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5 Keys to Retaining Staff


5 Keys to Retaining Staff

The absolute most expensive thing within a business is labor and training. It costs a good amount of money to get an entry level staff member to the acceptable level of a seasoned staff member. This training is not free. The last thing you want to happen after investing all this money into someone is to have them leave the organization. So, here are 5 Keys to Retaining Staff. 

  1. The first key is to have clear expectations and job descriptions. While this sounds easy, it’s the most common mistake of a small business owner. We tend to expect far too much out of a team member simply because we are small business. Develop job descriptions and positions so that entry level people have a clear idea of what they are supposed to do when they clock in.
  2. The second key is having a ladder to climb. The ability to grow within an organization is what takes something from being a job to becoming a career. Tie your ladder in with your job descriptions and suddenly you have an organization that cultivates growth. Be sure you set those clear expectations and create structure for your team. Trust me, they will love you for it!
  3. The third key is to avoid the IF/THEN principle as much as possible. This is the principle that IF they do something THEN they get something. This is an old school way of thinking and doesn’t cultivate rock stars. It creates people that do what it takes to get what they want. Instead, reward good behavior and discipline bad behavior. These rewards should not be expected or predictable.
  4. The fourth key is to catch people doing something right. This is a principle I learned early in my career with the original book, “The One Minute Manager” written in 1982. The whole first week that someone works you should be reinforcing good behavior. This is a refreshing experience for all staff. Imagine coming into work and knowing you are doing things right…what a concept.
  5. The fifth and final key is to act human. As leaders or owners, we tend to act invisible. We often put out the persona that we can do no wrong. This creates a barrier between you and your people. The biggest step to team cultivation is when a leader can admit that they did something wrong or that they are human. This creates a bond within the team that it is ok to make mistakes. The most important part is a very simple but powerful word…ownership. When you take ownership, your team will follow.
Jonathan Monson
Auburn, WA
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6 comments on 5 Keys to Retaining Staff

  1. Ron Ayotte says:

    Another thing one can add to the “be human” part… notice if your employee is having an “off day” and ask what is going on. While my detail venture is a one-man operation, in my previous career before retiring as a Deputy Fire Chief, I was in charge of a group of a Captain, two Lieutenants and fourteen firefighters. I would make it a point to stop by each firehouse on each tour of duty and get a feel of what was happening. I could tell if someone was “off”. I would pull them aside and ask if everything was okay.

    I had a reasonably new firefighter who had seemed “distant” on one station visit. I asked him how he was and he stated that his brother had just called to notify him that his mother had been transported to the hospital via ambulance for a medical emergency. I told him to take the station’s support vehicle, and go to the ER to be with his family and that we would cover him. Compassion is part of being human.

  2. Greg Pautler says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing!

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