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  • Writer's pictureJohn Harper


Updated: Feb 11, 2022

I don’t intend to rehash what you might already know about retention practices—and I’d never create unnecessary work for a client. But I do, however, want to drill down on the importance of retention practices as a key insight into your company’s efficiency. Creating a strategy to pay attention to your people means you’ll save emotional energy, and time. This, in turn, means optimized results—and profit, a win-win all around.

There’s a critical component to this process. That is, paying attention to what your people value. This reduces turnover and creates a more enjoyable work environment for everyone.

I’ve had a mantra for many years, and it has served me very well in getting results. I borrowed this from Stephen Covey’s The 8thHabit: From Effectiveness to Greatness.

“Discipline is the price you pay to bring a vision into reality.”

The message of this credo, superimposed upon the wellbeing of your human resources, means employee satisfaction should be an ingredient consistently “baked into” your company’s routine. You stay steady with this priority, and, over time, results virtually always appear. Consider some of these steps:

Talk to your people. . .

In whatever way you choose, just be patient and authentic. Try to elicit information and trust by asking your people some of these questions.

  • What aspect of your work is integral to your overall experience here?

  • Should any aspect of your role change?

  • What’s your best operating style?

  • How would you like to develop and grow here?

  • What can I/we do better so you can do your best work?

  • What hinders you from being all you can be?

  • Is working here part of the trajectory of your career development?

  • How is the company on your “I enjoy working here” scale, #/10?

Listen to your people…

Gallup research revealed needs that Leaders can meet to improve employee engagement;

  • Prioritizing employee development.

  • Facilitating a sense of purpose.

  • Caring about employees.

  • Considering employee opinions.

  • Focusing on employee strengths.

“Culture Branding”. . .

In its ultimate simplicity… it all comes down to how you show up for your employees. Right from the beginning, you can help yourself and save a ton of time and energy by adopting this mantra: “Hire Right! Focus on Fit.” People are not held back because of some elusive and mysterious weakness; they’re held back because they’re either in the wrong place, or they’re deploying the wrong behaviours.

If you want to unlock high performance, you need to understand personality – specifically, how employees do what they do, and why they do it. Remember, talent is nothing more than the accurate and consistent deployment of a behaviour in an environment where that behaviour is valued and creates desired results.

Don’t clog talent pipelines with bad hires, e.g., don’t be fooled by charisma, because there may be a lot of “stuff” beneath that. With employee engagement rates at just 49 percent as of 2020, we need to take an evidence-based approach to talent acquisition. Interviews are well documented to have insufficient predictive validity for effective job performance, so exhaustive interviewing is not the solution. Moreover, nearly one-quarter of hiring managers say they just don’t have the skills to avoid “bad hires.”

Hiring right is the single-greatest investment in a company’s overall strategic plan

But the second-most desired goal is keeping the right people!

  • Talk to your people.

  • Listen to your people.

  • Implement a culture of CARE, foremost, as your brand:

    • Care Noun: the provision of what is necessary for health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something.

    • Care Verb: feeling concerned or interested; attaching importance to something. Looking after and providing for needs.

The WIN-WIN of increased efficiency with the right people becomes the ultimate return on your company’s investment.

John Harper is an expert at identifying behaviour beneath the veneer. John’s company has helped align people strategy using high quality Psychometric Testing(s) with such major companies as Nestle, Bank of Canada, Telus, and Kraft, to smaller- and medium-sized businesses.

Follow John

on Twitter @the_JohnHarper

on Instagram @Leadership.Performance, and soon to be launched @BeneathTheVeneer

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