Why I Stayed a Decade ….

Last week, I attended a workshop with my client who is going through a whole re-branding restructure. So I had the chance to spend half a day with some of their employees and one of the topics which came up was ‘job hopping’, which is considered (The NEW BLACK) in the recent years!

Well, this topic dwelled in my head and opened a debate between myself and I, so on my way back home I kept asking myself; I have been with my current company for over a decade now does it mean that I was not ambitious enough to look for other opportunities? Am I part of the generation’s culture that being dedicated to one company is a sign of loyalty? But obviously it may be perceived as a career liability nowadays…

We’ve seen how the coolest organisations these days work hard to retain their best employees. You’ve probably heard about Google and Facebook offering free food and massages while others offer unlimited vacation leaves.

In my opinion, the key to making employees stay longer go beyond the physical perks! Here I am over a decade in the same company with no free food or Ping-Pong tables! However, It also amounts to the company’s culture on how it treats and values employees.

So I started digging to find out the reason why some stay in one company for a long time and some don’t. What are the reasons people continue working for their employer? Is it the pay? The benefits? A lack of better options? Those are obvious answers, especially given today’s unemployment numbers and sluggish economy. But they’re not the correct ones.

Below are six of the most common ‘stay factors’ in a job any leader should take into consideration in order to retain good talented employees.

1. Valued

Employees feel valued by attributing success to their work. Employees need to have a sense of worth in their jobs and believe that they are making best use of their skills in the role they are in whilst receiving recognition from managers for their work.  Recognition should be given soon after the achievement in order to motivate the employee to reach even higher successes. Conducting meetings and surveys to ask for employee feedback and to put this feedback into action is a great way to make them feel valued. Most people will work harder to carry out an action that they have helped to influence.

2. Involved

Sharing your company’s vision, values and goals will involve your employees in the long term plans of the business. Involving them in these plans will give them a sense of purpose within the company and motivate them to oversee and indeed contribute to the success of the business. It’s important to practice honest and open communication to help build trust and loyalty.

3. Challenged

Challenge employees with stimulating tasks that have a direct effect on the success of your company. Create work that isn’t monotonous but make sure that you’re setting challenging goals which can be achieved through hard work. This kind of challenge will keep employees interested and reduce job-dissatisfaction.

4. Trusted

Make your employees feel trusted in the company as this can go a long way towards creating an effective working environment. Employers should not contradict their words with their actions as this can break down trust and lead to resentment towards management. Placing employees in positions of greater responsibility will mean that they will have more autonomy over tasks and make them feel more trusted in the organisation. Allowing employees to delegate tasks to colleagues could have the same effect in motivating people to work better. Trust is vital to employee retention, so make sure to find ways to show that you trust your employees on a regular basis.

5. Mentored

Employees can truly benefit from a good leader. Gaining the trust and respect of your employees will go a long way in enabling them to work for you effectively. Having a mentor that can demonstrate and explain desired actions will allow organisations to nurture and grow their employees. A mentoring programme will enable a less experienced employee to learn from an experienced colleague, with goals to develop specific competencies, provide performance feedback and to design a bespoke career development plan. Both parties must share responsibility for learning and sustaining the relationship, which can reap rewards when motivating employees.

6. Promoted

Having an understanding of who your top talent pool consists of is one thing but being able to recognise and reward appropriately is another. One of the best ways to reward employees is to promote from within. Giving employees this recognition will both motivate them, and allow others to see career progression happening around them and motivate them to follow suit. For this to be effective it is important to give employees a clear path of advancement as they may become frustrated if they see no clear future for themselves within the company.

Bringing It All Together

From my experience, an important reason why employees tend to stay at a job is because of the environment they work in. I work where I simply enjoy the culture of the company from my colleagues to the managers to how the company engage employees and the community.

It would be foolish to expect to love everything about a company or job, but I strongly believe in the right to have more good days than bad ones. So if you find yourself curled up in the fatal position on Saturday night because you’re dreading work the next day—and this has been going on for months—it’s time to reassess your situation. It’s a good idea to start by trying to address the issue internally: ask your supervisor to adapt your position to better suit your interests, ask to pursue projects outside of your exact role, or even ask for a promotion.

Finally, I want to make it clear that there are ALWAYS exceptions to the rule. They come in the form of personal references. No rule is ever absolute no matter how it sounds when one writes a blog.

But I believe there is a lot of long-term value in LOYALTY. And I think this is sometimes missed by those who run too quickly to greener pastures.

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