Maintaining People Places & Retaining Staff

It should go without saying that there is no better way to maintain a carefully created People Place than to hang on to your existing loyal producers. Unfortunately, not nearly enough emphasis is applied in this area. Begin by taking note of who these employees are.

Retain Proven Performers

Utilize your existing personnel resources – be aware of the experience, skills and aspirations of current employees. Get out and be visible among your staff – they are your most valuable resource.

One of the leading causes of discontent is poor placement, the consequences of which are felt at all levels. Unfortunately, all too often these days, any available body is thrown at a position or a set of responsibilities and it's called a done deal. There's no better way for an employee to shoot himself in the foot, taking down an otherwise productive staff member with him.

If there are no openings available to rectify an existing misplacement, consider expanding the current responsibilities of valued staff members to maximize their valuable experience. Make the most of their know-how in other ways in your organization, such as implementing a mentoring program and offering the challenge to your trusted employees who have "topped out."

Perhaps these staff members would be interested in forming a team of administrative interviewers, or in developing and implementing an administrative orientation program. The possibilities are endless.

Sometimes there is a lateral move to a position that would better fit expanding skills, experience and changing interests. Go to great lengths to utilize your existing resources. It is always the less expensive, more efficient route.

Do not underestimate the power of simple recognition in retaining valuable staff. You may not have the wherewithal or the mechanism in place to reward staff members in a tangible way, but that should not keep you from establishing a program to single them out with a "pat on the back." A small gift at the next company function, a monthly recognition luncheon, a name in the employee news or on the bulletin board are simple and cost effective, but nonetheless expressions of appreciation.

Know Your Leaders From your Managers

There is perhaps no concept more important than this. Loyal employees can be forgiving of much, but misapplication in this area is often the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back. Much of the rest will be naturally addressed by one who knows the fundamental difference between these two concepts.

The rule of thumb here is:

Manage processes and procedures – lead, guide & teach people.

If you are experiencing problems, determine whether you and your leadership staff are confusing these two areas. While an effective management team will often need to be engaged in both, they are not interchangeable, and like oil and water, they do not mix.

It really is that simple, not unnecessarily easy, but definitely simple. It's no surprise that people respond to the human approach and there's little in management of humanity. By nature of the definition, leaders are out in front, rarely expecting of their followers what they have not first paved the way for. Occidentally leaders are bringing up the rear, but then only to protect the rear flank.

The mature leader possesses leadership sophistication, a ripeness of attitude, in relation to any given situation, that each member of the leadership team has gained as a result of experience. There is openness and a willingness to continue the personal growth process.

Interpersonal skills are of paramount importance. Leadership must be non-discriminatory, developing solid working relationships across all levels. This may appear to be blatantly obvious, but sadly is all too often overlooked in the name of accelerated organizational progress. Both leaders and managers must be willing to facilitate conflict resolution, as well as to confront issues surrounding relations between teams, departments and organizational levels.

An effective leader has a sincere concern for the success of those he leads, treating staff members as individuals, giving credit, taking pleasure in making people look good. A great leader keeps the objective as simple as possible, always promoting understanding, always acting as a role model, and standing out of the way, not interfacing unnecessarily, so staff can get on with their work.

An effective leader will make the difference between a successful administration and a failure. The most brilliant processes, designed and directed by the most capable managers will fall flat at some point if the leadership is not right. It is not necessary to prioritize purpose over people, or vice versa. If leadership has done its homework, everyone in the organization will arrive at the vision simultaneously.