Forget retiring Baby Boomers. The real threat to keeping your best people is technology. I wrote about this briefly in my last post, but never before has it been easier to “evacuate the mothership" and go out on your own. Think your entrepreneurial employees can't afford a CRM system? No worries. Salesforce.com has one for $60. No finance experience? Not a problem. Quickbooks and/or Freshbooks.com make accounting fairly painless. Can't take credit cards? Wrong again. Squareup.com lets you swipe cards right on your phone. And the list goes on. This technology has enabled a new generation of entrepreneurs who will continue to seriously fragment the talent pool. As such, it's increasingly important for employers to turn the mirror around and focus inward on key employee retention. Want to keep your CREW in place? Here's what it takes: Communication – I'm always amazed when employees can't articulate the strategic objectives of their company. If you trust someone enough to hire them, you should trust them enough to keep them informed. This not only includes your organization's big-picture planning, but financial health (excluding salary) as well. Rewards – Want to drive short-term results? Give away an iPad. (I'm serious.) But if you're looking for more long-term, sustained performance, focus on a higher-value reward, i.e. appreciation with a strong dose of that other “r" – respect. Engagement – This is Communication 2.0. More than just telling employees what's going on, engagement is about listening to – and implementing – their feedback. Yes, surveys are helpful, but… when was the last time you popped into an employee's office just to ask how things were going? Workplan – Everyone who works for you should have an individual career plan that outlines their performance benchmarks. This document is critical to keeping staff engaged and on-track with your company goals, yet many businesses leave employees alone to “figure it out" on their own. Sadly, the most talented people often “figure out" they'd rather work somewhere else! So while all of this new technology is certainly awesome for entrepreneurs, your job is to convince your staff they'll never need it by giving them a great place to work. As author and leadership expert Tom Peters recently tweeted, “You take care of the people. The people take care of the service. The service takes care of the profit. Then re-invest. Bingo." I couldn't have said it better myself. Emily Bennington, founding partner of Professional Studio 365, leads programs that help companies get the most out of their career newbies, while helping said newbies connect their efforts to the organization's big-picture goals.
October 23, 2011