Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

Leadership Blog

Employee Retention Plan


Retaining employees can be a challenging task. And keeping employees is not all about monetary compensation. In fact, it is more important to determine what makes individual employees feel engaged. In other words, seek to learn what gives team members in your workplace a sense of belonging. Remember that employees may have different wants, needs, and/or expectations. For instance, younger team members may desire more training and camaraderie in order to satisfy their career aspirations and social needs. As a general rule, employees tend to be happier and stay longer when their job delivers personal gain and a sense of purpose.


Two Keys to Remember:

  1. Consider every employee to be unique. In order to understand the wants and needs of your employees ask them one simple question: “What moves you?” This simple question will encourage dialogue. More importantly, the answer that is provided holds the promise of unlocking what kind of workplace climate creates a sense of belonging for that employee.


  1. Seek to be agile/anticipatory with regard to employee retention. While being flexible to workplace situations is necessary, this reactive trait may cause a leader to act too late with regard to retaining key employees. On the other hand, anticipating workplace situations that imperil employee retention gives leaders more time to take preventative action. In addition, agile/anticipatory leaders seem to always keep employee retention in the forefront of their minds.


Four Actions for Leaders to Bring to the Table:

  1. Recognition and Feedback.  If available, participate in company recognition programs that reward employees. Also, frequently and generously communicate positive feedback with team members. Hold group events that encourage intra-team and inter-team communication outside of the normal work environment. Further, make a big deal out of accomplishments, meaningful effort, and hard work. Always ask your employees for direct feedback on yourself and the organization in order to better understand their perceptions and concerns.


  1. Lead as a Visionary.  Tell employees where the organization is going, why organization is going there, and how your employees fit into the journey. Also, seek to lead your team by living the values of the organization, and communicate those values often.


  1. Develop Your People.  Effective leaders offer training and development in a planned fashion. Lay out a set of expectations for the employee so that both of you understand training needs, development goals, and the timeframe associated with enhanced professional skills.


  1. Monetary Compensation.  Studies show that monetary compensation, while a part of employee retention, is generally thought of as the last of four key items that are critical to retaining employees. Yet, it should not be discounted as part of your employee retention plan. Continually be aware of the market value of your employees. To the best of your control, make adjustments based on performance as well as competitive baseline salaries.


Remember, not every element of your employee retention plan is in your control.  Some, such as salary and benefits, you can merely influence. Company policies often dictate what can be changed in these areas. As such, stay agile and focus on things you can control. In this regard, seek to be a visionary leader, deliver training and development, and lavish your employees with recognition and positive feedback.



Do you want to use this newsletter in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. To learn more about leadership development programs, coaching and consulting services, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com. 

© 2013 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2013-12-02 at 01:59 PM
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