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Build And Grow

Ten ways to retain great employees

Nikki Roser

By Nikki Roser

Nikki Roser is the President & CEO of First Bank, a community bank serving Southeastern Illinois and Southwestern Indiana. She is a CPA, holds an MBA, is passionate about building relationships with entrepreneurs and business owners, and leverages her experience to share financial and strategic advice. Partnering with clients and watching their business thrive and prosper is her greatest joy.

When you think of key assets, most people immediately think of warehouse, machinery or vehicles. While those things allow you to operate, it’s your staff who can most influence your progress.

1. Be consistent

Regardless of what an employee’s role or responsibilities are, they should know what’s going to happen if they achieve or fail. Provide each employee with a detailed job description outlining all their responsibilities, tasks and targets so they know what a satisfactory performance level is.

2. Provide growth opportunities

One of the common characteristics of motivated employees is a focus on professional growth and building a career. This might mean researching a special topic, leading a small team or reporting back from a conference. Assigning a special responsibility can be a simple way to show you care about their future.

3. Optimize incentives

Benefit packages are usually provided in a one-size-fits-all template, but there’s no reason why they can’t be tailored. What appeals to one staff member doesn’t appeal to another. Survey your employees every couple of years to find out what they want and make sure you act quickly on your findings.

4. Be honest

Business owners often want to shield employees from reality if hard times are ahead, but that’s a very hard trick to pull off and it can often backfire. It can send the message that employees aren’t valued because they’re being kept in the dark. If there are challenges ahead, detail the hurdles and involve staff in how they and the company are going to attack them.

5. Offer rewards

Rewards don’t have to be hefty bonuses. The important thing is that the employee’s hard work is recognized. You can never assume an employee knows they are doing a good job, so let them know they’re doing well so they have a level of performance to maintain.

6. Ask for feedback

You research your markets and competitors, so why not get feedback from your employees? Set up a pressure-free system for gathering feedback, preferably anonymous, or just make it clear your door is open so employees can bring up any issues. You may be surprised to find out what influences your employees’ day-to-day working happiness.

7. Engage and excite

Communicate your passion for your business to employees and tell them about its potential so it becomes a project they feel good contributing towards. This will not only have a positive effect on customer service – as the employee will champion the company to customers – but it will help them buy into the role, creating a more emotional connection to their part in the company.

8. Provide tools and training

Asking someone to carry out a role without the proper training or tools contributes to a feeling of working in an unfair and inconsistent workplace, so make sure your staff are coached and supported sufficiently by you or their supervisors. Equally, staff have to be given adequate resources to fulfill their duties, and leeway at times when those resources might be temporarily unavailable.

9. Coach your managers

Your managers should be coaching staff and offering constructive feedback, and you should be doing the same for them. If you set a silent example, they may well be doing the same for their staff – a trend that can have a big impact on staff retention. Impart your experience to your managers or, if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, hire a leadership trainer who can do it for you.

10. Upgrade equipment

Take a look at your laptop. Does it weigh more than a bowling ball? A big complaint at many companies is outdated hardware and software. Not only does ancient equipment make your employees inefficient, but it also sends a message that your company has zero interest in staying up to date with the latest tools and technology.

Learn more ways to keep great employees by tapping in to our First Bank Academy training series, Leadership to Retain & Attract an Invincible Team. These complimentary webinars are equipping business owners with the tools needed to enhance leadership skills and create strong workplace cultures that foster employee retention.

What Great Things Can We Make Happen for Your Business?
Whatever’s next, let’s make it happen together. Check out our complete list of resources and tools for Indiana and Illinois small business owners just like you. Then start a conversation with one of our relationship managers and let us know what we can make happen for you!

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