The best way to keep your top employees is to know them better than they know themselves. Use this knowledge to create the career of their dreams, and they’ll stick to your company like glue. The new “biz-speak” for this is called Job Sculpting. The concept of Job Sculpting as defined by career experts, Timothy Butler and James Waldroop, in the Harvard Business Review, is that good people will stay only in jobs that “fit their deeply embedded life interests—that is their long-held emotionally driven passions.”
To adopt this strategy, spend a lot of effort listening to your company stars. For each one of them, try to identify what life interests are dominant with them, and then offer them the assignments that satisfy this interest. It may mean simply adding another assignment to the existing responsibilities, or it may mean switching one set of tasks to another employee. It may even require moving your “star” employee to a different position altogether.
To learn what kind of interests you’re looking and listening for, use these 8 identifiable areas:
- Application of technology.
- Quantitative analysis ability.
- Theory development and conceptual thinking.
- Creative production.
- Counseling and mentoring.
- Managing people and relationships.
- Enterprise control.
- Influence through language and ideas.
If you have a top employee who has been working in the area of customer service, but lately seems dissatisfied, after talking with him/her you might learn they would rather be dealing with the vendors. Your star might be just the answer you’re looking for to find that latest innovative product that could be added to your stock (conceptual thinking), and employee B would rather interact with the customers. By a simple switch of responsibilities, you have two happy employees that feel they’re now contributing to your business and not just putting in time for a paycheck.
It’s always more cost effective for the business, and better for employee morale to keep your existing employees happy with their careers. It takes a toll on your business when you have to fill an empty employee spot with a newcomer who has to be trained in the way your company functions.
Time is money, and time used to train a brand new employee is the highest cost of doing business. However, the time spent by you to find out what will keep your top producers happy to be working for you – is the best investment you can make in your business.