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Employee Retention and Communication

Pamela Jett 12-17

According to Deloitte’s fourth annual Ethics & Workplace Survey, one-third of employed Americans plan to look for a new job when the economy gets better.  Yikes!   Since turnover is extraordinarily expensive, it is in the best interest of organizations to focus now on preventing this massive loss of talent and intellectual capital.  Why do people plan on leaving?  48 percent cite a loss of trust in their employer and 46 percent say that a lack of transparent communication from their company’s leadership are their reasons.

Here are a few simple steps that anyone at any level within an organization can take to improve trust and communication.

Keep people informed. It is a fact of organizational life that when people begin to suspect that “something is up” the rumor mill starts working overtime.  And, the scary part is that in absence of good or reliable information, people will simply start to make things up.  They speculate, they guess and pretty soon those speculations take on the power of truth.  A good leader (at any level of the organization) keeps people informed to the best of their ability.  Even if they, the leaders, don’t have all the answers, a great leader will communicate that they are aware the concern exists and they will share information as it becomes available.  Employees would much rather know that their leader doesn’t have all the answers than to suspect their leader is holding out on them.

Point out the impact of contributions. Help people feel like what they do matters by pointing out the impact or the difference they make on a regular basis.  Instead of simply praising someone for a job well done, offer the praise and let them know why what they did is valuable.  When employees know that what they do matters, when there is no mystery around the role they play and the value they add to the organization, they are more likely to stay even when other opportunities are on the horizon.

Communicate awareness of career development. Although in the current job market the temptation is to “protect” and “hoard” opportunities, a great leader knows that delegating and putting opportunities for career development in the path of others is a great way to stay valuable to an organization.  If you are in a leadership position, demonstrate your awareness of the career development needs and wants of others.  Do what you can to acknowledge and support that need.  Spread the “high-profile” assignments around instead of relying on one or two “go to” people all the time.  Communicating and demonstrating an awareness that people need opportunities to shine in organizations makes you a more trustworthy leader.

While people may currently be happy to have any job, turnover will happen and it will happen sooner than later.  Now is the time to put your remarkable communication skills to work so that you are the kind of leader or colleague others want to work with and for.    Not only will this help prevent good people from leaving in the future, it can make your current work environment more rewarding, it can improve employee engagement, and it can make you a better leader (regardless of your title or job description.)


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