Fred Wilson had a good post a while back on employee retention. I posted some of my thoughts in a comment there and thought I'd post them here as well. One trend that I’ve seen is that employees leave companies, for the most part, for one of three reasons:
1. They don’t think they’re great at what they’re doing
2. They don’t feel like what they’re doing is important
3. They don’t feel appreciated for what they’re doing
Smart, ambitious people want to be winners. They want to be awesome at what they do, they want to be doing work that is meaningful and impactful and they want to feel appreciated for it. If an employee feels this way, it’s very unlikely that they’ll leave. But with so much going on, busy managers often forget about these things. It’s critical for managers to stop and recognize when an employee is good at something. Verbalize it, don’t just think it. Tell them they’re awesome. Say thank you. Show appreciation.
Everybody gets insecure at some point, even top performers. I remember Mike Krzyzewski, Duke’s basketball coach, explaining that once or twice a year he calls his best player into his office to tell him how much he’s appreciated. This kid is in Sports Illustrated and on ESPN and is the most popular kid on campus, but as Coach K says, everybody gets insecure. And when they do, results suffer.
It’s management’s job to create an environment where people feel awesome. They feel like they’re good at what they do, they’re doing important work and they’re appreciated by their company. When you have these three things in place,you’ll see your retention numbers soar.
As Jack Welch used to say, self-esteem is the fuel that powers great companies.