How do you retain great employees? If you have direct reports, how do you keep them engaged so they don’t look elsewhere?
One answer in this picture is wine on wheels but that doesn’t really solve the problem)
I believe it’s all communication. First, letting your employees know their value to your organization. Second, knowing what motivates each employee. It’s your responsibility to ask but your employees need to be able to verbalize to you also.
Several of my recent clients have struggled with these issues. I have clients who were certain that a career change was necessary even though they were ‘comfortable and happy ” in their current positions. While they knew that approaching their current manager was an option? They were all afraid to be authentic, afraid to admit what they wanted, afraid to ask for what they wanted, afraid of the answer they would get, so they looked elsewhere.
But as Nora Roberts says, “if we don’t ask the answer is always no”. No is not always bad, it gives you clarity. Once you get a No you can make a decision, move forward, and make a new plan. If you get a yes that’s great too, if what you asked for, is what you really wanted. The only really bad answer is maybe, it’s not an answer and you are left still wondering where you stand, not a good feeling.
Are your employees afraid to approach you? So rather than approach their current manager, they begin the arduous process of looking for a new position that does meet their needs, perhaps more money, perhaps more opportunity for growth, perhaps an easier commute, it’s unique to the individual.
But in each case, my clients got another offer and gave their notice in their current position. Then they were offered more money, promotions, or greater opportunities and finally made aware of their value. And after some deliberation my clients stayed with their current organizations rather than make the transition. Now feeling how valued and appreciated they were based on the counter offer.
Could all this stress have been avoided? It’s difficult to say if this process was necessary or a preventable waste of energy. This is a two way street, you as an employee need to know what you want or need and how to ask for it. And is what fair based on your contribution to the organization. Do your research to know what you are worth. Spend the time to be able to define what you want and need from your career.
But the managers also have a responsibility to provide you feedback about how much you are valued. Consistent regularly scheduled open, honest, authentic conversations about what is possible gives clarity about value and future potential. An unhappy, disengaged employee should not be a surprise.
Do you really want to have to match another company’s offer to make an employee stay? What does this say about how much your organization values that employee?
My clients solved their issues temporarily and stayed with their current companies but it’s not always a happy ending. Hopefully the employees and the employers both learned the importance of authentic conversations about recognizing your value personally and being clear about your needs.
And as a manager, letting your employees know their value to your organization is essential.
As an employee letting your employer know your long terms goals with the organization is crucial.