There is an impactful conversation in the TV series MAD MEN when Don, the boss, is arguing with Peggy, the copywriter.
Don very sternly says, “It’s your job! I give you money and you give me ideas!” Peggy responds with, “But you never say thank you!”. Don quickly snaps back, “That’s what the money is for!”
Who is right?
If you are wearing the corporate business hat, Don is wright. Money is the thank you for the service.
If you are wearing your employee hat, Peggy is wright. Money is one of several reasons to stay.
Here are 7 ways to keep a good employee
1. Address that there is more than take home money.
In today’s age of direct deposit, most employees never see a paycheck. They don’t get to see that there is more than the take home money. They don’t get to see the cost of their healthcare, or how much the company is making in contributions to a 401(k). During your next employee review, bring a summary of their salary plus the company’s contributions. The total will often surprise and employee and open the door to the next steps in retaining a star employees.
2. Make your employees feel like business partners.
Ask their opinion on a project. Make them feel like they are part of the decision process. A capable and valuable employee will not only take the time to make sure they are giving you good advice, they will feel empowered to perform better. The bonus comes when they offer insight you might not have thought of.
3. Expose them to new responsibilities.
Don’t be afraid to ask an employee if they can handle something extra. Providing an extra challenge can change up the daily routine for an employee. An extra challenge is a good stimulus.
4. Treat them with respect and dignity.
Don may be right about the money being the ‘thank you’. However, a pat on the back with a confident ‘job well done’ will go farther to win and keep an employee. Which has been more impactful to you, finding a paycheck on your chair or a boss taking the time to compliment the work you have done?
5. Get their feedback.
All input is good. Yes even angry feedback is good. You know where you stand with that person and can take action to change it. Most employees will be willing to give feedback if asked. They like to know someone is listening to them. But, usually employees don’t want their feedback identifiable to them. Create a platform or environment where feedback will remain annomouse and you will receive the most honest feedback.
6. Let your star employees mentor a peer or colleague.
Peer-to-peer training has several benefits. First, your star employee is recognized for his or her excellence or knowledge. Everyone likes to be recognized. Secondly, it is free training. Why would you not want your star wide receiver to teach the other players how he catches the football so well? Finally, it boosts moral. Peer-to-peer training is the first step to creating a stronger team environment.
7. Create a learning environment.
Demonstrate to the employee that they are not just there for the paycheck. They are their to learn. They are there to grow. They are there contribute to the greater good of the company and their career.
Of course there are other ways to engage and connect with employees, any of which Don could have done. Maybe Peggy was right in the end. You will have to watch AD MEN season 5 to find out, when even a kiss on the hand can’t change Peggy’s mind.