Over the past 10 years, I have had the pleasure of managing many great employees while running a digital marketing services company. As this industry grew, so did my company, and finding talent was a very important principle of continued success.
But even more important was retaining the best employees as the demand for their skills grew across the industry. Retaining the best employees became a point of personal pride, as well as a necessity to run a growing business. Here are 3 lessons I learned along the way.
- Treat people with mutual respect
We all want to be respected for our work. It is hard to have loyalty if you are not respected for your contributions. That is why it is important to let employees know when they are doing great work. Even if you expect nothing but the best, recognition and rewarding of good behavior goes a long way.
Employees that go a long time without hearing any praise will start to question their effectiveness and position in the organization. Once those questions arise, keeping that employee happy is much more difficult. A simple “good job” or praise in a meeting goes a long way.
- Help employees keep learning
Many of us want to respect the people we work for. If we don’t respect our bosses, then working for them can be a chore. It would be nice if organizations were run as a true meritocracy (where the smartest people were always in the appropriate positions), but that is rarely the case.
When an employee feels they have nothing left to learn from their bosses, they probably will not stay at the company much longer. That is why continued learning is important for both employees and management. Creating an environment where everyone continues to grow their skills is a key to employee retention. You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room, but using this wisdom will go a long way.
- Be honest with employees as much as possible
There were times that I hired all-star employees, and other times when an employee was not progressing as I had hoped. Retaining all-star employees is difficult in a growing industry, so helping them learn and treating with respect will go a long way. Being honest about their opportunities in the organization is also important for keeping the best employees happy.
Poor performing employees also benefit from an honesty approach. If you don’t see the employee being promoted due to lack of experience, enthusiasm or work quality, then they need to be told this openly and honestly. That employee will either work to improve, or they will start to understand that their days are numbered. Honesty can be a motivating factor for employees to get in gear, or it can be a wake-up call.
Keeping the best employees is rarely a pure financial move. Sure, a higher paying job can sound appealing, but it is not the sole motivating factor for most of us.
We want to be respected, continue to grow and hear honest feedback from our leaders. Those are the key principles I used to keep my best employees happy.