Losing good employees is expensive.
There’s no way around it. It costs time and resources to recruit people, and when they leave we lose everything we’ve invested in them. Finding good workers is even harder here in Vermont, where businesses are constantly searching for qualified help. That’s why it’s important do everything we can to keep good people around. Here are just a few methods that are working well for other businesses.
Let Them Solve Problems Their Own Way
It’s hard to believe that a few of us managers are control freaks, but we’re out there. And why wouldn’t we be? If we don’t lay down precise instructions on how to handle different situations it could throw a monkey wrench in the whole operation, right?
Many companies find that giving employees some autonomy in problem solving, especially customer service complaints, makes them more happy and productive. Consider for a moment how often businesses chain their employees to inflexible solutions that make it impossible to resolve problems on their own. If you’ve ever been on the phone with an airline customer service rep and found yourself boiling over with frustration about bureaucratic rules you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Try giving workers some guidelines to follow and let them solve problems as they see fit. By giving them reasonable solutions for customer complaints, you will take a lot of anxiety out of their jobs – no one wants to deal with angry customers all day – and in addition they’ll have the satisfaction of turning a bad situation around and making people happy.
Keep Communication Open
The National Business Research Institute named lack of communication as one of the top complaints employees have about their employers, a problem which is not a one-way street.
When employees feel like they can’t speak up about their concerns out of fear of reprisals, problems go unaddressed and a toxic atmosphere leeches in. When they eventually give their notice managers often feel blind-sided because they were completely unaware a problem existed. Communication not only means keeping employees prepared for changes or events that impact their jobs, it also involves meeting with them on a regular basis and truly listening to their concerns.
These meetings should be productive, so be sure to ask questions, take notes, and then follow through with solutions to real problems they are facing. People always feel happier when they know they can talk to their managers without fear of getting stabbed in the back.
Keep Them Well Trained
Developing a training program is one of the smartest investments you can make in your staff. Many workers, especially young ones, are always looking for opportunities to advance their careers. Helping people develop their skill sets and strive for new positions keeps them engaged and reduces the tendency to look for greener pastures. Training is also a good team building activity where employees can learn from each other and build bridges across departmental barriers.
Reduce Stress By Increasing Efficiency
Let’s face it – we are all trying to do more with less, especially with personnel. People are overworked, which leads to depressed morale and lost productivity. On the other hand, business owners cannot turn around and hire new bodies whenever they feel like it.
Investing in new technology that helps employees work more efficiently can boost morale and the bottom line. People feel more of a sense of accomplishment when they spend less time on mundane tasks that can be automated or streamlined, and with the emergence of cloud-based software, new innovative solutions are more affordable than ever.
Employees have goals, just like you, and by trying to help them you will earn their respect and trust. This is no guarantee they won’t leave, of course, but why not give them fewer reasons to quit? Good people are worth the effort.