Have you ever noticed that there are just companies that people love working for and swear they would never leave, even if doing the same work somewhere else would make them more money? Or that some companies have such a terrible reputation that even if they paid more money than anyone else people would still not really be that keen to work for them? Usually the difference between a great company that seems to be able to retain all of their very best talent year after year and one that has a turnaround that would make your head spin is the way that they treat the people who work for them.
Great Leadership - One of the most important things that a company that is serious about keeping its employees happy and productive realizes is that effective leadership is essential at every level of the company. It is not enough for a manager to be a "nice person" or "well liked". A good manager supports their people by offering the direction they need to get their jobs done the right way without stifling the employee by micromanaging.
A good leader is also one who allows their employees at all levels to voice their opinions (reasonable ones at least) without the fear of recrimination. And perhaps most important of all, good leaders take the time to discover the unique talents that every employee can bring to the table and encourages them to use them every chance they can.
Opportunity for Growth - Some of the most successful companies in the world have been built on a policy of promotion from within. For example, all of the current high level executives, including the CEO, of the biggest fast food chain in the world McDonalds began their careers with the company as lowly crew members, flipping burgers and mopping floors. The idea that their position can one day lead to something bigger if they put in the hard work is enough to keep many people happier in their jobs than they ever would be if they thought they were going to have to leave it just to get ahead.
Too many companies make the mistake of launching an expensive talent search outside the company when they have a key role to fill instead of looking within. This inevitably leads to talented employees leaving because they went unnoticed and their skills and hard work went unappreciated.
Saying Thank You - In the current economy the days of big cash bonuses have all but disappeared for the employees of many companies. Some rather cynical people say that if you cannot reward your best employees financially on a regular basis they will leave, no matter how good the company is to them otherwise. This is not always the case though. There are other ways that companies can show their appreciation for their employees that will mean just as much though if they are not in a position to offer too many extra financial incentives at the moment. Something as simple as a public “well done" for excellent work - and Employee of the Month Award perhaps - can motivate employees to want to do better for the company they work for and to help it reach the point where monetary bonuses do become a reality again.
Some successful companies also offer a more flexible work day or the opportunity to work from home a few days a week to their employees as a way to offer them extra perks and retain their best talent. Increasingly, as people look for ways to de-stress their busy lives this is something that more often than not works very well.
These are just a few of the ways that successful companies manage to retain talent and keep their employees happy; there are many others. The biggest key though is understanding that employees are people and want to be treated with respect if they respect their bosses. If a company keeps that in mind at all times it is the very best business practice there is!