(Our Guest Essays have been on hiatus for a bit but today we have a new one for you, and it’s a good one. Linda Finkle, the Founder and CEO of Incedo Group, knows a little bit about recruitment…OK a lot a bit. She has been helping awesome companies with strategy and recruitment for most of her professional career and she understands that if you want to find good people and keep them, you have to get personal.)
Acquiring top talent is tough. Once they are on board you don’t want to lose them. And you want to be sure they perform well in your organization. How do you make this happen? It’s more than luck, crossing your fingers and assuming it will all be OK.
You Must Get Personal
To retain your top talent you must get personal. I’m not necessarily talking about finding out about their kids or what they do when they aren’t working, though this can be important also (read our article titled How Mastering Small Talk Boosts Performance). When I talk about getting personal I mean getting to really know them. This includes their skills, their career aspirations, what’s important to them in their professional life and how that meshes with their personal life.
What would you do differently if you knew that one of your key players wanted to expand their skills? Or that they were interested in management opportunities? Or they had the desire to move into a C-level position? Would it change how you mentored and coached them? Is it possible that you would watch them more closely and be their corporate champion? I’m betting the answer is yes. At the very least you would be aware of their needs, and support them in getting those needs met, even if it wasn’t at your company.
Getting Personal, Really Personal
Statistics show that people stay at organizations because they feel connected to their manager. Connection comes when employees feel that their manager has their best interest in mind. It also comes when people feel they are important to their manager. This starts with sitting down and communicating with them. I mean really talking to them like you would a colleague or friend about how they think, how they feel and what’s important to them.
How does a manager demonstrate to others that they are important? Recently I conducted a survey for a client on this topic, and several common themes came to the surface.
- Employees want a manager that will help them develop new skills and expertise.
- They want to know that their managers have their back.
- They want to feel like their managers know and remember personal things about them.
- They want a manager that will be open and honest with them about their short and long term opportunities at the company.
Little things really matter. When employees felt like their manager asked about their kid’s sports tournament or their spouse’s new job or their parent who was ill, those pieces are all part of our lives, and it made them feel connected to their manager.
The message here is take the time to learn about what’s going on in the personal life of your employees, and then remember to ask. It matters.
Mentor, Coach, Advise and Share
If you want top performing employees, you have mentor, coach, and advise. This is especially true for retaining your top talent.
The most talented people on your team want to get ahead. They want to know where they are brilliant, and where they need to improve. This means you have to take the time to mentor them, coach them and tell them what they need to acquire in terms of skills or experience to get to the next step. It’s about getting personal, really taking the time to share with them what you are observing so that you can help them achieve their goals.
Getting personal with your employees improves their performance and has a huge impact on your retention. Zig Ziglar has a famous quote I use often. “You can have everything in life you want, if you just help enough other people get what they want.” You can’t help them get what they want unless you spend time getting to know them.
© 2015 Incedo Group, LLC
(If you’re interested in submitting a guest essay, we’d love to hear from you. We’re looking for stories about management, marketing, or motivation that would be helpful to people who own or work for family businesses or nonprofit organizations. Contact us with your submission today!)