraging your employees to stay on board in a way that contributes to the organization’s business plan and also provides opportunities for his or her growth is every manager’s challenge. Here are three things you can do today to keep fostering that win-win situation.

1. Let employees know they’re valued:
Don’t wait until a team member announces he or she is leaving to make it clear that they have a purpose within the organization. Have frequent conversations to tell employees how they’re doing and discuss their career options. Be specific in your praise and reward stellar performance. Corporate recognition through bonuses, raises, or other means lets employees know your words are more than flattery. Simply writing a thank you note can add further emphasis to what you communicate.

2. Be honest:
You may not be able to talk about everything that goes on behind closed doors, but being as straightforward with your employees as possible builds trust. Discuss their careers and what they want to achieve at the company in a way that encourages dialogue. A mentoring relationship encourages employees to want to do their best.

3. Add fun to the workplace:
Vary the workplace routine by planning events that encourage employee participation. If you can do something outside the office during regular work hours, host a lunch or other teambuilding exercise off-site that lets employees know you value them as individuals.

Retaining your top talent comes down to providing people what they need, both materially and professionally. As in every job, people need positive reinforcement, and to know that what they’re doing has value. Take the initiative today to provide the kind of support that makes employees want to continue coming to work for your organization every day.


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