March 27, 2012 | Leadership, Workplace Culture + Practices

How do companies continue to thrive when the current reality is shaky?  By focusing on your employee base.

Last month I wrote about supporting employees in times of uncertainty through high-quality communication strategies. But no matter how effective communication tools may be, there is still a risk of losing top performers for greener pastures. Along with top-notch communication, engagement and retention strategies that support employees who are standing by the industry are also important. Here are some strategies that can help:

Individual public recognition. Most of us like to receive some kind of recognition for good work. While public recognition may not be everyone’s cup of tea, calling out individual and team achievements at company staff meetings is one – often unexpected – way of saying thanks.

Professional development that supports business needs. A promotion isn’t the only way to support the learning and growth needs of employees. Finding creative solutions to meet business needs and support employees’ professional success can come in many different forms. Perhaps it’s delegating key tasks, inviting someone to join a committee, or asking others for ideas on how to solve a problem.

Saying “thank you.” For a manager to show genuine appreciation for their employees in any form – a verbal thanks, a letter, or a small gift – really does make a difference.

Key assignments.  Allowing someone to take on a key project or assignment, whether it’s in their own department or to support another area of the company, shows and builds trust, provides unbeatable learning opportunities that are often more meaningful than sitting in a classroom, and provides key information to managers who are looking for certain skills needed to meet future business opportunities.

Attention from the CEO. Nothing beats getting a thank-you or kudos from the CEO or a company leader who is not often part of an employee’s daily world.

Performance management process.  At our company, we have a structure that allows for regular and frequent (can be as often as monthly) check-ins with the employee and manager to update on progress and create the space for employees to air their concerns, ask questions, and focus on career planning and development.

Peer awards. I believe that companies with a culture that supports peer recognition are also companies with more engaged employees and better employee retention.

Uncertainty in a company’s industry is difficult for any business. Focusing on individual professional development and recognition for hard work and dedication is an important tool to support top talent. And it helps support organizational growth and goal achievement.

What types of engagement or retention strategies have you implemented at your company?

Additional Reading:

3Cs of Employee Engagement: Career, Competence and Care