It is the question everyone wants the answer to – what is the secret to retaining your team members? While there is no one answer, there are simple things I have learnt over my time as Talent’s Auckland General Manager that you can do to keep your team on board. Let’s get into it:
1. Be interested
A key piece of advice I have, a golden nugget of wisdom, if you will, is to show genuine interest in your employees. Understand what motivates them and use this knowledge to do just that! Maybe it’s positive affirmations, increased flexibility or more recognition. Use this knowledge to gear them towards their best work.
Further, you should work to uncover what they are happy about and what they want to change. Listen to what they are saying and see what you can actually implement in the team environment to show that you value their opinion. Their feedback can be beneficial for the entire team.
You should also take the time to understand what their career aspirations are, and help them in taking the steps to get there. As a manager, you are not only a leader, but also a mentor – you are there to support and motivate your team. I personally know the power a great mentor can have in helping you achieve your career aspirations. Sometimes just knowing that someone is backing you is the confidence boost you need to take that leap of faith in your career. Plus, if your team knows that there is the opportunity for growth within your company, they will stick around.
One thing that I’ve learnt as a manager is to ensure your team members know that they are your top priority and are central and critical to success. It doesn’t take much – a simple “you’re doing a great job” can go a long way, and should never be underestimated. People want to be recognised for their efforts – it makes them feel like the work they are doing is valuable and worthwhile. To know that they are on the right track is a fantastic motivator and will gear your team towards success. Even more so, employees who know they are valued will want to stay on with your company. Why would you want to leave a space where you feel appreciated and nurtured? Simple answer, you wouldn’t. So don’t forget to communicate.
3. Lead with vulnerability
Everyone has bad days and things don’t always go to plan. I know that as well as the next person. That is why I always advise to lead with vulnerability. Explain to your team that today might not be perfect but it’s a journey together and everyone has their part to play. The work you do is a team effort, so remind each employee that they are a valuable player and have the support of the team behind them. If they fall, there will always be someone there to pick them up. Knowing that you are in it together can provide your team with the reassurance needed to overcome any obstacle.
Moreover, as a leader, you need to be open to change. Ask for feedback and then listen to that feedback. And yes, this means ACTUALLY taking it on board. You need to remember that no one is perfect, including yourself and everyone makes mistakes. Being humble in this knowledge allows you to be willing and open to change – which is a great thing. Demonstrate to your team that you are willing to make changes in what you do, and they will follow suit.
Being a vulnerable leader also means being open about your struggles and challenges. It’s what makes you human and what allows your team to relate to you. Being open about how I overcame imposter syndrome and how this helped me grab a career opportunity of a lifetime is something that I hope has inspired my team and others to overcome their insecurities and fears to reach their full potential.
4. Look to the future
A forward-looking approach can do wonders for motivating and gearing your team towards success. You want to create hope and faith that you’re working towards something amazing together. My advice is to be clear with your team about everyone’s roles in helping to achieve that. Your team can’t work towards something if they don’t know exactly what they’re working towards. Make sure everyone is on the same page and is united in a common vision and aim. I also always champion taking their opinions on board. What else do they want to see? Try to integrate this into your long-term plan so that it feels like a common effort – something that you and your team have developed and are working towards together. You go through the struggle together, but that makes it all the more rewarding when you get to share in the success together.
5. Purpose over pay
People want to feel like they have a purpose, so make sure your team knows that what they are doing has meaning. This goes beyond pay. Let them know that they are each making a valuable contribution to the company and that their work is going towards the collective effort of achieving its goals. It goes a step further than this as well. Employees want to know that the company they work for has a purpose in broader society and is fundamentally ethical in its activities. This starts right at the heart of a business - its culture. Foster a culture which values people, and your employees will stick by your side. Never underestimate the power of purpose.
If you are looking for new talent to join your team, get in contact with us today.