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Train your staff – Best way to keep good staff is to treat them right

By Fritz Pinnock

Experts have argued that, while some executives may expect the money they invest in training their employees to pay off in a short time, the reality is that, once well trained, some employees may seek opportunities elsewhere. 

Glen Dalakian, for example, said this was especially likely when employees’ new-found skills were needed in more established and higher-paying companies where a start-up salary just could not compete with. 

While this may be so, it’s no excuse not to train new employees. No matter where they are, start-ups should expect to do a bit of training to build talent that may not be readily available.

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Bottom line

The bottom line, according to Dalakian, is that the risk of losing employees to competitors will always be there, whether or not a company invests in its employees. An important question that needs to be answered is whether or not an executive wants to grow and advance the skills of his employees. Training in every organization should be seen as an opportunity and a future asset. 

Training alone is not enough, however. You must treat your employees well and create opportunity for them so that they don’t think of leaving your organization. Managers who do not create the right opportunities for their employees, do not communicate with them and do not appreciate them will often find themselves dealing with a high rate of turnover. To achieve success in employee retention, it is important that chief executives practise the following golden principles:

• Delegate responsibility and then trust your employee. Experts have pointed out that once an employee has been trained to handle a task, he (or she) should be allowed to handle the task without interference. Different people have different approaches, and someone else’s way of doing something may be just as efficient as the way you would do it. As executive, before you step in and force your way on an employee, you must give an honest evaluation of the method; and if you find it works just as well, even if it’s different from yours, let it be. Constantly correcting your employees undercuts their confidence and does not allow them to exercise their own style.

• Empower your staff to make decisions and don’t second-guess them. If you’ve done a good job of training your people to be your proxies, then you must believe they are doing their best to act in your (and your company’s) best interest. Even if they make a wrong decision, or handle a situation in a way you would not have handled it, don’t second-guess or berate them. Instead, use it as yet another training opportunity. Hear out their reasons for their action. Most of the time, when taken in context, there was a logical basis for what they decided to do.

• Help them learn to work out issues without your intervention. Sometimes your employees may experience friction with one another. It is your duty to listen to them. If someone is not fulfilling his own responsibilities or is mistreating another employee, you will need to step in and resolve the conflict. But if you are satisfied it’s only an issue of competition or a simple personality clash, urge them to settle it between themselves. 

• Deal with any problems quickly and directly. When you see a problem, deal with it quickly and don’t nag your people about it later. Try to elicit the agreement that whatever just happened was not acceptable. Remember that your goal is to promote productive behavior and retain the respect of your employee, not to antagonize them, especially in front of others. 

• Learn to be an effective listener. Your employees deserve to be heard when they have concerns. Allow them to finish talking before you speak; do not assume that you know what they are going to tell you before they finish talking; do not form objections in your mind while they are talking. Instead, try to be fully engaged while they are talking without making it about your rebuttal. Acknowledge their points. This does not mean that you agree; but it does mean that you understand their concerns. Repeat their points in your own words to confirm, if necessary. You may not need to take any action, but hearing them out is important to their sense of empowerment and significance. Often, simply saying: “I appreciate your telling me this” is all that is needed to make them feel they were heard. 

These golden rules help you become the best executive that you ever wanted to be as well as helping you to retain your employees.