Learn how to retain the talent you have
What is the biggest challenge for leaders?
The #1 challenge I hear leaders talking about is having the quantity and the quality of talent to serve their customers and achieve the organization’s annual objectives. You have to recruit and hire the right person the first time but you also need to retain all team members.
Retaining talented employees is becoming more important every day. Record-low unemployment and the ever-increasing need for a highly-skilled workforce means the talent pool is shallow and shrinking. When you are building a high performing team you want to avoid the costs of finding replacements for employees who leave your business.
Why do employees leave a job or maybe worse, disengage but still come to work every day?
The number one reason that people leave organizations is because they are not being motivated in their work environment. In behavioral science terms their motivators are not getting fulfilled, fed or met. There six motivators of a human in the workplace from highest to lowest are:
- Theoretical – Motivated to learn/to discover truth and knowledge
- Individualistic – Motivated to advance and get ahead in the work/be victorious
- Utilitarian – Motivated to discover utility/efficiencies/money
- Traditional – Motivated by a tradition or principles in your life/system of living
- Aesthetic – Motivated to value each experience in life/natural/creative side of life
- Social – Motivated to help and serve others
How can I use this to retain my team members?
It is important for every leader to recognize that every team member has different motivators and various levels of passion for each one. As a result, we can’t motivate and engage an employee if we don’t know their motivators. The first and most common mistake when it comes to employee motivation is to assume that all employees are motivated the same.
Many companies make the assumption that all employees are motivated by money. But in fact the #1 motivator of our population is theoretical which is the desire to learn. So if you have a high theoretical on your team, which you likely do, the way you retain them is to give them the opportunity to learn on a consistent basis. Make sure their annual development plan includes the learning opportunities like attending conferences or seminars in their area of expertise.
Recently, SM Advisors worked with a company that was losing a lot of employees or what is called voluntary turnover. Most of the turnover was happening in one specific area of the organization. During the analysis phase of the process we used behavioral science assessments to help us diagnose the underlying issue. We also learned that the client organization was offering every employee the same incentive plan.
As a result, they were only feeding one motivator and that was not the primary motivator of the area in the organization that had the turnover. Once we determined their motivators we developed a plan to ensure the organization was feeding the primary motivators of all employees which led to a dramatic reduction in turnover.
The irony of a situation like this is often times the employee will be the one identified with the problem when in fact the organization is not doing its part to create an engaging and inspiring work environment.
The challenge many organizations are facing in attracting and retaining Millennials comes down to feeding their primary motivator. Behavioral science tells us that the younger generation is motivated by enjoying each experience in life which is called the aesthetic motivator. Life for them is not all about getting ahead in the world or being wealthy like previous generations, but enjoying each moment as an experience. To attract and retain Millennials, provide them with a harmonious work environment that feeds their primary motivators.
This same principal applies at home as well in that every parent should understand what motivates their children in their work. In many cases you can determine those motivators by sharing the six workplace motivators with them and talking it through. Or to be precise you can use behavioral science. Just don’t make the mistake and think that everyone is motivated the same.
If you want to engage your team, you have to understand what drives them.