We often start with great intentions, but after four "new" program launches in a year, limited resources to really do anything to support each launch, and quarterly reviews that really push the numbers over the people, employees tend to become cynical.
Retention to me comes down to these points:
- TRUST. Do I trust my employees to do their best work each day? If so, how do I enable that and get out of their way? Challenge: Ask yourself if your policies and procedures really communicate trust.
- MEANING & PURPOSE. Do people know how their job connects to the big picture? Do they see how they are making a difference? Is their purpose for being bigger than the paycheck?
- INTEGRITY. If the employees have been asked to sacrifice during tough times, have the executives made the same commitment? Have they taken cuts along with everyone else? If benefits were cut companywide, but the executives received HUGE bonuses for "saving" money what does that communicate?
- OPPORTUNITY. Do people have an opportunity to grow & learn new skills? Will they be trained and brought up into new roles? How does working for this company help me over the long-term?
- APPRECIATION. Are people recognized as human beings just trying to pay their bills and doing so by giving the best part of their waking hours to the organization? This isn't just about giving awards (admittedly, an important part) because often times it is connecting the achievement with the award that is lacking. People want connections with the people they work with . . . recognition is a tool for facilitating these connections. So, if people aren't connecting more afterwards, what went wrong?
To get beyond gimmicks, we must ask what our motives really are when it comes to influencing others. Is it just to save money? Or is it because I really care about this person and how they contribute to the organization overall?