HR leaders and line managers do not need to be told about the challenge of retaining key employees. It rates as the number one people challenge in all private sector organisations, compounded by serious skill shortages in several verticals.
It is interesting to note that a wide range of organisations are now recruiting to talent pipelines and requesting talent maps for key positions in case they become vacant. However, most firms are working out how to improve overall employee retention without blowing the cost of reward.
HRM’s bi-annual employee engagement report identifies the essential elements to employee retention across all professional functions. In every report we issue, ahead of hundreds of other engagement elements including compensation, “the company showing respect to its employees” ranks as the number one factor in retention.
Showing your employees respect does not cost the organisation anything. Losing them due to a lack of respect does. From our analysis of the research on the drivers of respect, we understand that Leaders need to put aside time to listen to their employee’s ideas and concerns for improving their own performance and where relevant, the performance of the function or department too.
Employees don’t expect you to do everything that they suggest, but they expect you at least to listen. Issues that simply cannot be addressed for good reason, must not be simply buried by the leader. Talk with the employee and explain the reason behind why the outcome cannot be achieved as the employee wishes it to be. Burying the idea creates a vacuum of disrespect.
Respect means a leader keeps an ear out for potential conflicts in the team. Employees generally don’t like drawing attention to these but they can cause severe angst. Respect is getting to the bottom of the conflict, rather than avoiding it and working to resolve it in an open and transparent manner. Show respect to your employees by understanding the true strengths and weakness of your team. Allocate tasks to people in a manner that aligns to those strengths to build confidence and motivation levels. Work out which of your employees likes to be challenged and point stretch projects to these people in particular. Invite them to keep you informed of their progress which reminds them of the responsibility you have shared and the importance you place on their activity. Take a particular interest in the development of your employees and go to bat for them on issues such as training investment or other resources that help them to build their skill toolbox.
Communication is at the heart of respect and should be verbal, not written. Employees want the attention of their leaders, this is an opportunity to provide that. How something is said matters as much as what is said. Communication is not just a task to be performed, it is emotion that needs to be shared. Tone is key to Respect.
Respect is a two way street, it needs to be given by the leader to be received. A HBR study on this subject says 50% of managers do not show respect to their employees. Imagine the damage they are doing.