The battle for top talent has created a pendulum effect that fluctuates between a candidate-driven and an employee-driven marketplace.
Despite this pendulum, some organizations consistently secure and keep the best people and create a thriving culture that engages, enriches, and fulfills the employees within their company.
These organizations are some of the most successful; for example, Southwest Airlines’ profit record hit 45 years of consistent profitability in January of 2018. An organization like Southwest is not created by some magic elixir; they engage in best practices that we can replicate.
Southwest chose early on to build a “culture of retention” and make it their priority to develop programs that promote this core belief. You can too, with one of the following recommendations.
Clear and Quantifiable Career Path
Ask an individual what his or her next step is in their career, and they’re likely to share with you the title that is one rank above where they are currently. However, what would they answer to the following question?
- What is your organization doing to get you to that next career step; to train and equip you with the skills necessary to excel in a future role?
When the answers to these questions aren’t clear, it’s reasonable to expect that they will begin to explore career growth potential outside the organization.
Invite key employees to play a role in their career development. Not just sit back and patiently (or not so patiently) wait for someone to train them, promote them, and shape their futures.
Think about the critical members of the team; the more difficult an employee is to replace, the more dedicated your effort should be to challenge, inspire, and lead their development.
The end of the beginning of the year is commonly associated with reviews and raises. Because these two often go together, employees sitting are generally thinking “How does this review impact the bonus or raise I deserve?” People tend to focus more on the financial implications of feedback, not the feedback itself. We suggest separating these two events.
Consider shifting the entire dynamic of the evaluation process. Instead of providing your feedback, consider first getting that individual’s perspective. Ask for the following initial feedback from your people first.
- How do you feel about your progress to date? Are you where you thought you would be here?
- How have your responsibilities changed and evolved as you’ve grown in this past year? What are you taking on now, that you haven’t previously?
- How are you limited? How can we help you overcome those limitations?
- Given your talents, how can you use those to serve, or to help, others in our organization?
Asking thought-provoking, contribution and growth-based questions allows leadership to learn everyone’s perspective, which allows more effective employee engagement.
The purpose here is –
‘Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.’
Two-Way Street Leadership
Ask every team member to create their own annual professional career plan. One that illustrates what you can count on from them, and what they need from you to deliver.
Open dialogue that is individually directed will result in a list of exciting new initiatives, programs, and work.
Creating a “culture of retention” is a journey, not a destination.
Building a clearly defined career path for each employee, that includes them in the process, constantly evaluating progress based on measurable milestones, and committing to an environment of real-time, useful feedback is just one step in that journey. These useful tips area starting point to building the kind of culture within your company and team that will drive employee career satisfaction and retention.