Organizations can retain older employees when they actively support development and career opportunities. They benefit from both the increased ability to achieve results and the ability to retain the employees they wish to keep.
“What will you do to retain me?”
“I will give you feedback so you will know how you are doing.”
Employees taking charge of their careers want feedback. They want feedback on results. Equally or even more important, they want feedback on their skills. Employees cannot change what has happened, but they can change their skills to produce better results in the future. It is this latter, developmental type of feedback that employees seek. To be effective as a retention tool, feedback must be:
What will you do to retain me?”Nontraditional Development
“I will give you many methods of developing new skills.”
From an organization’s perspective, managers want development to serve a purpose for the company and employees. That requires planning. Managers have to state what they are going to do, how they will do it, and what they will observe at the end. They need to identify and allocate resources, including money and time and someone to coach the employee, to help him or her keep on track. This is a lot more complicated than it used to be. Development can work only when it is a cooperative arrangement between employee and supervisor.
There are many different ways of learning. The traditional classroom training linked to the job requirements can still be an effective method of developing skills. Some of employees learn best when they have an instructor to answer their questions and coach them over difficult material. For some material, class discussion is the most effective teaching method.
An employee who is already skilled and has experience can further develop that skill by becoming a coach or instructor or mentor to other employees. Teaching something you know so that others can learn it develops skills in structuring communications and adaptability to the learning styles and abilities of those being taught.
“We value our employees.”
“We treat each other with respect.”
“We work together as a team to achieve results.”
These statements do appear in the official statements of many organizations. They often reflect something real about work environment. Supervisors do value their employees and their contributions.
It seems obvious that the better employees believe they are treated, the more likely they are to want to stay with their organization. The survey (Dibble 1999, p. 120) supports that. Top attractors were, with their ranking and the percentage of employees checking the response:
“All-around good employer”—2d place, 54%.
“Coworkers are good”—4th place, 50%.
“Boss is good”—6th place, 46%.
Not being treated well causes employees to leave their employer. Reasons for leaving the previous job include, out of 44 possible items:
“Conflict with boss”—14th place, 10%.
“Harassed”—25th place, 6%.
“Conflict within work group”—30th place, 5%.
“Discrimination”—30th place (tie), 5%.
“All-around good employer, ” “Coworkers are good, ” and “Boss is good” are associated with being treated with value and respect.
Creating Desired Work Environment
Once managers and employees have the same understanding of what work environment should be, they are able to move toward it. Managers should create policies to retain employees “What will you do to retain me?” “I will prepare and implement policies that facilitate your work and do not put barriers in your way.” When the company tries retaining professional employees, employees want to know whatever company’s policies help them grow.