The current workforce shortage in the construction industry is making it more and more difficult to fill vacant positions (read more about attracting new talent here) But what about the workers you already have? We’re in a world now where the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times during their career. The day of employees working for 1 company for forty years have passed. When this kind of frequent job transition is normal, is it possible to retain skilled workers for longer than just a few years? It’s certainly possible, so long as you give them what they’re looking for! With the current workforce shortage, it is more important than ever that you work to keep the skilled worker you already have. Here, you’ll find a few ideas on how to retain skilled employees. Take a look and see if there’s something here that’s going to suit your business.
1. Provide Upward Momentum
Most skilled employees got skilled because they were motivated to do so. This is good, because you get motivated, ambitious employees, but it also creates difficulty. Ambitious people aren’t likely to remain in job positions that don’t offer them a chance to continue to fulfil that ambition. If you want to keep your skilled employees, your company is going to need a structure that includes pay and promotions on par with those employee’s value. One of the reasons skilled employees wander is that they find it’s more profitable to them; try to make sure you’re competitive with their skills on the current job market.
2. Try ‘Stay’ Interviews You’ve almost certainly heard of ‘exit’ interviews, conducted with employees who are leaving, to try to determine why that employee has decided to leave, and hopefully, to correct the problem before another employee goes.The trouble with exit interviews, though, is that they aren’t held until an employee is already leaving. Asking that employee if they have any concerns earlier might have provided an opportunity to learn what problems they were having – and they might have been more easily addressed than the loss of an employee. Monthly interviews would present employees with a chance to bring up their issues before they become something worth leaving the company over. For the idea to succeed, though, it’s important to foster an environment of trust and honesty around the interview. Let employees know that you will be honest with their questions during the interview, and that you’ll be open to anything they may bring forward. It’s also important that they know being honest (even brutally so) won’t get them in trouble. Some sample questions to ask during your "stay interviews” might include: Are you happy with your job here at the moment?
Is there anything you wish was different with your job title or duties?
Do you have any concerns about the company you’d like to bring up?
3. Consider Offering Flexible Work Arrangements
In surveys, Millennials reveal that they would often take a pay cut in exchange for a more flexible work arrangement. Given the financial state most Millennials are in, that outlook is significant. Most of the time, a ‘flexible arrangement’ means either the employee is able to work remotely, or that the employee has flexibility on the hours they start and end work. The benefits of either (or both) of these arrangements are numerous. When you give employees more control over their schedule, they feel more empowered. They’re able to handle life situations that come up with greater ease, and less loss of productivity. And finally, they’re aware of the trust their employer has put in them, and generally work hard to earn, and keep, that trust.
4. Give Sincere Praise
The desire to feel that your work is important, and that you’re good at it, is important to most. Your employees want to know that the thing they spend most of their time doing is important, and that they’re successful at it. Most workplaces don’t realize this until it’s too late. It’s common for employees to receive criticism for their errors or mistakes, but nothing at all when they do exceptional work. If you want loyalty from your highly skilled workers, it’s worth it to take the time to give them sincere praise when they’ve done good work. It’s also worth noting that praise shouldn’t be reserved only for "exceptional” work. While false praise won’t ring true, being overly cautious with your praise can lead to your employees feeling undervalued. It’s a hard guideline to follow, but you must be neither sparse nor excessive with our praise.
5. Professional Development
Highly skilled employees generally don’t happen by accident. Most of your highly skilled employees acquired their skills (and probably their positions) because they were ambitious and dedicated to the constant improvement of their skills. That makes them also likely to look for companies and positions where they can continue to pursue that drive – and if that’s not your company, then they may look to make the switch. If you invest in your people, and help them continue to advance in their profession and train in their skills, they’ll often reward you with continued loyalty, and you’ll benefit from their ambition and drive, rather than being in opposition to it.
It’s certain that retaining highly skilled employees is a unique challenge in today’s world, requiring hard work and some creativity. It’s not only possible, though, it’s also necessary, and can be done in a way that will pay off both for your employees and your company. We’ve presented you with a few strategies here, but which ones have been successful for you and your business in the past? What strategies are you going to be employing going forward? We’d love to hear from you!
SnapSuite is a Toronto based software company that helps businesses in the construction and skilled trade industries increase their operational efficiency.
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