Leadership Update is a free electronic monthly newsletter. In it, you’ll find strategies for helping you realize your full professional potential.
- Quotable: The Pundits Speak
- Retention: 5 Ways to Keep Employees Committed to You
- Succession: What’s the Plan , Stan?
- Readers’ Forum: Your Observations
- Subscription Information
QUOTABLE: THE PUNDITS SPEAK
“How do you capture imaginations? How do you communicate visions? How do you get people aligned behind the organization’s overarching goals? How do you get an audience to recognize and accept an idea? Workers have to recognize and get behind something of established identity. The management of meaning, mastery of communication, is inseparable from effective leadership.” — Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, in Leaders: Strategies for Effective Change (HarperBusiness, 1997)
“We haven’t failed. We now know a thousand things that won’t work, so we are much closer to finding what will.” — Thomas Edison
RETENTION: 5 WAYS TO KEEP EMPLOYEES COMMITTED TO YOU
An article in the Winter 2000 issue of Benefits and Compensation Solutions magazine reports that employee retention is a major issue for approximately 80 percent of Fortune 1000 companies.
And while about half of those companies are planning to offer generous compensation packages next year as a way of keeping their best and brightest, most employees report that they feel more long term loyalty not because of money, but because of feelings of accomplishment, achievement, contributing to something larger than themselves, and similar factors.
The article suggests the “five I’s” as a framework for building employee commitment:
1. Interesting Work. Every job contains repetitive tasks which employees find boring. Offset the repetition by making sure employees feel challenged by new and interesting tasks. One way of ensuring this is through professional development plans written with each employee that guides the course of his or her employment. (Call me at 610/642-3040 for more information about creating professional development plans.)
2. Information. Providing employees with information about their own performance can lower their anxiety about the future and let them focus on achieving goals. Also, giving them information about how the company is doing can provide a greater sense of belonging and trust. Look for ways to communicate as openly and honestly as possible.
3. Involvement. Studies in decision making have shown that individuals working together often make better decisions than if they had been working independently. Consider ways to bring employees together for solving problems. Not only will you be able to develop more alternatives, but it can ease the process of implementing new policies or other changes affecting those who were engaged in the decision making process.
4. Independence. Very few employees like having every aspect of their work monitored and evaluated. Some leaders fear that they’re power will be reduced by delegating authority, and that employees won’t use that authority wisely. However, when company goals and values are clear and shared by everyone in the organization, employees who are given more latitude in achieving goals often respond with more energy and enthusiasm, and they feel a greater emotional investment in the organization’s success.
5. Increased Visibility. Most employees like getting credit when it’s due. And there are limitless ways of making sure that individual, team and organizational successes are recognized and celebrated. Recognition such as public acknowledgement, increased responsibilities, title changes and more can increase an employee’s motivation to contribute to your organization.
Take a look at your own practices for increasing employee commitment to your company. Are you taking advantage of all of the no-cost or low-cost initiatives that exist for increasing employee commitment? Contact me for additional information and ideas.
SUCCESSION: WHAT’S THE PLAN, STAN?
If your sales director walked into your office right now and resigned which would you have, a heart attack, or a plan?
Employee turnover is a fact of business life, yet many leaders find themselves blindsided when key employees announce that they’re leaving. Whether you have two employees or two thousand, creating a succession plan can ensure that you’ll be well prepared for employee terminations at any level of your organization.
Here are some suggestions for effective succession planning:
- Create and regularly update a company hierarchy chart. Software packages exist that let you easily set up a chart that includes notes, prospective moves and organizational needs.
- Learn as much as you can about your employees’ needs and goals. Meet with employees as often as reasonable to make sure they’re happy or correct things if they’re not. Many employees resign after feeling that no one really cares whether or not they’re content.
- Identify high potential employees early so that they can be developed into leadership roles.
- Conduct exit interviews to gather information about why your employees leave. Many employees are reluctant to tell their employer what they’ve been dissatisfied, so consider using an outside consultant to gather more valid feedback.
- Maintain files of updated job descriptions and recruitment materials for each position so that recruitment can begin the same day the employee resigns.
In a busy work environment, it may be difficult to find the time to plan carefully for replacing employees. But advance planning can ensure that you experience minimal disruptions when key members of your staff announce that they’re leaving.
READERS’ FORUM: YOUR OBSERVATIONS
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Copyright 2000-2005 by Dr. David A. Weiman. All rights reserved.