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How CEOs Can Keep Their Best Employees Amid a Growing Economy

According to the Labor Department, the number of people who quit their jobs has reached the highest count in six years, at 2.8 million in January, up 3 percent from December. What does this mean for business leaders? It means they are at risk of losing their top talent to higher salaries and better benefits. Here are 3 tips for engaging key players and getting them to stay.

1. Training and development. Employees want to grow in their roles, and it’s too late for leaders to offer these opportunities when a key player’s reason for leaving is because there were no opportunities for growth. This is a critical mistake employers make that is easily preventable. Half the time, these opportunities are available, but staff just don’t know they exist. Allow staff to watch webinars, attend seminars, or take part in courses or workshops for professional development … and make sure everyone is aware they exist.

Host sessions at the office, too. Bring in outside experts to develop staff, whether it’s management and leadership training, for a job-specific skill or for new software. There are many options out there, it’s just finding what makes the most sense for your company. Also, track which ones are working and which aren’t. Don’t reinvest in the same training if it didn’t move the needle with the last training class. Investing in training and developing staff is critical, but it’s important to invest in the right training.

“To reap the hard work and commitment you expect from your staff, create memories and a culture they can’t get anywhere else.”

2. Focus on motivators. Understand what motivates and incentivizes them. For some, it may be public recognition, for others it may be face time with management, autonomy, or additional responsibilities. Money may work for some, but remember, money doesn’t solve everything. Monetary incentives won’t truly keep someone engaged. It may provide temporary excitement and motivation, but that can quickly fade. If an employee stays for a bigger paycheck, what happens when they are offered a larger one elsewhere? I make it a point to get to know my staff individually, so I understand what drives them. I know, based off the conversations I have, who is motivated by a promotion, and who would rather stay in their current role as a revenue producer and earn more money.

I bring my personal life into the workplace constantly, and I’ve been able to build some of my strongest relationships with those who do the same. Understanding personal stories allows an employer or manager to better help someone grow in their role. Everyone is different and when it comes to helping an individual grow, it’s important to understand what motivates them.

3. Create experiences. To reap the hard work and commitment you expect from your staff, create memories and a culture they can’t get anywhere else. That’s what keeps employees happy and engaged. Celebrate the small wins as well as the big ones and make the work environment fun. Extend the celebrations to family and friends, because when they are a part of the experience, they will be the first ones to remind the employee of all the great things they currently have when they are debating leaving. For instance, we had a bowling party to celebrate employees and show our appreciation for them, and we invited their significant others to join.

Also, when LaSalle was named to Crain’s Chicago Business’ list of Best Places to Work, we threw a party at Chicago’s House of Blues and invited every employee’s immediate and extended families, as well as spouses/dates and friends. There were more than 400 attendees for a night of food, drinks, a blues player, live band, and a flipbook photo machine. Everyone met each other’s families and got to know each other on such personal levels. The feedback we received from families was so positive…they were appreciative for being included to celebrate a company milestone. I believe wholeheartedly that it’s these moments and experiences that help us grow every year.

The economy is in an upswing and the jobs market will continue to strengthen, so employee retention will only become more prevalent as the war for talent increases. These 3 steps can help you retain your top-tier employees.


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