Dec 07, 2017 | 4
Minute Read

Stop trying to retain employees and instead do these four things

happy worker dude.jpgThere’s a problem with the way that business owners try to retain talent. It revolves around the fact that most business owners try to retain in the first place. Not only is it a reactive way to approach talent, it can be a turnoff for ambitious talent who aspire to bigger and better things.

There are quite a few factors playing against an employer who merely tries to “retain” their talent. With sites like glassdoor,, and LinkedIn, candidates are able to learn more about what they should and should not receive from employers. In essence, candidates can take more calculated risks when applying for new roles.

Also, the time that it takes for a candidate to apply for a role is less than it was in the past and can be done at odd hours of the day, thanks to technology platforms like Monster, Indeed, and The Muse.

Lastly, the gig economy is enabling some professionals to diversify their income portfolios, generating revenue from side hustles and passion projects.

Thus, the landscape for employee retention in companies has to change. Rather than retaining employees, focus on four can’t miss ideas instead and not only will you retain great talent, you will develop that talent to achieve levels even they may not have thought possible.

Engage your employees

How much time do you spend actually talking with and listening to your employees? Do you really understand what makes them tick? Identifying their sentiment is key in determining whether or not they are happy or unhappy at the end of each day. A happy worker is much more likely to be a productive worker, so doing what you can to ensure their happiness will go a long way in gaining productivity.

Certain things really matter to certain people. For years, the workplace model was to do your job, follow the rules and eventually earn a raise. While few will walk away from a pay increase, it’s not the be all, end all when it comes to employee happiness. Not everyone is motivated by the almighty dollar, pound, yen or otherwise. Aligning with your employees’ values and helping them to manifest these values in the workplace will keep employees interested and engaged.

Every person has a unique behavioral style. Since no two people are alike, no two job descriptions should be the same either. How you adapt a job to a workers behavioral style, especially when it comes to what motivates them, the more you as a company leader can identify with that worker. It no longer becomes a job, it becomes a team or even a family. Now the worker doesn’t just want to get by, they want to excel and exceed expectations. In this scenario, everybody wins.

Do you ask your workers for their feedback? And when they provide valuable feedback, do you act on it? It’s a long standing known fact that in sales, if you can get a potential client to tell you their wants and needs, they’ve essentially sold themselves. All you need to do then is deliver your product or service. So why then would it be any different in the workplace? If an employee is willing to be forthcoming and tell you what he or she wants in their ideal job, it would behoove the company to listen to and accommodate that employee’s reasonable requests.

Educate your employees

While some workers may be happy doing the same job throughout their career, most workers aspire to bigger and better things in the workplace. Two key components need to be in place to help that employee achieve the next step: knowledge and confidence.

An employee needs the knowledge to be able to ascend the company ladder so give that person ample opportunities to improve his or her knowledge. This will not only improve their ability, but will increase their confidence at the same time.

Half the battle of moving up the company ladder is believing you are capable of doing the job at the next level.

Help develop your employees

While education is an important component, it is but one part of the overall developmental process. For an employee to progress, they need to be exposed to new skill sets that increase their knowledge, develop their confidence and keep them interested. Maybe a person has an interest in management? Give that person a chance to lead a weekly meeting.

Presenting opportunities to see what it takes at the next level will help the person understand more about the next position while simultaneously preparing them for that next position. Essentially, instead of continuously training them to excel at their current job, spend time and resources training them to excel at their next job, whether that is with your company or with another. Assign them challenging projects that help them grow both as an individual and as a valued member of the company.

Importantly, teach your employee that it’s ok to take risks and sometimes fail; it’s all part of the job. There’s no reward without risk and failing is sometimes the best teacher in the world. Embrace risk, exit the comfort zone and don’t be afraid to meet a new challenge head on. After all, the goal is not perfection, but growth.

Help employees to excel

Give your employees the ability to do a good job. Set them up for success by giving them the tools, knowledge, support and anything else they need to succeed. Gauge their growth based on the things that motivate them. What would make them happy? Do they want individual recognition? More autonomy? A title? Maybe a corner office?

Be a mentor to your employees. You’ve been in their shoes and have done what they want to do. Spend some time helping them achieve the goals they have, as someone likely helped you in the past. Very few virtuosos exist in the real world. It usually takes a mentor to take the time - and the interest - in a person to bring out their innate skills. Find someone with potential and help them find and develop that potential to the best of their ability.


The employment model has changed so you need to stop trying to retain employees. Instead, find ways to help them accomplish their goals via engagement, education and development.  Help them excel and build confidence. Find out what matters to them and help them achieve those things. Doing these simple but important tasks will take retention out of the question because not only will your good employees stay, they will continue to grow within the organization...and they’ll probably recruit their like-minded friends to join your company, as well. And even if they leave your company, they will refer their smart friends to work with you.

Find Out Why Retention Is Dead

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Candice Frazer

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