Hey, just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. If you don’t have happy employees this will change everything. I mean EVERYTHING. The good news is it works. And the better news is it’s less expensive that you think (and probably less than you’re spending now). But it does take some effort. If that sounds like a good deal to you, read on.
UPDATE: BMW asked their employees what they needed and gave it to them [albeit this was focused on what they needed to be comfortable at work and nothing else] but the results were pretty spectacular.
Do we really need to review this people?
Dreams. People have dreams. And remember, your employees are people not “resources”. Have you ever asked your employees what their dreams are? What they want to accomplish in life? What is some place they’ve never been they’d like to visit? Something they’ve never done before? It may be as broad reaching as to buy their own home and build a better life for their kids. Or it may be as simple a chance to see a pro sports game live. Or maybe pay off some student loans. Ask. See what you can do to help them accomplish their dreams.
A Good Boss. I’m talking about their immediate supervisor. More people quit a good company with a bad boss than a bad company if they have a good boss. And this is a two-fer. The better bosses your people are, you get the benefit of retention, and you also get good supervisors.
Security. This one frustrates a lot of entrepreneurs. We know things are constantly changing and we can’t promise how it’s going to be in the future. And we don’t have any job security and we love it that way. But consider the good news. If all your employees thought like you do, they wouldn’t be working for you. They’d be working for themselves.
You can’t promise lifetime employment. What you can do is be open and honest about the state of things (the economy, your company, and their performance) and give them a way to continually improve their abilities. That includes training, the proper tools, and most importantly the proper feedback, mentoring and coaching. If you do have to lay people off, do it all at once, be honest about it, pull the remaining team back together and move on.
Money. Obviously. I don’t think anyone at your place is working just for all the fun and good coffee you provide. Even though entrepreneurs tend not to believe it – it’s true that if the money is decent it ceases to be a motivator and can even be a de-motivator. See Dan Pink’s book DRIVE for details. This is why a good retention program can be cheaper than what you’re spending now cycling through employees.
Recognition. Notice when people do a good job even if it’s their job to do a good job. Tell them. Mention it in front of others. In detail.
Check out what Rebekah Monson wants. She’s twenty-something. And she works for somebody. What would you do differently if you were her boss and she told this to you?