Taking extra good care of valued employees is many a manager's top concern. Finding and keeping good employees is considered as important, or slightly more important than improving customer service, increasing sales and cutting operating costs, according to a recent survey of 248 top executives conducted by Newstrack Executive Service of Alexandria, Va. But there are many stumbling blocks that hinder managers from attaining that goal:
•Companies face tough competition to become "an employer of choice."
•Employees no longer feel they must be loyal to their employers forever.
•Workers feel overextended from handling heavy workloads and new productivity goals.
What Can We do?
Managers can deliver simple messages to win employees' support, boost their job satisfaction and encourage them to stay. Here are some ideas, adapted from various publications I've read:
•Let employees know when you agree with them.
•Write down their ideas while they're with you.
•Recognize important events in their lives. Inquire with empathy about their personal problems.
•Invite senior managers to acknowledge employees' good work and express appreciation.
•Greet them by name and with a smile.
•Hand-write thank you notes for jobs well done. Be specific about what you liked.
•Express sincere concern when they call in sick. Encourage them to take off the necessary time to recuperate.
•Show constructive concern about performance problems. Notice improvements.
•Support their causes. Buy their fundraising candy bars, pledge their marathons.
•Celebrate awards with the entire staff. Provide a pizza party or coffee and doughnuts.
•Don't allow their projects to become last-minute rush jobs because of your disorganization, procrastination or indecision.
•Think of your employees as working with you, not for you or under you.
•Invite individual employees to join you for coffee.
•Allow employees to take "well days" once or twice a year to enjoy a beautiful day or do something special with family or friends.
•Mention their accomplishments during meetings, in the staff newspaper, on bulletin boards, in memos to senior managers.
•When work gets rough, help them remember the successes they've had in the last six months.
•Celebrate small and intermediate successes - reaching a milestone, preventing a problem, surviving a difficult period.
Use social gatherings after work, a success chart or T-shirts with an office joke printed on them.
•Make and keep commitments to them.
•Deal directly and informally with them. Don't hide behind memos, reports and pretentious meetings.