Boosting Employee Retention

The high turnover of employees and the difficulty to employ seems to be a recurring issue, that various businesses, including family businesses and SMEs are facing. Research has shown that, due to social contagion, when a team member quits, it can spread to affect other employees’ quitting behaviour – increasing the likelihood that others will do the same. Therefore, boosting employee retention has becoming a very important strategic goal. Here are some insights as how to achieve this.

Provide direction and a sense of certainty
The human brain was not built for the amount of uncertainty we are facing at work and in our lives. A heightened level of uncertainty produces a threat state in the brain, which can result in decreased motivation and a lack of overall well-being. Turnover on your team only adds to this threat state. So as a business leader providing certainty and clarity on the company’s strategic direction provide a sense of stability to your team members, as they would able to see that as a leader you know where they are heading.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Check in with your team members regularly to understand what work they currently have on their plates. This will give you a sense of both how you might rebalance some of the work and most of all that you care enough to make sure they can handle all that is being thrown at them. Beyond this, dedicate time to listen to their feedback. People are motivated when they have a say in creating team goals and in what they can and can’t take on — and, they may have some great ideas that you might not think of on your own. Your team members’ ongoing feedback may also provide opportunities to help them to free up capacity by better understanding what they might delegate to others, or stop doing all together, so they can free up time for higher-value work. Their feedback will also increase your visibility into their workload, which may require you to adjust your expectations about what can realistically be accomplished.

Do not Micromanage.
​​Give direction – Yes. Check on their workload – Yes. Agree on goals to be achieved – Yes. However, then please allow your team members to decide how, when, and where they complete their work. Research shows that autonomy is a key driver of threat and reward in the brain. When people feel in control and that they have a choice, they are more motivated and experience higher well-being. Conversely, a lack of autonomy can elicit a strong negative reaction that can diminish the ability to focus and collaborate.

Be open for all types of feedback from team members – Even for them to say NO.
Let your team members know it’s OK to say “no” and question deadlines. Invite them to challenge your assumptions and tell you how much work something that “seems simple” will actually take to accomplish. As a leader do not underestimate the powers at play, which could easily results into team players feeling intimidated to just speak up, let alone say No. When people do speak up or push back, be sure to listen, acknowledge what you’ve heard and engage in a two-way conversation (or negotiation) about what can and can’t be done, deadlines, and how you can help remove the relevant obstacles for your team.

Defend your team.
While good leaders typically protect their teams from unrealistic or low priority requests, it’s more essential than ever when there are fewer people to bear the same workload. It is important to give your team clear decision-making criteria as to what requests should be accommodated and empower them to say no to non-essential requests when needed. Be proactive in supporting your team members in fending off demands that your team can’t realistically meet. It can be hard for members of your team to say “no,” especially to more senior or external stakeholders, and your involvement will show your team members that you have their back.

Foster a team spirit
Aim to foster a “we’re in it together” ethos where team members pitch in to help each other — which you can both role model and reward.Ultimately, this can create an esprit de corps or camaraderie that creates lasting friendships amongst team members that extend beyond the workplace. In addition, be sure to take the time to connect as a team on a more personal level, whether it’s doing a personal check in at the beginning of staff meetings, celebrating a team member’s birthday, hosting a team happy hour or planning a fun team-building activity. Creating spaces where team members can connect on a personal level is one lever to prevent feelings of isolation that can contribute to burnout.

Reducing employee turnover needs time and effort. But so does trying to find new employee replacements. Therefore taking the above actions can help reduce employee turnover by keeping everyone motivated and engaged.

This will be one of the topics that will be discussed during the FREE online event that is scheduled on Tuesday 8th March at 6pm to discuss matters affecting Family Businesses. To register your interest please click HERE.

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