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The Secret To Attracting and Retaining Excellent Employees

By David Lee
Originally published HRATV Network
It’s no secret that the challenge of finding high quality employees in today’s tight labor market is on every manager and business owner’s mind. What does appear to be a secret - given the typical response to this challenge - is what to do about it.

Most employee attraction and retention strategies consist of creating a competitive compensation and benefits package, or instituting an employee appreciation and recognition program. Even worse, many companies – especially smaller ones – think attracting the best employees is a lost cause for them, because they can’t match the perks and programs showcased in Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work.

Although most companies don’t “get it” when it comes to attracting and retaining employees, some do. These companies are the Talent Magnets – the employers of choice for highly talented people. They know the key to attracting and retaining quality employees isn’t compensation and benefits packages or gimmicky programs. They know the key is how well they address these four critical areas:

Your Company’s Image

Great companies attract great people. If you have a strong brand in the marketplace, you will have a strong brand in the labor marketplace. If your company is synonymous with quality, you will attract quality people; if it isn’t, you won’t.

The Quality of Your Internal Operations – Your image in the marketplace influences your ability to attract good people. The quality of your internal operations influences your ability to retain these people. Out-dated technology, inadequate resources, inefficient work processes, and stifling bureaucracy are guaranteed Talent Repellents. Conversely, when a company is run intelligently and efficiently, people want to stay and be part of such a world class operation.

How Well Your Management Team Treats Your Employees

This is where so many companies drop the ball. They promote technically adept people to management positions, even if they have virtually no people skills. They further compound the problem by scrimping on management training and coaching, so these managers never develop the skills to bring out the best in their workers. Worse, many companies turn a blind eye to disrespectful or even abusive behavior by managers. The importance of having a top notch management team and great supervisors cannot be overstated. Research conducted by the Gallup Organization, involving over a million employees and 80,000 managers, revealed that having good managers was the most influential factor affecting both employee retention and performance.
Your Ability To Satisfy The Needs Of Your “Internal Customers,” Your Employees – Just as the key to marketing and customer service success is understanding what the customer wants, and then delivering it; competing in the labor market requires understanding what employees want, and then delivering that. Here are a few of the things employees want most:
  Pride in Where They Work and What They Do
Meaningful Work
Respect – Both Personal and Professional
Sincere Expressions of Appreciation
The Ability to Exercise Autonomy and Control in One’s Job
The Opportunity to Learn and Grow on the Job
A Sense of Community and Belonging
Flexibility That Allows for Work/Life Balance
The Opportunity to Make a Difference; To Have Input and Influence

Taking the First Step Toward Becoming a Talent Magnet

The first step is to find out where you currently are. Find out what your “customers” – your employees – think about your company. Engage your management team in a very frank self-examination process about how well the company is run, and how well employees are managed. Use the four critical areas and the nine key human needs outlined in this article as a launching point for this important discussion. By successfully addressing these, you will become a Talent Magnet.
About the Author: David Lee is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. The founder of HumanNature@Work, he has worked with organizations and presented at conferences throughout North America and overseas. He is the author of Managing Employee Stress and Safety, as well as dozens of articles on employee and organizational performance.

About the Author: David Lee is an internationally recognized authority on organizational and managerial practices that optimize employee performance. He is the author of Managing Employee Stress and Safety, as well as dozens of articles on employee and organizational performance that have been published in trade journals and books in North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia. For information on his programs and service, click here.

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