A colleague and I were talking about the talent-management challenges that organizations face. We were focused on the crises that arise when organizations fail to retain their key talent. With businesses running so lean, losing a key player creates immediate pressure. She said, “Have you ever seen a calmly-worded hiring notice?” I laughed, remembering how my LinkedIn feed and seemingly every announcement post I have ever seen begins with “We’re Hiring!!!!!!!!” I’m not sure what the intent of the multiple exclamation points is, but what I hear is “we NEED you NOW”.
It occurs to me that the more important question is: “Did we do everything we could have to retain our talent?” If we are waiting until they’ve started looking for that next job, we have already failed at ours; they’re already gone. We’ve lost them to the organization down the street, or we’ve lost them to dis-engagement. Wouldn’t it be much more effective to spend the proactive time with employees to effectively retain them?
Here are three things you can do right now to make sure you are in touch with the needs of your employees:
- Meet weekly to discuss projects and priorities. Do an individual check-in with members of your team. If your team is too big to do this, it’s time to consider your organizational structure.
- Provide feedback to employees about how they are performing. This includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. This should be done at least monthly. Annual performance feedback is too slow to be effective.
- Talk with employees about their goals, personal aspirations, and their long-term plans. This will help you understand what your employees want and allows you to align organizational needs with employee goals.
It is relatively easy and it is certainly more efficient to do these “little things” well and improve retention. There are many challenging situations ahead of you and your organization. You can reduce the incidence of unanticipated employee turnover and the increased pressure and chaos it creates through thoughtful investment in the talented employees that you already have.