Recruiting top employees involves a relevant understanding of what attracts candidates to an opportunity; what do they want, and what are their priorities. Once you have them on board, how do you retain them? The needs and priorities of an employee can be different than those of a candidate.
In addition to the usual priorities like compensation, benefits and a flexible work schedule, most employees have four (4) basic needs to be happy and engaged in the workplace. Those four needs are: Caring, Respect, Appreciation, and Praise.
Caring – Most people can tell if you genuinely care about them or not. Something in your voice, the way you address them, or even your body language can tip them off. Sincerity is difficult to fake and insincerity is difficult to hide. Employees need to know their management cares about them for more than just what they bring to the business each day. Be sure they know your door is always open. Make certain you are responsive by setting aside sufficient time to understand their concern and to try and help address it. Remember, for them, coming to you is a big step. If you seem at all as if you do not care, or that you do not have time for them, they may not come to you again.
Respect - Everyone wants respect. Respect for what they do and respect for how they do it. One of the quickest ways to demonstrate a lack of respect for your employee is to micromanage. Micromanaging suggests a lack of trust in your employee’s ability to get the job done. On the other hand, one of the best ways to demonstrate respect for your employee is to allow them to grow to their full potential. Offer your leadership and mentoring to help them succeed. Provide training for employees who demonstrate initiative and show true promise for advancement.
Appreciation – Showing your appreciation for an employee’s results and work ethic is not difficult, and it does not have to be expensive. We sometimes focus far too much and far too often on the negative, and not enough on the positive. A simple “Thank You” can go a long way. A pair of movie coupons or recognition in front of peers is a great way to show your appreciation. Without appreciation, an employee may feel beaten and defeated. They will eventually come to believe they can do nothing right, and will not want to come to work.
Praise – This is really just “appreciation” kicked up a notch or two. It is always nice to feel appreciated, but to receive praise is an entirely different feeling. Praise is larger, and therefore should be reserved for recognition of an employee going above and beyond their everyday job function. An innovative idea, a new time-saving process, or productivity metrics well over 100% are just a few reasons to award special praise over simple appreciation. Praise for employee who exceeds their expectations can also serve to incent other team members to “step up their game” in order to receive similar recognition.
This all sounds very simple, but in fact it takes time and thought. These are very deliberate actions on the part of leaders, and time must be built into the day to accomplish even two or three of these for at least one or two individuals. Over time, Caring, Respect, Appreciation and Praise will begin to filter across the workforce and you will have employees who not only trust you, but are loyal to you and your organization as well. Employees will feed off of the positive culture and demonstrate care, respect, appreciation and praise for co-workers.
If you have questions or need assistance thinking through this issue please contact a member of your CAI Advice and Resolution Team.