With the unemployment rate running below four percent for over a year now, it is no surprise that many organizations are coming up short on staff. It is simply a matter of numbers – too few people are available to fill way too many jobs. So, how do you deal with the issue?
One key solution is to reduce — or better yet, eliminate — employee turnover. Just imagine how much more smoothly your business would run if you did not have to contend with personnel changes. Plus, a strong, grounded team can serve as an informal recruiting and advertising mechanism for the organization without even realizing it. When people see that their friends and neighbors are having a top-notch work experience, they want to know more. A stable team, by its very nature, is a crucial component of business success.
When the culture and practices of an organization are consistent and dependable, the result is stability – and this translates to minimal staff turnover. So, what practices can you employ to set your organization on firm footing?
I have a few suggestions:
- Coach the Boss – Open, honest and thorough communication between employees and the boss is essential to organizational success. In my experience, a poor relationship with leadership is the number one factor in an employee’s decision to leave. For this reason, we cannot forget to coach the boss. Business leaders, it is up to you to monitor and coach to achieve solid relationships between all levels of your organization.
- Understand the Work – Always give your employees clear directions for their work, and be sure that both of you understand what success looks like and how it will be measured. Unreasonable expectations can doom a professional relationship from the start, and an excessive workload is likely to create incentive for an employee to look elsewhere.
- Build the Culture – Cultivate an environment where everyone feels part of the team. Employees contribute more and perform better when they know about the organization — its’ history, purpose and vision for the future. Employees can bond more easily with organizations that speak to them candidly and keep no secrets.
- Compensate Fairly – Pay and benefits should be fair and competitive. It is particularly important for employees to understand the pay practices in place and to know how to easily access information about their benefits.
- Promote Opportunity – Employees need to hear that they are not in a dead-end career. Job opportunities and potential career paths should be communicated early and often, so everyone has a vision of what the future might hold for them and how to jump on the bandwagon.
- Recognize Performance – Enshrine in your mind these words: “Recognition is the Number One Motivator”. From there, practice sincere pats-on-the-back at every possible opportunity. And for the big successes, find a way to celebrate big.
- Listen – Listen – Listen – Take every opportunity to really listen to your employees, particularly about the areas of concern in their work. I have found that many of the best ideas about improvement come from those closest to the work. Listen closely; and even if you don’t agree with feedback, be sure to end with a big “thank you”!
- Communicate Effectively – Keep communication clear, concise and consistent. A failure to communicate can result in a culture of assumptions and misunderstandings. Keep morale high and prevent turnover by maintaining an open and honest line of communication with your team.
- Support Employees – Make sure your people have the tools they need to do the job, whatever that may be. For an employee, there is nothing more frustrating than being given a task and not having the tools to do the job. Don’t set your team up to fail; be generous with your resources.
There could be a lot more said on this subject, but the central message is simple: create a work environment that employees love and respect. People are not likely to seek other employment if they feel positive about their current work experience.
My advice is to stop bellyaching about the labor shortage, and get to work building a high-quality workplace!