It Seems We’re Always Short Staffed – What the heck can I do now? (Part 3)


Over the past two weeks, we’ve been discussing one of the remnants of the Covid Pandemic – that many businesses are in need of more people to operate at full capacity.  While the reasons for this new phenomenon are varied, we believe the answer is doing three things right:  

  • Sourcing – finding the best people to fill the open positions in your company is the first step we explored.
  • On-boarding – starting new employees in a way that builds job satisfaction and loyalty was discussed last week.
  • Retaining – today we’ll discuss ways to keep and retain the good employees you have on staff and the new employees you intend to hire.

Retention is more than a checklist of things to do – it’s part of your culture.  Retaining good talent has to become part of your company’s DNA in order to be successful.  It all starts with a culture of valuing individuals for their unique talents and abilities and showing that in how you communicate and, most importantly, in how you make decisions.  Nothing will sabotage your retention efforts faster than saying one thing and behaving in a way that is inconsistent with that message.  While a great retention plan has many components, here are three ideas for retaining the talent that already exists within your organization and reducing turnover:

  1. Listen, Learn, Act – Use employee surveys to find out what is working and what isn’t.  Share the results and learn from the surveys through open discussion and dialog.  Then, make appropriate changes and ACT.

    Formal employee surveys are extremely valuable but shouldn’t be the only way to gauge employee satisfaction.  This is an ongoing process and should be done with regular interactions.  Look for signs of decreased employee morale such as:

    • Tardiness – Employees who are engaged show up on time.  If someone starts to be tardy or absent regularly, have a discussion not just about the repercussions, but learn why their attendance has changed. 
    • Errors or reduction in productivity are other signs of decreased employee morale.  And, this could be the cause of lack of training.  You need to find out why accuracy is suffering by having an honest conversation.  First aim to understand the reasons, then make plans together to improve their work. 
    • There are certain things that employees don’t often share with their managers.  Read our blog about 3 tips employees want to tell their managers, but don’t to make sure you and your team are having honest conversations.
  1. Recognition Matters – Defined recognition programs are a great way to start.  Informal (and frequent!) recognition matters too.  Thank you notes, publicly praising an individual’s work or production, and just saying “thank you” help to build recognition into your company’s culture.  For more ideas on employee recognition, read our blog about the recognition everyone wants but few receive. 
  2. Regular Reviews – In order to help build purpose and meaning into a job for your employees, schedule regular reviews of their work.  Sure, annual reviews for salary adjustments are good but a much more frequent and planned approach to reviewing employee performance is key.  An added benefit – when you are frequently reviewing employee performance (and asking for ideas on how the company can improve!) will surface any employee concerns well before they can fester and become a larger issue. 

Curing the current employee shortage isn’t easy.  The key to doing so lies in sourcing the best candidates, thoughtfully on-boarding new employees, and then establishing a culture that helps to retain them long-term.  We would love to hear any thoughts or suggestions you’d like to share with us – it’s easy to do by reaching us through our Contact Us page. 

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