Book Offers 16 Ways to Help Retain Employees

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<p><strong>Pittsburgh &mdash; Aug. 22</strong><br />Employees matter, and as the forces of globalism and the proliferation of technology relentlessly level the proverbial playing field, it&#39;s safe to say employees are everything. </p><p>Your competitors have access to the exact same resources as you, which means infinite choices exist not only for your customers, but for your employees, as well. </p><p>If you&#39;re not seeking ways to nurture them and meet their needs, they will seek greener pastures &mdash; and your customers will follow them over the fence, said Joanne G. Sujansky, Ph.D., CSP, KEYGroup founder and CEO.<br /><br />”Many leaders don&#39;t realize that the rules of business have changed almost overnight,” Sujansky said. “The old paradigm says that your primary focus should be on keeping your customer happy. The new paradigm says the employee has taken over that spot. Keep her engaged, and she&#39;ll keep your customers happy. Neglect her needs, and she won&#39;t be so concerned about keeping her end of the bargain. In the end, not only will she go elsewhere, your customers may follow suit.”<br /><br />When employees start searching for greener pastures, it&#39;s a bona fide disaster &mdash; employees are the face of your organization. They build strong relationships with customers and vendors, they know the ins and outs of your operation, they train new hires and indoctrinate them into the company culture. </p><p>On top of that, when you lose great employees, it hurts customer retention and the morale of the rest of your team.<br /><br />And every time great employees leave, you have to shell out the cost of rehiring and retraining their replacement &mdash; a cost that studies have shown could range from 70 percent to 200 percent of their annual salary. </p><p>You also lose those employees&#39; institutional memory, another great asset for your company.<br /><br />Clearly, preventing “greener pasture” syndrome must be a top priority for today&#39;s leaders. </p><p>Although it might sound self-evident, the best approach is to make your pasture the greenest. </p><p>Ultimately, that means becoming what Sujansky calls a vibrant entrepreneurial organization (VEO), a company with a culture that allows that elusive sense of employee ownership to flourish. </p><p>But in the short run, it means making your company a place employees truly want to be, and “lip service” won&#39;t do the trick.<br /><br />”You might be proclaiming that you are the leading company in your industry or marketplace in huge letters on your mission statement, but if you&#39;re not backing up that sentiment in the day-to-day realities of the workplace, employees will quickly realize the truth,” Sujansky said. “It isn&#39;t always cash that makes green pastures green &mdash; when salaries are commensurate with the marketplace, other factors take priority. Good people stay where they are challenged, where they have the opportunity to develop and contribute and where their employers take care of those meaningful little things that make their lives easier.”<br /><br />What are these secret little things that will help you keep your employees engaged and productive? And how can you do it without breaking the bank? </p><p>The following are 16 easy-to-plant (and inexpensive) “seeds” that will help your pasture be the greenest for your future and current employees:<br /></p><ol><li>Don&#39;t misrepresent your culture.</li><li>Learn the rules of engagement &mdash; bored employees are neither happy nor productive.</li><li>Cross-pollinate your culture by embracing diversity.</li><li>Be a good corporate citizen. </li><li>Give praise where praise is due. </li><li>Get creative with benefits. </li><li>Be aware of employees&#39; changing needs.</li><li>Realize great employees thrive under great leaders.</li><li>Conduct “stay” interviews regularly.</li><li>Create the kind of environment in which people can do their best work.</li><li>Help employees to achieve work-life balance. </li><li>Insist your employees take vacations. </li><li>Create an environment of trust between employer and employee. </li><li>Rid your pasture of weeds (poor performers and negative employees who stifle others&#39; good attitudes and high performance).</li><li>Use internship and mentoring programs to grow and nurture new talent.</li><li>Take a seasonal approach to showing employees you care. <br /></li></ol><p>”Striving to keep employees happy and engaged is not just a nice thing to do &mdash; it&#39;s the right thing to do if you want to create a successful business,” Sujansky said. “Further, it&#39;s not just a matter of trying to retain people for retention&#39;s sake to avoid the high cost of recruitment, for instance. Engaged employees are creative, productive, motivated and brimming with good ideas. Not only will they stay, they&#39;ll be fully committed to their jobs and to the company&#39;s success.”</p>

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