Dec. 17, 2013 – While many people make resolutions for the new year, one group that doesn’t do this enough is bosses, according to OI Partners.
Employees make career-related resolutions much more often than bosses. However, the top resolution that workers make each year is to find a new job.
“If more managers resolved to develop their employees’ leadership skills, invite their input, demonstrate continued interest in their careers and recognize their contributions, fewer workers would be determined to find new jobs each year,” said Patty Prosser, chair of OI Partners, a global coaching and leadership development and consulting firm.
Retaining talented employees has become a higher priority in an improving job market. 78% of employers are worried about losing key employees, according to a survey by OI Partners.
“With respect to employees, many make some type of career-related resolutions without paying much attention to the qualities employers are looking for and ways they can differentiate themselves from job-seekers and co-workers. Career-related resolutions tend to focus on what employees and job-seekers want, rather than the skills that employers are demanding today. People will be more successful in their jobs and job searches by validating that they are the best fit,” added Prosser.
Following are some of the top resolutions managers can make to help retain talent:
- Coach workers in how to become more influential and persuasive. “Explain the implications of their actions and decisions on internal politics and help them become savvier. Provide training and guidance in how to craft their messages to meet the needs of others. Managers are too often frustrated by employees’ inability to work effectively through others. Teach them how to win over people in appropriate ways,” said Prosser.
- Develop employees’ leadership skills. “Use challenging ‘stretch assignments’ that motivate workers, require them to learn new skills and build coalitions. Look for opportunities where members of your team can step into leadership roles. That may mean you have to be in the background more and become comfortable with sharing the spotlight,” said Prosser.
- Improve your feedback and increase their accountability. Most managers are inconsistent in communicating expectations and holding people accountable. Be clear about your expectations and give timely feedback to your team when they do a good job or miss the mark.
- Tap into employees’ wealth of knowledge and experience. Encourage employees at all levels to suggest, create and communicate new ideas based on the direct experience of those on the line. Personally ask people for their input to get the best recommendations.
- Demonstrate continued interest in employee’s careers. Reassure employees that they are appreciated for the work they’re doing. Increase the frequency of discussions about their careers and one-on-one meetings with their managers.
- Recognize and reward contributions. Managers should be certain they recognize employee contributions, both big and small. A compliment from the boss can be as effective as a monetary reward. Many employees feel that their managers do not spend enough time thanking them for a job well done, but are too quick to criticize them for making mistakes.
- Build teamwork and provide developmental coaching to workers. Look for ways to partner employees on projects and concentrate on assembling compatible teams. Include ground rules on how they should work together, check in with them periodically throughout the assignment and facilitate a discussion on what’s working and what’s not. Coordinate a debriefing at the end of the project for overall feedback and lessons learned. Developmental coaching sharpens employees’ leadership skills and helps retain the most talented workers.
Following are career-related resolutions for all employees:
- Put your career at the top of the “to-do” list each day. “Too many people make check lists for the new year, and then quickly forget them. Your career is a major part of building a fulfilling life. The best way to take advantage of opportunity is to create it,” said Prosser.
- Compile your short-term, intermediate, and long-term career goals, and focus first on those that are most achievable.Evaluate where you are, visualize where you want to be, and take steps each day to realize your ideal career.
- Be prepared for more alternative employment opportunities in a rebounded economy. There is increased demand for contract, freelance, and part-time work. Position yourself to take advantage of these employment options.
- Upgrade your professional skills and capabilities. Invest in your career development by keeping your professional knowledge and skills up to date. Learn new technology, take courses, read books, and be committed to staying relevant in your professional area. Continually improve your employability by increasing the value you can bring to employers and their customers.
- Find a mentor or job-search board of advisors. Enlist a mentor with whom you can strategize career options and ideas, and whose experience can serve as a guide and resource of support. If unemployed, assemble a personal board of advisors who are equal to or above your organizational level, and may be connected to others who can open some doors for you.
- Enhance your communications skills. The ability to communicate effectively consistently places at the top of the list of necessary skill improvements for all management levels. Those who can get their messages across to bosses, subordinates, colleagues, and prospective employers are ahead of the pack in getting jobs and being promoted.
- Update your resume, professional network, and your online presence. In addition to regularly refreshing your resume, continually add new networking contacts, and update your online presence on job-search and social networking websites.