Think about the last time one of your employees came and told you they found a new job. I’m willing to bet it wasn’t a pleasant experience. You might have felt stung by the news, even perhaps betrayed by an employee of whom you thought highly. Most managers take it very personally when employees leave.
That’s exactly how it should feel.
For all the talk a departing employee might give about more money or more prestige or greater opportunity, the key factor that determines whether or not an employee stays or goes is you, the manager. As far as your direct reports are concerned, YOU are the company.
That means that when employees are satisfied with the company, it’s because they feel as though management recognizes their skills and talents and wants to put those skills to good use. Conversely, dissatisfied employees feel like their skills are wasted under managers who just don’t get it. Like the saying goes, employees don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.
So how can managers ensure their direct reports know that they’re contributions are recognized and valued? The answer comes in the form of the CAREER model, a six-step method managers can use to demonstrate their commitment to their people. Here’s what it looks like:
C are about your employees as people. Ask them, “What are your goals?” and “Do you feel you’re on track to achieve them?” SHOW people that you understand what they want and that you’re willing to help them.
A dvocate for your people. For your direct reports, you ARE the company. If they believe that you are their #1 fan, and that you’re taking up their cause with top management, they’re more likely to stay with you.
R ecognize their contribution. This doesn’t just mean money. Workers remain loyal when they feel that you “get” what they bring to the company and show appreciation for their efforts.
E ducate them. Provide training and professional development that helps them get where they want to go.
E ngage them. Bond them to you and the company. Get them involved in special projects. Good people want to make a meaningful contribution. Gain their loyalty by giving them the opportunity.
R emind yourself every day that “It’s their career, not just their job.” Be the custodian of your employees’ careers, and they’ll be fiercely loyal both to you and your organization.
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