What is the number one reason why employees quit their jobs?
Is it low pay? Poor benefits? Or maybe it’s not enough vacation?
The answer: none of the above.
The reason employees quit is NOT because of how well they are compensated, but rather because of how well they are treated.
That’s why if you want to increase employee retention, you need to increase positive work relationships.
Strategy 2: Work on Your Work Relationships
To create good work relationships with your employees, you must first treat your employees like adults. If this makes you a little nervous, then you might not have the right culture to get started on this strategy just yet.
Create a Culture of Accountability
Would you call me insane if I said I trust an entire group of high school athletes to honestly track their own scores, call themselves out on breaking regulations, and hold themselves to a high degree of sportsmanship?
Then send me to the madhouse, because I do. And I’m not alone. There are others who trust these student athletes just as much as I do. Who are these athletes? Golfers.
Golf is a weird sport for a lot of reasons, but the thing I want to focus on is the culture.
Nearly every sport (high school, college, and even professional) requires at least one official and scorekeeper to honestly track scores, uphold regulations, and enforce sportsmanship. Golf is not typically one of these sports.
Sometimes schools will hire scorekeepers and rules regulators for tournaments, but there’s usually too many athletes to do this for every meet. And golf is not a sport that brings in a lot of revenue (unless it’s the PGA).
Solution? Hold the athletes accountable (high school athletes included).
The culture of golf is centered around integrity and respect. Coaches, instructors, parents, and fellow golfer athletes all work together to instill this belief in every golfer. Everyone, no matter their rank, works together to create and uphold this culture.
You can do the same with your business. Start from the top and explain to your management what you want to do and how you want to accomplish this goal. Once everyone is on board, work your way down to get everyone involved in creating the ideal culture of accountability.
When people are held accountable, they feel more personally and emotionally connected to what it is they are doing, which in turn makes them happier. Bonus, because everyone is involved, they’ll help you hold other employees accountable and teach new employees about the culture.
This kind of work culture is tough to find and even tougher to leave.
Trust Your Employees
Once you have the right culture, trust comes next. Trust your employees to do their jobs well. This doesn’t mean you need to turn your employees loose with zero supervision or that you need to place your blind faith in them with the hopes that they’ll always do the right thing.
Clearly explain your expectations and check in periodically. You might be surprised by how many people are willing to go above and beyond your expectations for simply being trusted.
When a person feels trusted, they feel like they have the freedom to control their own happiness at work.
How reasonable is it to expect a sales rep to understand the duties of a bookkeeper?
It’s not reasonable at all. A sales rep is good at their job because they have right skills, knowledge, and experience to do that job, not other jobs.
A lot of small businesses start off with one person doing every job (which is no easy feat). But when this happens, typically that person didn’t know how to do every job the same way a person who specializes in a field would.
Can you say without a doubt that you have all the skills, knowledge, and experience to perform every position at your business just as well, if not better, than the current employees?
If so, kudos to you. That’s seriously impressive.
But if you’re among us mere mortals, you know you have your limits. You understand that you can do your job well, and you might be able to do a good enough job in other positions, but the reason you hired someone else is because they were better suited to the position.
Knowing this, it should also make sense that your employees should have a certain degree of responsibility in decision-making.
When a person works in a process over and over and over again, they start to see the flaws in the process and know how to make it work better. If an employee doesn’t feel like they have the authority to make such a judgement call, that can eat at them because they know they can help you and your business run things much more smoothly.
Not having this small amount of responsibility can make employees feel detached from their work, which drives them to look for something more meaningful elsewhere.
Treat Employees Like Assets
Everyone wants to feel like their needed, and that includes at work. When you treat an employee like an asset, they’ll become one.
This is called a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s psychological. If you repeatedly tell someone over and over again that they’re a loser, they might shrug it off at first. But eventually, their mind will subconsciously agree with this statement and that person will start sabotaging themself to the point that they do become a loser.
The opposite is also true. If you constantly instill the idea that your employees are assets and that they are necessary for your business, their minds will agree with this and adjust their mentalities and habits to become assets.
When an employee feels like they are needed and have a place at a business, they’re much less likely to look elsewhere for employment, even if they can find better pay and benefits.
Remember: Employees Are People
Employees are not unfeeling robots or endlessly loyal dogs. They’re people. And all people have their limits and personal circumstances.
You don’t have to be your employees’ best friend or psychologist; you just have to be understanding when it matters most.
Make exceptions when the need arises. This small gesture can mean the world to a person.
There are about a million other ways you can treat your employees like an adult, but the above methods work together to increase productivity, efficiency, and positive sentiments toward your business.
Look forward to the next employee retention strategy, where we’ll discuss hiring.
What strategies do you use to keep your employees happy? Let us know in the comments below!