Human Resources Update

Foster leadership skills to retain good employees

How many managers complain about the company when a good employee quits and want to blame it on someone other than themselves? Employees don’t quit the company; they quit the manager.

If you are a leader in your organization, take a good look in the mirror and think about the leadership skills you bring to work each day.

Are you an inspirational leader with confidence who challenges the status quo and knows how to accomplish the mission? Are you the same leader today that you were on your first day of work, or have you grown tired of the rat race and are now just coasting? Leadership skills that previously got you promoted may diminish over time and be less relevant than they once were.

Most leaders believe they will never fail. They believe they reached the top by themselves and they are better than other employees who lack the skills they possess.

However, many surveys have found that employees are looking for leaders who are honest, credible, forward-thinking, can confront and resolve conflict in the workplace, and have a vision of where they want the company to go.

Leaders who possess these skills bring out more talent, energy and motivation in the workforce than those who fall short in their leadership qualities.

Effective leaders are good role models for the organization, and their behavior should be modeled by other employees. They should be aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and the better they know themselves, the better leader they can become.

If you are a good leader you must first must be willing to change yourself. It’s easily said but not always easily done.

If you want your company to recruit and retain the best and brightest applicants and employees, then you must first look at your leadership and determine if you have the skills that are necessary to attract people with the qualities your organization is looking for to begin with.

Retention starts on the day a candidate completes an application for employment. If you want to retain your good employees, think of an applicant as a potential customer or client.

The manager or supervisor should be recruiting every day and always treat employees with dignity and respect, especially your great performers. Unfortunately, managers spend 90 percent of their time with 10 percent of the underperforming employees. Spend the extra time necessary to take care of the good employees.

Many companies have motivational slogans but fail to walk the walk or talk the talk. The slogan becomes meaningless, and your great employees quickly notice. Statistics support that many employees are looking for their next job on the second day they work for you.

Why is keeping good employees so important to the success of any company?

Most employee productivity charts reflect a bell curve. You have some at the top, your most productive, but most fall in the middle and fewer on the lower end of the spectrum.

Your most productive employees may possess the drive and energy to want to be promoted to higher levels. Those individuals may be your next generation of leaders for your organization. Recruiting great employees is expensive, so if your organization can promote from within, you may save thousands of dollars.

Assessing your great employees’ leadership skills then mentoring and developing them to be the future leaders of your company may give you that competitive edge your competitors lack.

Is it time consuming? Of course, but as a good leader of any company, that should be one of your primary tasks.

Look at the processes your company uses to recruit employees and determine if they are sufficient to bring in the type of talent your company needs to take it to the next level. Work with your HR Team to assess where your good employees are coming from. Find out why they left their previous employer and what brought them to your company.

Don’t forget your onboarding (orientation) process. Many managers think that process only entails filling out benefit forms. The reality is, the onboarding process needs to take place every day for many weeks or months. Most employees want a process that allows them to be effective, contributing team members. Training your employees in the specifics of their job description is one of the most important aspects of the onboarding process.

Follow this advice and ensure your good employee feels they made the right choice in coming to work for your company.

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Barbara Cruz Stallone, SPHR, is the owner of Stallone & Associates LLC. She is a 35-plus-year human resource professional. She was a partner with the Human Resource Umbrella LLC for 16 years before selling that company and is a member of the AGC.