In this 4 part series on employee retention, this first episode should not come as a surprise.  We are focusing on building and maintaining trust.

But first, some people may naturally be thinking, why do I care about retention?  People will work for me or my company if they want to, there is nothing I can do to change that one way or the other.  (I know you aren’t thinking that, but some people do actually think that’s the case.). The reality is that employee retention is very much within your control and sphere of influence. 

Because of that, you need to work diligently to do your part in retaining the talent you worked so hard to find, hire, and develop.  The first step in this process is building and maintaining trust.

To do this well, refer back to the series we did at the end of May:  Taking Over a New Team.  Realize that many of those actions you took then should continue within your business in order to maintain the trust you built from the start.  

Touch bases.  Those exist not simply to talk about the business, although about half of the time in that meeting is spent discussing business responsibilities. The other half is spent talking about personal events, challenges, goals, aspirations, training, encouragement, and honest feedback.  In those conversations, the relationship is strengthened between you and your direct report, or between a manager within your company and their direct report.  This is why touch bases are important to start and maintain within your routine.  Spending dedicated time with someone on your team each month, mentoring them, developing them, and growing them, builds and maintains trust.  They are going to feel like you are invested in them and their success.  This in turn creates loyalty.

Training plans are along the same lines when it comes to trust and loyalty.  If you have someone who put together a plan for you, to help you become more successful, to help you achieve your goals, and be the best version of yourself, you’re going to be loyal to them.  That person is your guide, helping you win as the hero in your own story.  No one is going to leave their guide!

Honest performance reviews are another tool that builds trust.  If I see that you are telling me where I am performing well and where I am failing.  If I know you are doing that because you want me to succeed, I’m going to be loyal to you.  I trust your feedback.  I trust you to tell me what I need to keep doing and what I need to change.  I trust you because you have consistently given me candid feedback that has helped me grow and improve.  Because of that, I’m going to be loyal to you because again, you are guiding me down the path to success.

Last but not least, regular feedback.  Be it at the end of a presentation or during a touch base, feedback shouldn’t wait.  It should be delivered the same day the event occurred and should usually be done in private (especially if it’s constructive).

Remember, I’m the hero in my own story. For me to be successful, I have to overcome personal barriers.  If you are giving me regular, timely feedback, I’m going to do nothing but overcome them faster.  The feedback you are giving will always be a mix of praise and challenges.  Sometimes your direct report will knock it out of the park, and you will tell them that.  Other times, they will miss the mark, and you will walk them through why and how they can improve.  Because you are giving regular feedback (good or bad), they trust you and see you have their best interests at heart.  

Trust drives loyalty.  Loyalty drives retention. Think about how you can continue to build trust in your organization to retain your talent and decide which steps you will proactively take to maintain trust.

Be Legendary!