By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Gallatin, TN

Every practice has some.  Some have more than others.  The committed and loyal ones.  Solid citizens that make your business successful.  The ones you don’t want to lose.  It may surprise you to learn how much impact you can actually have about whether they stay.

That’s largely the premise of “Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay”, by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans. Their advice leverages every employer’s inherent desire to create a workplace where employees enjoy long tenure. The authors make the point that employee retention has never been more important. Not only do you need for your people to stay, you need them to be excited about being there. They offer up 26 strategies for tackling that challenge.

One of the most surprising things they share is that your employees actually have the answers to what will make them stay. And, no, we’re not talking money, here. There’s a lot more they’d like to have that you actually do have control over. At multiple points in the book, the authors provide questions or conversation starters on this and other subjects. All are designed to engage your employees in working with you to create their own satisfaction.

The idea of a “family-friendly” culture has been getting a lot of ink. But, what does that really mean? In a section devoted to that subject, Kaye and Jordan-Evans suggest you start by simply asking “What would make your life easier?” and work from there. They encourage creativity in dealing with the family-related challenges and interruptions that arise for all of us. Here are some examples of what other managers have come up with in collaboration with their employees:

If employees must travel on weekends, offer something in exchange such as comp time during the week or allowing family members to travel with the employee.
When your employees travel to areas where they have family or friends, allow them to spend extra time with those people at the beginning or end of the trip.
If company policy absolutely prohibits bringing pets to work, consider a picnic in a park where those furry family members are welcome.
Give your employees a “floating” day off per year to be used for a special occasion. Or suggest they go home early on their birthdays or anniversaries.
Have a party for your team and their families. Invite the kids (or hire sitters for small ones) and go for pizza together.
When an employee asks about working from home, really explore that possibility. What are the upsides? Downsides? Get creative about how that might work to benefit both the employee and your team.

“Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em” can be used as a skill-building guide and “tune-up” for managers trying to be better managers. It’s a manual for leadership development and new manager orientation or training. It can be part of a change management initiative to help managers hang on to “survivors” after downsizing or troubled times.

“Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay” is published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco. It is available at most bookstores.

John Borrowman