Don’t let the good ones get away

job searchA recent global study conducted by LinkedIn indicates that a staggering 85% of the workforce is either actively looking for a new job, or at least, open to considering new opportunities. Though some employees depart due to factors you can’t completely control, you can make a direct impact on employee retention by knowing, and proactively eliminating, many of the factors that lead to a job change. Here are four questions to ask about yourself to ensure you’re doing all you can to keep your employees happy with, and dedicated to, their jobs.

1. Do I encourage my employees to think like entrepreneurs?

Employees don’t have to own their own businesses to think like entrepreneurs, and the impact such a cultural workplace shift can have on their job satisfaction—and the impact they make to the organization—can be immeasurable.

According to the Accenture study  “Cor­­po­­rate Innovation is Within Reach: Nur­­tur­­ing and Enabling an Entrepreneurial Cul­­ture,” 53% of those surveyed said their company does not support ideas from all levels of the workforce, and 77% said that new ideas are rewarded only when they are implemented—and proven to work.

Though you may not be able to convince corporate executives to change their outlook on organizational risk, you can encourage your own employees (who arguably have the best sense of what’s working and what’s not on both your team and in the organization) to approach their roles with a constant eye toward both process improvement and innovation.

2. Do I evaluate, commend and value different types of skill sets?

Not everyone can be the productivity powerhouse, born leader, or genius programmer—nor would your team be successful if that were the case. That said, if you commend only your “star performers” who have such finite skill sets, you may lose the employees who are invaluable to your department because of their intangible value—by simply not recognizing what it is that they bring to the table.

In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder, more than 60% of employers said that “soft skills” like dependability, a positive attitude and a strong work ethic, can be as important (and hard to find) to an employee’s success as the “hard skills” that require some sort of formalized training.

3. Do I continuously offer my employees exposure?

Despite the fact that a majority of Linked­­In’s respondents cited compensation and benefits as the primary reason they’d consider a job change, the actual reason those who made a move reported doing so was more opportunity for advancement. Even if you feel limited by the amount of responsibility your department can offer top per­­formers, you can always help them to gain exposure throughout the company by touting their accomplishments, even with a simple companywide email that shares a recent “on the job” success story, and how the employee’s hard work will benefit your team and the company.

4.  Do I consider our partnership as much as performance?

Your employees report to you, but the most successful pairings are those that effectively operate as a symbiotic relationship. When meeting with employees to conduct performance evaluations, use a portion of that time to discuss how the two of you work together as partners. In­vite their open and honest input as to what they love (and loathe) about their jobs, the company—and your performance as a manager. With their input, make a commitment to support their continued development, including understanding how you can incorporate their interests and future career goals into their workweek, which may include partnering with other departments in the company to develop mentorship opportunities.