Ask any group of managers what their number one challenge related to employees is and you'll hear the same answer: retention.
"I'm spending hours and hours of time, interviewing and selecting just the right people - and then they leave," says one.
"We invest a ton of money in training new employees - and then they leave," says another.
Whether we're talking time or money, they're valuable resources. Finding a way to keep the people we've invested in is crucial to building the "dream team" of employees.
It's time for a little creative thinking. It's also time to look for ways to boost retention that doesn't cost more money, or take more management time. Let's face it: we simply don't have any more money - or time - to throw at this problem.
But wait just a minute. One thing we've learned from the people at the Gallup organization is that people stay, and are more engaged in their work, when they count co-workers among their best friends.
So what if we found simple ways to nurture friendships among our employees, starting with day one?
Perhaps we could match a new employee with an experienced, capable employee. You might call it mentoring - or maybe even "secret pals." You might structure a regular time each month for interaction - maybe a "dollar store only" gift exchange on payday, followed by an unveiling of friends every few months. Or maybe you could provide computer access for trusted staff to send new employees encouraging emails or messages that the new employee picks up when he or she is logging in for online training.
Creatively coming up with ways to encourage friendships - right from the start - may be one simple, low-cost way to improve the most important element of bottom line results - retention.
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