The most important investment leaders can make is the investment in their team members. Invest wisely and you’ll reap some major dividends, including a coherent, energized, and productive team. Invest poorly, however, and you could have some problems on your hands—including a retention problem.
And that’s a big deal! For one thing, it’s costly; it leaves you needing to find, hire, and onboard new people, all of which can be expensive. Plus, continual churn can dampen whatever cohesion or chemistry your team is developing.
An investment in employee retention is vital, then—and part of that means avoiding the most common employee retention errors.
Common Mistakes with Employee Retention
Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.
Not starting early enough. Employee retention doesn’t start once the employee has been with the company for a couple months; it begins the minute you hire them! In fact, I’d argue that it can start even before that, during recruitment. Show employees from the get-go that you want to invest with them, specifically in the form of educational and professional development opportunities. Start earning their loyalty right out of the gate.
Failing to understand why employees leave. Have you taken the time to think about the reasons why employees jump ship? Often, employees leave because they don’t like their manager. In other cases, it might be because they don’t feel connected to the mission of the company; or, they don’t see those professional development opportunities. You can’t really be serious about retaining employees unless you’re honest about why they leave.
Neglecting balance. Work-life balance remains a big concern for employees—and one of the best ways to keep them in the fold is to make that balance a priority. Lead by example, making sure you’re not sending emails late into the evening. Also, offer benefits that provide some flexibility—chances to work from home, more porous work hours, etc.
Failing to communicate. Finally, just note that communication is always part of the solution. Specifically, I recommend two things. One, make it clear to employees how they contribute to the big picture. And two, always ask about any problems, obstacles, or roadblocks they are dealing with—then do what you can to remove them.