Staff shortages are almost everywhere. Acquisition seems to be the solution. Hunting for new employees. It is fishing in a pond where overfishing means less catching of fresh workers. And so bonuses are promised to lure staff, or entice people to work more. But one weapon gets too little attention as far as I am concerned: retain staff! Herd instead of hunt. Being good to your people. Therefore, three tips for managers to do good for your people. So that they stay working for you longer, and with more inner motivation.

Tip1: Make real contact

‘What did the coaching programme get you?’, I recently asked a coachee. ‘The most important thing for me is that we had one conversation together with my manager that made him understand me better. He gained more insight into my drives, thinking styles, talents and (limiting) beliefs. And he has since shown more interest in me as a person and colleague. He now seeks me out more often to ask how I am doing and he does his best to show commitment to my work. For the past 12 years, it felt like he didn’t see me, there was no personal contact or attention. Now it feels like he hears and sees me. I now feel recognised as a valuable employee through more and genuine contact.’

This is a good example of what listening, attention, understanding and respect brings. It makes a manager get to know his employees. And employees feel valuable. An employee’s self-confidence increases as a result. And so does trust in the manager.

Tip 2: Let employees dream

‘A human being is naturally curious and wants to develop.’ This is my sacred belief. It is ingrained in nature and therefore in human nature. Make use of that. Make employees think about how they want to live and work. What is their ideal image, what is their dream? How do they want to organise their work and life? What annoys or amazes them? Help them outline a dot on the horizon that they can and want to work towards. Offer them a perspective that invites them in. Realistic, challenging and meaningful for the organisation and/or society.

Tip 3: Keep your finger on the pulse

And then help them realise that ideal image, their dream. Offer them opportunities and challenging activities in the here and now that fit the dream and the person. Sometimes give them an extra push when they don’t want to leave their comfort zone. Talk them into courage when they lack courage. Slow them down if they overestimate themselves. Take them into protection when they lack self-control. Give them wisdom if they cannot choose between one or the other. Give them assignments, tips or ask questions depending on their level of experience. In short, stay on top of how your employees are doing and keep a finger on the pulse. What won’t happen without … real contact.

Retaining staff

Staff is still too much managed as a service or product. But people want to be managed. They want to be supported to grow and get the best out of themselves. So that they lead meaningful lives. To lead is to motivate others and help them develop. So that they are committed to a greater purpose of the team or organisation they work in. Many managers are mainly concerned with pursuing their own drives such as wanting to determine, influence and pursue business success. Therefore, they are good at managing a department. But they are not always good at leading the people in that department.

Really connecting, dreaming and supporting with people is not among their well-developed skills. Deciding for others, convincing them you are right, manipulating and dominating, are dangers that lurk. Employees then feel unappreciated. That starts to gnaw at their (self)confidence. And they do not have the feeling of doing meaningful work and further development. They mentally distance themselves and a little later say goodbye to their boss and job. And in the current situation with staff shortages, they quickly leave the company.

Quick scan

Are you a manager and want to explore how to further develop your leadership skills? Or are you an employee looking for support on how to develop yourself further? Then feel free to contact me.

Or make my Quick scan and I will contact you!

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The quote used was previously used in the article Less absenteeism through quick fix, guts and discipline.