by Margaret Ross
Attracting and retaining the best staff is a top priority for managers and owners. Taking action on this priority can be complicated. An employee has been offered a new job with more money, more vacation days, and access to a company car. What would make them choose to stay? A top performer being “happy” on the job can tip the scales in your favor when the competition comes calling.
Increasing staff job satisfaction requires unequal parts of character, caring, and cash. Compensation and benefits are very important but they do not rule the day when it comes to attracting and retaining great talent. The best people take jobs or leave jobs for more substantive reasons than only money. The number one reason employees say they would want to stay on the job is because they find the work “satisfying.”
The Satisfaction Formula
1. Interesting, fun and challenging work
2. Proud of the work I do
3. Mission and purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important
4. Supervisor encourages my learning, development, and seems to care about me
as a person
5. Received recognition or praise for good work in the last seven days
6. Co-workers are committed to doing quality work
7. Know what is expected of me at work
8. Have the technology, materials, and equipment I need to do my work right
9. Competitive wages and benefits
10. Job Security
Fun, Interesting, Make a Difference
Fun, interesting, and challenging work - No one wants to work at a boring and pointless job. People want to make a difference and grow professionally. People would rather do well than bad. Most people want to work in jobs where they feel good about what they are doing. They want to wear the white hat, not the black hat. They want to be liked and respected. Too many companies worry more about squeezing an extra dollar out of a customer or a deal than doing what is right and fair for their staff and customers. Make sure that your company is a model for ethical behavior.
Appreciate: According to the US Department of Labor, the number one reason people leave jobs is not cash but value. Top performers often leave because they did not feel valued or appreciated. Surveys indicate that more than two-thirds of US workers were not complimented or recognized for a job well done in the previous twelve months. Failing to regularly and sincerely praise and appreciate is a major mistake.
Attract: It is the law of magnetism. We attract who we are and not what we want. Great people attract great people. The best way to attract and retain the best staff is to change the way you think and act. Great people want to work with people like themselves, people who they can identify with and feel a connection to. It is self perpetuating. The more good people you get, the more that will follow and stay. And it works in reverse, too. The more bad people you get, the fewer good people will come on board or stay.
Equip, Train, Explain
It is a nightmare to be given a job and then not being given the tools or training to be successful. This is always a challenge in start-ups and small businesses where time, money, and resources tend to be scarce and deadlines arrive daily. You always need to be thinking about how to train your folks to do their jobs better, even if circumstances don't permit you the luxury of waiting months for a spot in a training class.
Knowing what is expected is more than a written job description. It is a detailed understanding of how what one person does contributes and fits with what everyone else is supposed to do. This understanding must include how those expectations can change when circumstances change. Think of it as a big college marching band at half time. Each musician plays their own instrument while listening to the others and marching to the beat in coordinating movements. They know exactly where they fit in.
Do your people know where they fit in? Try this exercise: go around the room asking each one to tell about her job and then explain how doing that job well directly increases the profits of the company. Anyone who can’t provide a credible connection between the two will likely be out of step and off key.
Excellent staff members are tangible assets, proven to deliver real benefits to the company’s bottom line. Protect your top talent.
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