Employee poaching is a major challenge for employers who have great employees. Such employees are always a soft target for competitors who want to do better (which competitor doesn’t want to?). If the organization has talented employees, it is extremely important to keep him or her, because such an employee’s departure can hurt more than the arrival of a replacement.
Look at yourself first
The most important step an organization needs to take to keep good employees is to look at the mirror. The process of keeping good employees starts with a deep sense of introspection. If an organization is faced with a situation where it keeps losing employees like ninepins, it is time to look inwards. It has to very objectively assess why employees are leaving. If there is a systemic problem in the organization in that it has a problem of keeping talented employees, it had better correct the flaw, because it will continue to lose great employees every few months.
Be open to employee suggestions
For this to happen; the organization should be like an open door rather than like a closed window. It should not only be critical of itself; it should be very open to criticism (of the right kind, of course) from others. It should ideally consult its own employees and ask them to come out with suggestions that they think will help the organization keep its employees. This way, it not only understands employee feelings towards it; it also enhances its standing with its own employees by being consultative and transparent. A very important element it has to keep in mind is implementing the suggestions it gets from its employees. Not all suggestions can be implemented, but surely, the ones that make the most sense have to be. The organization should not forget to reward the employee who gives the best suggestion about keeping employees. It should acknowledge that the employee who gave the best suggestion is a valuable resource. The organization should make it known that it is this employee who has made the best contribution in helping it improve its bottom line by keeping its best resources.
Find that bad apple
The reason many good employees could be leaving can sometimes be because of one rotten apple. A particular manager’s team members may be leaving more frequently than others. Although most managements ensure that there is a certain level of homogeneity in going about achieving its goals; each manager is different. Each person brings in his own traits and management styles. There are the consultative managers; the authoritative ones; the team person and so on. Finally, there is the odd manager who is despised by the team members. The top management has to keep a watch on this manager and see if he is the one that needs to be shown the door, because throwing such an obstacle out could mean keeping good employees for longer durations.
Management should be very decisive when it comes to packing such a manager off. It should not be bound by emotions or feel embarrassed in taking decision of this magnitude. It should think of it as a means of helping the organization grow better by getting rid of one stumbling block.
Identify the employees
Sometimes, a few talented employees are habitual hoppers. Even if the organization does take great care of them; they are always jumpy and like to keep looking for opportunities. If the management notices that there is a steep decline in the quality of work in an otherwise high-performing employee; it has to put the scanners on. It has to start zooming in on that talented employee during such phases and understand if it is just a passing stage or a genuine desire to leave the organization that is making him perform below his best. If the likeliness of leaving is the reason; it has to sit and talk the issue clearly with such an employee. The management should try its best to see what it is that is making the talented employee think of this taking this step and address his grievances and areas of concern. If this is not done; it stands a risk of losing a good employee.
Make sure the stayers are rewarded
Most organizations do a great job at analyzing and resolving the problem, but are poor at follow ups. A very important follow up an organization that is keen to retain its workforce has to make is to ensure that the ones who stay back are happy and contented. It needs to demonstrate that the employees who remain will be valued. It can make simple but profound gestures like offering an unexpected pay raise or a reward in the form of an outing. It should start working more freely with the existing employees and create conditions by which they will find it difficult to leave.
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