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Want to Hire Great Employees? Why Not Focus on Keeping Them Instead?

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Jan 24, 2013

We all want people on our team who work hard, work smart, work together, and make work fun. But have you actually considered what you’ll do once you have your great employee?

For so many of us, our daydreams about the perfect employee end with the phrase, “You’re hired.” Maybe it’s time to start thinking about how to keep great employees, instead of just how to find great employees.

1. Give your great employee the whole tool box

One of the ways managers hamstring their new employees is forgetting to grant them access to all the tools, resources, trainings, and mentorship they need to be successful. This is especially true for companies without a dedicated training department.

Evaluate any new hire documentation at least twice a year to make sure it still aligns with your directives. Ask your current employees for what they wish they’d known before they started working on your team. And, above all, make sure your great new hire knows that if they have a gap in their knowledge they should feel comfortable enough to make you aware of the oversight.

2. Set clear expectations

All too often we underestimate our employee’s understanding of what we want from them.

Set regular meetings or email exchanges to clarify your priority items. Quickly communicate changes to strategy or new tasks. Great employees know that a manager who sets clear expectations will more easily identify their hard-working contributions to the company.

3. Build a trust environment

The best employees thrive in high-trust environments where they see their work as valued and necessary. You can build trust in your teams through effective listening, acting on employee suggestions, relating the company’s strategic direction to everyday employee tasks — the bigger picture often helps clarify the details — and by removing obstacles.

4. Recognize everyday wins

Don’t wait for an annual meeting to recognize great work. You want to keep your great employees by recognizing their day-to-day tasks and projects.

Find the good in a project gone bad. Make it a practice to verbally praise employees whenever possible. Pass a thank you note. Have an informal weekly prize.

Keep a “Stanley Cup”-type trophy that rotates around the team. Every day appreciation keeps great employees producing great results.

5. Establish consistently extraordinary rewards

Your best employee should know that they are invaluable to your team. Develop a rewards program that consistently recognizes your great employees.

Make these rewards something special with customized options for your workplace. A pattern of consistent recognition inside companies is proven to retain employees; we see it time and time again.

You can make a difference, reduce turnover, and connect with your employees when you have a clear reward program.

6. Appreciate the person

Your great employee needs to know not only is their great work being recognized, but that they’re also being appreciated as a person.

Be sincere and personal in your appreciation and show it often. Start on day one of their employment. Write a welcome card letting your new hire know how much you appreciate them and the contributions they’re bringing to the team. Then have each team member sign it, but don’t stop there. Be sure to show your appreciation again at the 30, 60, 90, 120 day, and one year milestones.

If you’re wondering how developing a culture of recognition can keep your great employees delivering results, find out how top Canadian accounting firm, BDO, changed their corporate culture to keep their talented employees.

This was originally published on the OC Tanner blog.

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