If you’ve ever lost a star employee, you know it can come as a huge blow. You invested time to review resumes, interview candidates, train the new recruit, and now you’re wondering how you’ll manage without them. Hiring and training a new employee is a massive expense, as well as risk—what is the likelihood you’ll find one as good as the one you lost? And why did you lose them in the first place? Some of the most common reasons for a star employee to jump ship include:
Salary and benefits
An obvious cause for an employee to jump ship is the offer of a higher salary, better benefits or both. However, a happy star employee probably isn’t actively searching for greener pastures, so if the only reason for leaving that they cite is better pay, it’s time to take stock of what else you can do to retain talent.
Are employees getting the structure, supervision and support they need to do their jobs effectively? And do employees have all the physical tools to do their jobs? Often companies going through a major shakeup, growth or transitional period experience some degree of turnover. Employees may feel that they don’t have access to managers that can prioritize projects, make decisions that affect the rest of the company, or provide conflict management or resolutions. Whether your business is small or large, employees working for you need to feel comfortable and need to understand what they are accountable for–and have resources when they are pushed beyond capacity.
Be honest–do you know what your employees are individually accountable for? If you don’t think being able to list their responsibilities accurately is important, how will you know if they’re succeeding or failing? How will you manage growth or the expectations of your clients or partners? You won’t. It’s easy for small businesses, especially those with low profit margins to cut corners and have everyone “wear many hats”, but there are only so many hours in a work week. If the workload is always over and above what your staff can manage, you can always sack them all and start anew, at great personal and professional expense. Or you can consider the possibility that you need to take a hard look at what needs to be accomplished and decide what’s worth paying someone to do and what is not.
The term “workplace culture” can mean a lot of different things. Some are quiet and professional and everyone has their own private office. Others are casual, loud and open concept. Different environments have different concerns but the bottom line is, do the staff respect one another? Do they feel secure in their positions and are their values in line with the company’s values? Are policies and expectations being fairly enforced? Is the workplace accessible to everyone who uses it? Do employees feel that their input and concerns are valued and you’ve left the lines of communication open to them?
Can employees grow with your company? Many employees feel that if they can’t see a future with your company that challenges or inspires them, they just won’t stay. Star employees in particular are talented, dedicated and value continuous learning–do you provide that? Do you promote from within the organization? Do you have policies in place to review your employees’ performance and provide feedback? Here’s the hard truth: talented people didn’t get that way by settling for less than they think they deserve. Start thinking now about how you can demonstrate their value to you in real terms, like opportunities for advancement. That could mean the difference between hiring a new employee of average talent to replace your star, or elevating your star help you develop your business for years to come.
Related to Retain Star Employees:
- Employee benefit plans that small firms can afford
- The Importance of Corporate Culture and Fit to Employee Success
- The Four Ps of Hiring: HR Takes a Lesson from Marketing