Businesses with a high retention rate are typically more successful, as they aren’t constantly returning to square one of the hiring and training process. While keeping employees on board should be a top priority during “normal” times, it’s especially critical during periods of uncertainty. After all, you shouldn’t have to worry about employee turnover when you’re navigating feast or famine in your business.
But here’s the thing: Saving an unhappy employee is much harder than sustaining team morale and avoiding dissatisfaction in the first place.
In the same way it’s easier (and more cost-effective) to maintain a vehicle than repairing it when it breaks, you should treat your team like a machine that simply needs extra care to remain in tip-top shape. However, instead of oil and coolant, your employees need two things: motivation and conflict resolution.
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No team is perfect. There will always be hiccups and disagreements along the way, but happy employees won’t bristle at a challenge. Instead, they’ll seek solutions that support the greater good and help the company progress toward its goals.
When things get tough, your team must be tougher. If retention has caused headaches in the past or you simply want to become a better leader, these team-building techniques will keep your business and its employees on the right track.
Demonstrate a willingness to invest in your employees.
There are few things more motivating than someone saying, “you’re worth it.” Your employees didn’t join your team because they wanted to take orders and receive a paycheck. Instead, they want to become a part of your movement, your legacy, and your transformation. So invite them into the mix!
Bring your team into future-planning discussions and ask them for input on growth opportunities. Show them you want them to stick around for the long haul! At the same time, if you see room for improvement, consider investing in their continued education. An employee that is engaged, empowered, and committed to learning is well worth the cost of a course here or a workshop there.
Learn your employees’ key motivators.
We all find motivation in different ways. Think about your inner circle: You have friends and family members who would do anything for financial gain. Then, there are those who are driven by experiential rewards like a vacation or a special weekend date night. Others need to hear validation from those around them to feel confident and inspired.
The same goes for your team. Get to know your employees and uncover their prime motivational tools. What gets them up in the morning? What puts a smile on their face without hesitation? What fills them with energy and enthusiasm? Once you can answer those questions, start feeding into their motivators. An afternoon off, a gift card, or a handwritten note are all small but impactful gestures that show your employees you care.
Master the art of problem-solving.
When it all boils down, conflict resolution is merely a communication breakdown. Most problems can be linked to misunderstandings, unkind comments, or unspoken thoughts. To overcome (and prevent) such issues, you must build your team on a foundation of respect and transparency.
Otherwise, your employees may hesitate to open up about concerns due to fear of shame or embarrassment. This is especially true if they’re at fault or have an issue with someone higher up in the company.
Rather than point fingers or sweep problems under the rug, the best solution is to face conflicts head-on with an open mind. First, view the issue as a systematic failure rather than any individual or team’s shortcomings. Then, discuss goals to prevent the mistake or misunderstanding from happening again and hold everyone accountable.
Foster a collaborative environment.
A team that works together mitigates conflict and boosts motivation, so leaders should do everything they can to create opportunities for collaboration. When businesses get stuck in siloed departments, your employees can end up feeling lonely and disconnected from the bigger picture.
Inspire camaraderie within your employees by intentionally creating group projects and cultivating teamwork—even if it’s not directly related to serving customers. For example, during COVID, we held a sales boot camp that helped everyone improve their skills. But the best result turned out to be the feeling of community we developed during a tough time!
Every member of your team adds value to your business. Leadership is a matter of appreciating each individual and finding ways to seamlessly blend the many personalities that help you achieve your goals. When you abide by a people-first philosophy, you will find that those people actually want to stick around!