It’s amazing how life and business is a cycle. I pulled this from the archives. I wrote this ten years ago, but I could have written it this morning. See if there’s something in here that resonates with you…
I recently read the McKinsey & Company Report on Global Leadership in which they site the two primary concerns for global executives: 1 - The Economy; it's recovery has not been as strong and doesn't look as if it will be as strong as anticipated six months ago, and 2 - Retaining Employees; how to retain talent?
The economy continues to challenge many, torment some, and benefit others. Much of it has to do with which industry you are in; much has to do with your business management skills. However, retaining talent, affects all industries and like other tough business issues, it doesn't have an easy short-term fix.
Sure, we can throw more money and benefits at our employees and hope our "bribes" will work. But then we're confronted with overpaid, unhappy employees, and unproductive employees. The key to retaining good people, is to have a work environment that is so enjoyable, energizing, challenging, productive, profitable, and fun for them, that our employees would rather spend time at work than many other places. Sounds a bit pie-in-the-sky doesn't it?
Well, it's really not. You see, this is the same type of problem many volunteer organizations face. How do they get and retain volunteers when they can't pay them? The successful organizations have a very clear purpose and ensure that the time their volunteers spend supporting their mission is meaningful, productive, and enjoyable. Why else would people choose to give their time and energy to this organization instead of another - or to their families?
In the business world, we have to provide the same clarity of purpose for each employee who works with us. We have to ensure that each employee has the opportunity to support us in fulfilling our mission in a way that is meaningful, productive, and enjoyable for him or her. If we can do this, the increased profits we realize from the higher quality work provided by our employees will allow us to reward them for their efforts. If we don't, we'll be faced with unhappy, unmotivated, and potentially overpaid employees whose less-than-stellar work costs us money.
The choice is ours. Either we start now to create an environment that draws employees in, or we maintain one that has employees watching the clock and bolting for the door at the end of the day. The choice is ours:
Retain and Grow or Retain and Pay.