Strategies to retain key employees


Usually the employees are loyal to their organisation. But they become unhappy job-hoppers when they feel that they are not valued and not given enough challenges and opportunities.

It is true that many key employees are looking for better prospects and the present organisation is often only a pole-vault to jump into better pastures. Many of the key players, with a exception of few wait for the right opportunity to migrate.
Employee turnover is costly and it makes the organisation less efficient and productive. If we want to retain the top performers we need to know why people leave. The reasons for leaving may be many.

Lack of opportunities

For instance, many young and bright employees of today money is not the only concern. They are looking for more than compensation packages and benefits. They want challenges and job satisfaction. If you want to retain them, offer them not only money but challenges and risks. They thrive in challenges and love risks. They look for job satisfaction and contentment in their work. Job satisfaction comes out of their relationship with the management; it’s the effect of good working environment and is the fruit of their commitment to a vision.

Management support

One of the main reasons why people quit is the lack of support from the top management. The top management itself is often not aware of what is going on and not sure of what decisions to be taken. The victims of their poor communication and management are always those at the middle & bottom. The only thing top management communicate well is to tell the employees that they are responsible for every failure. If you want your employees to be loyal to you, support them when they need you. Be visibly present by their side in their struggles and appreciate their victories.

Monetary rewards

For many people today telling, “I don’t care about money, but I need challenges” is a fashion and a show off.  However, the ground reality is that most of the employees are there with you because of the rewards you give. When they feel that they are paid less than what they deserve, when they feel that you are not faithful to your promise to increase their package, when they feel that you don’t reward hard work and commitment its time for them to bid you bye. Better compensation and benefits will always keep them by your side.

Career development

No one likes to be in the same place for long. People seek for new experiences, changes and growth. Once they know that their present organisation doesn’t provide them opportunities for their career, personal and professional growth they feel suffocated in that rigid system. In such a dissatisfied atmosphere they long for liberation and when the right opportunity comes they pack up and leave you. The boss is one main reason why many employees leave. Managers and Supervisors are often shortsighted and fail to place the right employee in the right place. They make a highly talented person become a failure and the employee alone is made accountable for the losses. The management should consist of visionary people who are able to assess the potentials and strengths of the employees and give them the right opportunities and right challenges where they can excel.

It must create a positive work environment where people are rewarded and recognised, where free and open communications exist and where people feel excited and thrilled to work.

Often the workplace is so boring with many serious people around.  The workplace should be a home where people smile, relax and enjoy working. Every morning the person should eager to come to work. Friendly and homely place is a must if you want to retain your staff. The management is so much caught up in the web of profit and revenues that it looks at people only as a means to higher profits and forgets to look at them as persons. Listen to the employees, respect them and make work fun for them if you want them. Provide an employee-friendly environment where they can participate in decisions making, execution and evaluation.

Lack of freedom

If the employee can’t express his ideas and thoughts freely in the organisation he won’t last there. We must create an atmosphere where people feel free to contribute their ideas, criticise the existing systems and try out alternatives to make their work more productive and satisfying. There should be freedom to use talents and skills.  We need to invest in building up retention if we want our organisations to be successful. It’s our duty to motivate and retain the key players for the health and success of our organisation.

The writer is Head- HR, IR & Admin of L&T Komatsu Limited.

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