Staying Competitive While Retaining the Best Staff


image_12In order to focus on retaining your best workers and staying competitive in the industry, you first need to look at why these employees tend to leave. When you understand what types of issues are forcing them out the door, you can concentrate on countering these concerns, so that employees stay with your company for the foreseeable future. While the myth is employees usually leave for more money, the truth is typically more complex.

To begin with, many employees switch companies simply because they are not receiving the treatment they desire. This might come down to supervisors with poor people skills. If employees feel like their supervisors are always bossing them around, being short and angry with their instructions, and generally adding to their level of stress, they may want to leave that environment even if it means taking a pay cut. In fact, Susan M. Heathfield reported on that “a bad boss is also the number one reason why employees quit their job.[1]” In a case like this, your retention rates could go up simply by replacing that supervisor or instituting new policies that create a more positive working environment.

Similarly, employees sometimes leave because of conflict with other employees. Heathfield also pointed out that “second only to an employee’s manager, the coworkers with whom he sits, interacts, and serves with on teams are critical components of an employee’s work environment[2].” If other employees are aggressive and consistently mean to them, they could leave a job that they actually love because they cannot stand working with that person. The best way to put an end to this is to address it upfront. Look for small conflicts and have management and the HR department work to defuse them before they get serious.

Finally, some employees leave because of a lack of advancement opportunities. This can be tied to money, but it’s not always connected. An employee may take a lower-paying job somewhere else if they feel the job they currently have is just a dead end. People grow bored and frustrated when they do not feel like they are working toward a goal, and Heathfield advises employers, saying that “if you have an employee who acts as if they are [bored], you need to help her find her passion[3].” Make sure that employees always have room to grow and move up in the organization.

Of course, money always has to be considered. If your pay levels are not competitive in the market, you are going to lose workers. However, concentrating on the three keys above can help you retain many employees in the years to come.