I’m a regional vice president experiencing more difficulty holding onto key team members. The economy is returning and offering more external opportunities; in and out of our industry. I believe that people are leaving important team assignments that will lead to promotions. What recommendations can you provide?
As an economy, we are emerging from a prolonged recession and recovery period during which individuals were concerned to obtain and keep a job. Since our industry consistently hired during the recession while others did not it stands to reason that we might have captured and/or kept employees that we might not have if other options existed. The slow recovery kept us from facing the underlying regional reality that there are not sufficient qualified people to fill the additional employment requirements within our industry. So, the reality is that finding and hiring as well as training, retaining and managing career tracks are the real industry challenges for the foreseeable future. Don’t be discouraged by this new reality. Rather, attack the problems strategically.
Update your strategies and methods in favor of creating an environment conducive to multiple generations. I say this knowing that most industry companies are steered by boomers and the culture and communication style of such companies need a re-boot to accommodate millennials. By doing this you will find that the working environment will better support everyone. For example:
Create a communicative style that is direct, transparent and collaborative. Clarify upward mobility while managing expectations about needed experience and education.
Provide support in onboarding that points them to where company resources are kept, who to ask and when, how to get started and why.
Build a learning environment with individualized video and/or computer-based presentations, experiential checklists, coordinated peer shadowing including Q and A sessions.
Schedule higher frequency for periodic evaluation and feedback that emphasize your willingness to listen and coach while directly and transparently letting each employee know where they stand at this moment.
Provide constant support with ongoing education and advance technology so each team member believes that they are growing because they are staying.
Know each team member better by asking them what they think and feel; giving them real responsibility and credit for performance. Find out what engages them versus what is wearing on them. Always give them general encouragement but also hands-on help for tough specifics that they can’t budge.
Remember that you are going to experience turnover no matter what you do and you want to upgrade your team no matter how good they are so recruit and interview as an ongoing priority. Your existing team needs to see that your company is “the greener pasture.”