Employee turnover can have a monetary impact, costing companies millions in lost productivity, training, team disruption and quality control issues. Many businesses report that the total cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5-2 times annual salary. A study by AMA (American Management Association) reports a range of between 25 percent and 250 percent of annual salary per exiting employee. The cost varies greatly, depending on the industry and job type and the impact can be far more significant than just financial.
Once you’ve found a successful employee—one you want to go the distance with—how can you motivate them to stay on? I can sum it up in two simple words: you matter. When an employee feels that they matter, the positive side effects are almost limitless, including loyalty, job satisfaction and increased productivity. A McKinsey Quarterly survey showed that workers were more motivated by praise from managers (67%), recognition from company leaders (63%) or opportunities to lead projects (62%) than cash, bonuses, or options. Here are some ways you can show an employee they matter:
Share your organization’s vision—Align company strategies with your employee’s goals. Goal alignment is critical for business success. When an employee clearly understands their individual goals and how they relate to the larger goals of the company, they become more engaged with work. Helping an employee to understand their role in terms of the big picture can give them a clear sense of purpose. It will make them feel valued which in turn will lead to stimulating productivity. Win-win!
Offer encouragement and productive feedback on a regular basis—People need to know that they’re being noticed. The best part about this type of motivation is that there is no cost: it’s free to compliment, encourage and offer supportive feedback.
Consider more flexibility—With all of the advances in technology, consider opportunities that allow people to take advantage of the ability to work anytime, anywhere (as long as there’s an internet connection). You may be able to offer flexible scheduling or occasional telecommuting as long as the performance is consistent, which will help build trust and meet a successful employee’s desire for flexibility.
Self-direction makes a difference—Telling an employee what to do and how to do it essentially turns people into robots. Management with too much control doesn’t motivate or retain successful, thinking employees. When possible, allow employees the opportunity to work at a pace and with a method that suits them the best.
Offer continuing education and professional development—Most successful employees want to advance by continuing to grow and develop their skills. Bringing in speakers or encouraging employees to attend leadership conferences is a top professional priority.
Make time for personal projects—Companies such as Google and 3M like to offer employees time to work on personal projects that resonate with them individually. This not only helps them feel more engaged, but also has the effect of boosting creativity in the workplace, too. “On a regular basis, allow team members to work on whatever they want,” says Tim Elmore, the founder and president of Growing Leaders, a non-profit dedicated to youth leadership development. “This allows employees to take initiative, be creative and produce something on their own.”
“Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.”