Is your company doing enough to keep you from quitting?

As Georgia’s positive job numbers continue to rise, companies need to begin looking at employee retention strategies.

A significant portion of the workforce has spent the past couple of years acquiescing to pay cuts, frozen wages, increased responsibilities, and longer hours at the office. With layoffs apparently no longer looming around every corner, workers finally appear to be regaining leverage with employers.

U.S. News & World Report just published a blog about what companies should consider doing as part of a plan to stem staff departures amid a strengthening economy.

Here are the six key ideas from the blog:

1. For one thing, as quickly as you can, make meaningful, if small, adjustments to salaries and work schedules. Certainly, opening up lines of communication and holding one-on-one meetings will be helpful to reestablish your company.

2. Remember that pay is always far down the list of reasons why people quit. “Soft” things like respect, culture, and environment all affect the employee who is daydreaming about greener pastures.

3. Do not threaten or lie. I know companies like to describe how evil another employer might be, or how bad the products are. Typically this backfires when the employee realizes later that they were misdirected.

4. Be sure you make the effort to keep your key people. Sometimes in the frenetic pace we all keep, we often forget that our best performers–the people upon whom we depend so much–are also looking. It is almost human nature. We all want to be loved–at home and at work. So, don’t forget to show your key people some love at work. Simple things help: update them on new ideas and projects; compliment them; ask for their opinions; give them tickets to a game. Even a brief but sincere showing of gratitude will work wonders.

5. Next (and this is touchy, but I recommend it) I think you must let it be known that if someone quits, there is a company policy against hiring quitting employees. Before I get flamed here again for this, let me be clear that I do understand that every company is different and I know some make a practice of hiring ex-employees back. In fact, in my own start-ups, I have not followed my advice in every case.

But far too often, someone, particularly a younger employee, will quit just to try out a new job. If your company functions as a safety net, and you will always hire people back, rest assured that more people will test this part of your policy manual. Of course, doing so sends bad messages and creates all sorts of problems for you with the people who stay and remain loyal to you.

6. What else can employers do? I think now is the time to start new projects. New product development efforts should be increased and more people included in the process. Nothing excites employees more than belonging to an organization that is always investing the future and trying new things. If your people can’t brag about what is happening at the BBQ this summer, they might be looking around.

What are your thoughts on the ideas above? What would you add to the list? Do you feel like your employer is committed to keeping you around? If you represent a company, what is your firm doing to retain talent?

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[...] Break touched on a version of this discussion a month ago. That post focused primarily on retention as opposed to [...]