How to Keep the Good Ones

Finding good employees can be a challenge. Not because there aren’t enough qualified candidates out there, there are plenty. However, “paper-qualification” doesn’t necessarily certify that they know how to apply their knowledge, or that they fit into your company. There are various methods to evaluate who’s sitting there in front of you. You can use a personality test. Or you can write up a questionnaire, focusing on the skills and knowledge to fill the position they are applying for. Make sure to include your company’s philosophy and the goals. Good applicants will already know most of these things because they’ve done their homework.

Once you’ve found the best match you still have to optimize and mold the employee’s performance to the position they will hold. Training employees takes time and effort, and that costs money. Sometimes it doesn’t pay off and you might have to start over with another candidate; this all the more reason to hold on to the employees you already have. So how do you engage those employees to keep turnover low? Here’s some employee engagement ideas you can start using today.

Use Honey

The saying “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” is something a good employer, manager or supervisor should take to heart. Of course there will be times when an employee will have to be disciplined or reprimanded. The question is how do you go about it? It doesn’t matter if you run a coffee shop, a consulting firm, or a factory. The recipe has the same ingredients. To turn an employee into a dedicated and loyal team member — who will serve you and your company well for years to come — there are a few things you should avoid and a few more you should do.

The Vinegar   

  • The biggest mistake is to shame an employee in front of their co-workers. Don’t call them out on an error in public. This is done one on one in your office. If you do it on the floor it could, and probably will generate resentment.
  • Not letting the employee explain him/herself. This is where you have your best chance of identifying the problem, and, therefore, the resolution.
  • Don’t ignore suggestions made by your employees. They’re the ones on the front line and they may have valuable input that you’d have to spend big bucks to get from a consultant.
  • Don’t expect the impossible. Asking more than a person can deliver is going to end in defeat for everyone. You won’t get the result you want and the employee will feel unworthy. Neither of these poise you for success.

The Honey

  • Show your appreciation. If your employee goes above and beyond don’t ignore it, let him or her know that you see what they are doing and that you’re pleased with their performance.
  • Ask for their opinion. An employee that is able to contribute to the way things are handled within the company will be much happier. It also motivates them to see if there’s anything else that they could improve on.
  • Be approachable. You pave the way to hear about issues before they become big problems.
  • Show them you care. Setting up things like supplemental retirement plans or income protection plans, as offered by Suncorp is a great way of showing that you care about what happens in their future and that you plan on having them there for the long haul.
  • Incentives for goals reached are a good thing to offer as well. It doesn’t have to be a gold watch or a trip to the Bahamas. Tickets to a show, a game or a dinner for two are inexpensive ways to motivate your employees.
  • Offer training. Training should be available to your staff so they can continue to excel at their jobs and keep up with industry innovations. Of course, this would help them further their career within the company, while giving you management material that’s been tried and tested in your own fires.
  • Bond with your team. Having a semi-annual or quarterly staff outing is a good way to get to know your employees from their personal side. Just another method of showing that you care for “them” and that it’s not all about their position. Go bowling, have a potluck dinner, go for a hike, there are many ways to go organize these things without breaking the bank.

Keeping the good ones is how you ensure your human capital is of highest value, and your company is always delivering at peak performance. Your employees are the backbone of your company and the better you treat them, the less risk you run of contracting corporate osteoporosis. Be good to your people!

Do you have any employee engagement ideas that you could share? We’d love to hear them!

About the author

Arlene Chandler has always been on the search for the perfect win/win situation for employers and employees. She’s still working on her costume for small business caped crusader and writes to finance the fabric.

Photo credit: by Dwonderwall


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