– Listen to them, and make sure you take actions that let them know you are listening. Every human being needs to feel that their contributions are appreciated and that their opinion matters. Otherwise work is a mindless drudge with no purpose (other than a paycheck), and the employee has no emotional connection to the work they do or the company that employs them.
– People want to feel they belong to a workplace community where they can develop friendships, encourage others and feel encouraged themselves. Companies that only seem to value “wins” and “quota crushers” and don’t encourage a culture of community lose out. Those that value team building and encourage risk taking, on the other hand, tend to keep quality employees longer.
– Internal mentoring is a must. Speaking of teams, it’s really no secret that mentoring (both being mentored and the act of mentoring another person), is a valuable practice for both new and established employees. It instills a sense of welcome for the new employee who’s a little nervous about fitting in, and helps all participants establish good relationships in a collaborative atmosphere.
– Make sure people’s opinions are valued. Are your employees afraid that if they voice an opinion they might get put down, harassed or even fired? This is another culture issue that is overlooked by those organizations that are out of touch with their staff.
– Senior leadership MUST lead by example. Your employees watch your leadership style and take cues from it. If they never hear a word from the C-suite outside the executive office, or if they feel there is a disparity between your stated values and what you actually do—watch out. It’s hard to “rally the troops” if they don’t feel connected to you or your ideals. Leaders who truly inspire their employees lead by example. They’re personable and accessible, and employees feel they can trust them.
– Empower employees socially. Do you require that employees shut down (or severely limit) their social presence? Are violations of this policy grounds for dismissal? If you’re afraid of what your employees might say about you in their private networks, then you’ve either hired the wrong employees or you’re in the wrong business. Every company should have a clear social media policy, but it shouldn’t include draconian measures to control conversation. More and more companies are finding value in empowering their employees to be advocates for them in their private networks.
– Be flexible when it comes to allowing personnel to work remotely. Current technologies make it relatively easy to set up remote networks, monitor hours, set up group meetings—everything you can do from the office. Most employees view being able to work remotely (even one day a week) as a great perk, and it can benefit your organization as well.
Chances are good that your competition is going out of their way to offer support, a flexible working environment, and a sense of family and common purpose. If you do the same, and become a leader in this respect, chances are good that your relationships with your best employees will flourish and you will attract many more.
Your Brand/Business is what you do; your Reputation is what people, especially employees, Remember and Share.