Keeping Your Best Employees

I just finished an interesting book, The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave by Leigh Branham.

The major point Branham tries to make in the book is that managers and owners often have no understanding of the real reasons why employees quit. There have been a number of studies done on this and managers usually say upward of 75 percent of employees leave for more money, and less than 25 percent leave for other reasons. Ask employees why they leave and those numbers are reversed. The truth is most employees are willing to work for less money if a company offers good benefits and a positive working environment.

The two biggest reasons employees leave? They don’t see opportunities to advance in the company, and they don’t feel their supervisors respect and appreciate them.

Take, for instance, a remodeler I know from my days writing about the remodeling industry. He paid his employees pretty well, a rate I would guess is near the top of the scale in his Midwest market. He offered good benefits. Despite this, I’d always hear him complain about how he couldn’t keep his employees. One day, I got some insight into this situation when we were talking on the phone. He asked if he could put me on hold while he “took care of something.” For whatever reason, I was still able to hear the conversation on the other end of the phone, where he proceeded to yell, scream at and otherwise berate one of his salesmen in an obscenity-laden rant. While I didn’t know the whole story, from what I could gather, the problem was a minor one.

While that may be an extreme example, think about how you treat your employees. When they screw up, how do you handle it? Even more importantly, when they do a good job, do you let them know? Positive feedback for a job well done can go a long way toward making employees feel appreciated.

And chances for advancement? That really goes back to being appreciated. If your employees feel like they can move up to become a supervisor or even part owner, they’ll be much more likely to stay loyal.

Let’s face it. It’s hard to find good employees in the construction industry, and it’s only going to get worse. People of my generation didn’t exactly flood the ranks of construction employees and those in their 20s and teens now entering the workforce seem to have little interest in the industry. So when you get a good employee, make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep them.