You are doing only part of your job as a supervisor if you give the squeaky wheels, that is, your challenging employees, enough grease to get the train out of the station.
It is equally important to perform the other half of your responsibilities: To show appreciation to your star employees so that you retain the people who keep the train on track.
At this very moment, your best people may be looking elsewhere. They may be searching job postings on their smartphone, following up on resumes they have submitted during their offsite lunch hour, and setting up after-work coffee appointments with their professional network for leads at better firms.
Do you value your employees and appreciate their contributions? Do you actually take the time to recognize and demonstrate that you want them to stay right where they are? In 2015, the internet buzz was that you could lose your best employees and not even know it was coming!
|1.||Avoid negative competition. You want employees to work together as a team, not throw each other under the bus. Some competitions spur the entire staff to do their best. However, when there must be a loser who is punished, corporate politics can get extreme. For instance, sales contests where each team is geographically discrete may be effective in motivating participants. In contrast, contests at retail sites where everyone pounces on walk-in shoppers and plots to claim the best prospects can set up a negative vibe. Worst of all are quota systems in which only a very small number can “win.” If satisfactory workers are punished—or even fired—morale will sink like a rock.|
|2.||Express your appreciation. This can take on different forms. Recognition ceremonies, gift awards, parties, and refreshments are among the possibilities. Even simply praising employees in front of their peers is effective . . . and free of cost.|
|3.||Help employees see how their work contributes to the success of the operation as a whole. Let them see the big picture and feel proud of the company’s success. Offer them the opportunity to grow and improve as a professional with online training courses.|
|4.||Pull past behavioral assessments from the file drawer or initiate this analysis if it has not already been done. Better employees often have additional talents; they can contribute to the organization. Review the assessment reports, look at their strengths, and consider coaching your stars to develop their careers while serving the company more effectively.|
|5.||Don’t equate treating everyone alike with fairness. There’s nothing fair about giving equal raises to all while some are outperforming by far. Monitor how wages compare to salaries in the community and your industry as a whole. If new employees are paid appreciably more than old-timers, you are subtly telling your most prized staff to move on.|
|6.||Don’t overburden the best employees by piling unlimited amounts of work on them. If someone else is a problem employee, take action on the problem instead of making one person’s poor performance, everyone else’s problem. Train, discipline, or terminate poor workers and fill the slots with people who can pull their weight. Add more workers as the workload grows . . . especially if staff are on salary and are not paid overtime for their extra hours.|
All in all, it boils down to one thing: Create an atmosphere of positivity where employees look forward to coming into the office. Focus on what is good, not just on what is going poorly. Be generous with well-deserved praise. Include on-the-spot recognition in your supervisory toolbox.
The labor market is coming out of a lull, and more workers are finding that the grass is really greener elsewhere. Now is the time to pay attention to how you can retain your prized employees more effectively. Don’t wait till it’s too late, and they are heading out the door…or maybe it already is.