How to Retain Employees During the War for Talent

BY C. Lee Smith
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As the chief engagement and brand officer at EHE, Joy Altimare knows how important it is to level-​set or benchmark an individual’s health status. As a leader, Altimare believes in benchmarking each new manager’s abilities and then giving them what they need to succeed. She also wants to see more companies set up a culture that encourages work-​life balance. Here are the details she shared in a recent ManagerSmarter podcast.

Each new manager begins their job at a different starting point. They may have been whizzes in their operational roles. When it comes to managing a team with a range of personalities, attitudes and abilities, they may feel stressed or uncertain. It’s up to senior leadership to provide the support, tools and training that new managers need to succeed. These folks also need you to check in with them regularly to see how it’s going.

Continuing with the health care analogy, Altimare encourages leaders to provide ongoing support to help managers succeed. Feeling supported motivates employees to work harder. But offering support is a big commitment. It takes time to check in with all the people you work with every day. Whether these people are managers on your team or employees in another department, you’re all in it together. One way to positively impact employee work lives is to increase your interaction. Take small time increments, like 15 to 20 minutes, and walk around the office, talk to people, and encourage and empathize as necessary. The personal interaction forges strong bonds. Encourage your new managers to engage in this same process.

The everyday work schedule can be a grind, especially when your employees start having children. There’s the stress of getting to the daycare center on time and then the aggravation of the commute. As children get older, parents want to attend school meetings and events. Leadership can improve office culture by emphasizing work-​life balance, especially for working parents. You don’t need to have every person sitting at their desks in the office from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day. Let your employees demonstrate their commitment to you. Allow them to work from home and complete their tasks in the evening after their young kids go to bed. Similarly, you can allow employees to work from home one or two days a week. The reduced commute means they can spend more time with their families. This kind of policy reduces stress and anxiety and builds employee loyalty.

Altimare says, “[t]here is a war for great talent. You have to think of things differently. As a manager, you have to manage, monitor.” Keep your finger on the pulse of your organization and you'll find a way to retain your employees.