Keeping Employees: It’s not a Sprint; It’s a Marathon

It feels like every time you turn around another employee has found a different “opportunity” and packs his/her bags and walks out of the door.  The training cost to you and your clients is a big investment for your small business, so building a loyal “A Team” is crucial for business growth.

Just like athletes train for years to achieve the caliber of success to compete in the Olympics, you need to make a long-term retention plan to “compete” and keep your team intact – particularly your medalists.

In today’s business era, employees generally aren’t voicing their dissatisfaction; they’re talking with their feet.  Wouldn’t it be great to create a work environment in which all voices were welcome and the prevailing company characteristic was the willingness to listen…to everything---the good, bad, and ugly!

Is your workplace maintaining an environment that is conducive to open conversations?  Equally important, are you providing an architecture for communications and a continuum of initiatives and activities to ensure employee confidence in an “open workplace”?

Here are some ideas to set the stage for active involvement and participation by your entire work team in creating a community that wants the business and every employee to win:

-Create frequent opportunities for employees to be involved in creating and influencing the business using brainstorming sessions about issues and challenges

-Publicly tout ongoing contributions to the business and the workplace on a regular basis

-Remind supervisors and team leaders to stay open to new ideas and make it a habit to ask employees what they think

-Make the process of inclusion a regular subject in staff meetings, training and regular correspondence to staff

-Set a structure for open collaboration among teams including daily huddles, problem solving meetings and weekly recaps of individual success and contributions

Hiring the right people is only the tip of the iceberg in solving your need to nourish and keep a great team.  Like winning a medal at the Olympics, retaining an effective work force is a long-term strategy that requires constant nurturing, training and commitment, particularly to the contribution that each member of the team can bring to the games.

By Shirley Engelmeier, author of Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage and CEO of InclusionINC, a leading global consulting and learning organization specializing in linking inclusion and diversity to better business results through greater engagement, productivity, innovation and retention.