We spend a lot of time talking to clients about how to retain and engage their team. On a normal day, this can be challenging. In our current employment market, it is critical to pay attention to keeping your A players but also focusing on how to unlock the hidden potential in your entire team.
Here is our basic philosophy.
Your team is your team. We see a lot of companies spending significant time and effort externally focused, on the competition, the market, the economy, etc…. From our view, one of the most critical competitive advantages a company has are their employees. It is also one of the only areas that you have complete control over. Work with your senior team to do a full evaluation of each member of the team. Are they A, B or C players? Do you have any D’s or F’s? If so, they should go. They take up precious management time and pull down the morale and engagement of your stronger players.
The next step is to focus on how to turn a C into a B, a B into an A and most importantly, identify what is needed to keep your A players fully engaged. Most employers assume money is the ultimate motivator. In most cases, it is not. Here are some other critical driving forces/motivators you can leverage to fully engage/retain your team.
Knowledge/Learning – Ask them if there are looking to explore/master a new skill, area of the company, client type, industry? Employees who desire lifelong learning highly value the opportunity to expand their knowledge/expertise
Balance – We have seen a significant shift in the younger generations. They highly value experiences and work/life balance. Ask them if there is a trip, concert, restaurant that they are dying to experience. Show an interest in their interests and they will feel valued. If possible offer time off to allow them to enjoy the day. If you have the budget, offer to pay for the experience a few hundred dollars for a great meal or concert goes a long way to their feeling valued.
Power/Leadership – Titles are free. Ask them what is important to them as far as a career path goes. Do they talk about titles? Promoting an individual who places a high value on their reputation can make a huge impact on their engagement. They can update their LinkedIn profile, announce it on social media, and get new business cards. Short money for a big return.
Altruism – We see companies making huge mistakes by jumping on the social responsibility bandwagon. Volunteerism/Charity is personal. Ask them if they have a cause they are passionate about. We recommend encouraging employees to identify the causes they would like to support. This allows those individuals who are passionate about certain causes to pursue them in a supportive corporate environment. It feels much more genuine and will result in the employee feeling more connected to your organization.
By identifying the true motivation of each member of your team you form a deeper, more sincere connection. It is the ultimate win/win, they feel like you “get them” and become more connected to both you as a leader and to the organization. In turn, you get a highly engaged employee who is willing to go the extra mile.