So, it happened. One day, from what feels like out of nowhere, you receive a resignation from a quality member of your team. Your heart sinks, your blood pressure rises and you think to yourself, “what could we have worked on to avoid this?"
Well, I am glad you asked. The answer is RETENTION. Retention practices are an imperative part of creating loyalty, expressing gratitude, and providing validation to your team members. We crave acknowledgment, credit, appreciation and gratitude for great work. Creating an environment that embodies these attributes provides each person with a feeling of validation, a feeling of “I am working hard and they appreciate me.”
Here are 5 quick, easy and highly cost-effective retention tips that you can implement immediately:
1. Post it notes: We all have tons of post-it notes at our disposal. Grab one and use it to say: “Great job on the new project. You are such an asset to this team!” Be extra creative with comments like: “Stick with us…we’ll go places!” Or, “Thank you for your work today!”
2. Email: Emailing is a fast and efficient tool when connecting with each team member privately. You can use it for quick notes of gratitude or to check in and see how they are doing. Organize a spreadsheet of your team members' email addresses so the information is at your fingertips anytime.
3. Direct Phone or Face-to-Face Communication: I know this one may blow your mind. Pick up the phone or walk down the hall and just check in and see how your team member is doing. In a time where technology is king, it is crucial to remember to create opportunities for one-on-one engagement and conversation. Your team is made up of people, and people need people!
4. Acknowledge Personal Moments:
New Baby – Send a “Birth Announcement Flyer” to the team welcoming the new addition to the family! Perhaps a surprise baby shower for the mommy or daddy to be?
Wedding – Send a card to the employee’s home and hold a shower or congratulatory lunch at their facility.
Bereavement – CALL the team member to send your condolences. Send a condolence card signed by each team member. A generic company card feels disingenuous.
5. Make your Team a Family: “Let’s get together and feel alright!” It is always great to get your team together when possible. It creates a real team environment and allows everyone to decompress from all the hard work. So try some ideas like “Take Out Tuesday,” “Pot Luck Wednesday” or “Happy Hour Friday.”
When first implementing your retention efforts go ahead and schedule time in your calendar. This will keep you organized and on target to hit your retention goals. Perhaps you are wondering how you can possibly find the time to add retention efforts to your already extremely busy schedule. I can appreciate that initial response; however, consider this painful sequence of events:
- You received a resignation which has created a vacancy in an extremely critical position
- Now you contact your HR department and commence the lengthy and costly recruitment process
- Time to clear your schedule for the several hours of interviews that you will be conducting over the upcoming weeks and possibly months
- Luckily you identify a candidate, make an offer and they accept
- Now it’s time to organize and move through their on-boarding and orientation plan
- The new hire finally starts...Now the time has come for you to wait with baited breathe to see if this replacement is even half as awesome as the team member who resigned in the first place.
I feel tired…Do you? I can guarantee that this process is far more intense and stressful than adding retention efforts to your calendar on an ongoing basis.
And remember, there is something extremely gratifying about making other people feel good and expressing gratitude. Once you create a retention rhythm, you will wonder how you functioned without it.
As Director of Talent Management at Harmony Healthcare International, I see firsthand how situations like this unfold every day. I would love to hear how you foster retention in your environment and you can share those ideas in the comments section below.