You can’t do it all alone. In order to succeed, it’s essential to build exactly the kind of staff you want. But building your staff doesn’t end at the hiring process. You’ve got to be able to foresee the challenges ahead. And when it comes to creating an amazing team, you can count on the fact that employee retention will be a challenge. Everyone wants to hire the best. How can you ensure that you’ll retain your most valuable employees amid all the changes occurring within and outside of your organization?
All that trouble that your company put into searching and interviewing and hiring the best candidate for the position, all the resources spent on training that person and acclimating them to your business culture — it all goes right out the window if they leave. Money goes right out of your pocket and into your competitors’ coffers the moment that employee decides that his or her value will be better appreciated somewhere else.
The good news is that you can retain valuable employees with the right combination of thoughtful communication and collaboration. You can’t cut corners on this piece of the puzzle without the risk of losing the best talent and brains of your organization to your competitors.
And I can tell you this: most organizations are totally doing it wrong. They’re hemorrhaging their top talent. Here’s why — and here’s how you can avoid doing it.
1. You get the behaviors you reward.
Your organization is probably rewarding plenty of counterproductive behaviors in your employees without even realizing it. Does your company reward loyalty and the creation and sharing of truly new knowledge? Or does it reward knowledge hording and an every-man-for-himself attitude and routinely make a big deal about achievements that aren’t truly meaningful advances in wisdom, but instead just puffed-up chances to showboat?
If you want employees who innovate vigorously and who stay with you for the long haul, you need to reward their hard-won wisdom by teaching them to see the importance of their contribution to building a shared knowledge base. As I’ve said before: You get the behavior you reward, so you have to put in place a rewards system for sharing knowledge — which is, after all, your most crucial asset. Keep at the top of your mind that there are many significant ways to reward people, and not all of them involve compensation.
2. It’s not just the money, it’s the purpose.
It’s common to think that the fattest salaries will do the best job of retaining talented employees. That’s just not so. Money is important, but humans don’t live on bread alone.
Your top employees need a sense of being validated, seen, and recognized for their work. They also need to feel vividly that their efforts are making an impact in your organization. How do you let your employees see and feel and experience the positive effects of their work? In a world where many of us work in intangibles like ideas and information, it’s absolutely key to provide people with the feedback letting them know that they’ve made a difference.
In order to really reward your employees, you need to not only pay them competitive salaries, you need to also align them with your sense of purpose and show them tangible signs that their efforts help to drive that purpose forward.
3. Relate to your employees — from your Futureview® to theirs.
Most organizations make the mistake of relating to their employees on the basis of the short-sighted demands of the present moment and from past habits. This is a fast way to nip innovation in the bud among even the most talented and committed staff members.
In order to succeed, you need to communicate and collaborate with your staff from your Futureview.
I coined the term Futureview over thirty years ago to refer to the vivid mental picture we each hold of our future existence. This is not the same thing as a goal, plan, ambition, or aspiration. Your Futureview is not what you hope for or are trying to create — it is the picture you actually hold, for better or for worse, of what you expect and believe about your future.
Most people are not fully aware of what their Futureview is. You have one — everyone has a Futureview — but often without realizing it or examining what it looks like. Being unaware of it does not mean it doesn’t control you; it most certainly does.
You have to become aware of your own Futureview because it puts a tremendously powerful strategic tool in your hands. It hands you the control of your own future. Your Futureview determines which actions you’ll take in the present, and which you’ll avoid taking. Different Futureviews create different realities.
Therefore, as an executive, are you managing the Futureview of your employees, regardless of current economic conditions? There are people working in your company right now who are already online or on the phone looking for another job. Why? Because of their Futureview as it pertains to working for your company. There are also people who are planning on staying. Why? Because the Futureview of working for your company factors into their Futureview.
To have the best chance of retaining your most essential employees, you need to get clear on what your own Futureview is, and communicate and collaborate with your staff to make sure theirs aligns with yours. With the proper application of these principles, you and your staff can look forward to a productive and rewarding future together.
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