It will be harder tomorrow than it is today to find great employees who not only have the knowledge, skills and abilities you want, but that spark that makes it all work.
Once you find a great employee, it is critical to invest time in conversations that focus on keeping this person on board. Below are some tips to help you retain great employees.
Employees want—and need—answers to five questions:
1. What is expected of me?
Tell your employees your business vision and goals, how their job fits in, and how they can actively participate in making the workplace successful. A purpose-driven employee is a powerful force in any organization.
2. How am I doing?
Employees want and need regular feedback, and the lack of it is one of the biggest reasons people find other jobs. Often, employees only hear from their bosses when they make a mistake.
When an employee does something that shows talent, initiative, problem solving, or success with a project or task, let him know. When you recognize and reinforce performance or behaviors, employees tend to repeat them.
It is also important for managers to promptly confront problems and provide the employee honest but respectful coaching.
3. Where do I stand?
Formally, and at least once a year, employees want you to sum up their performance. This is your opportunity to discuss an employee's accomplishments, opportunities for growth and improvement, and professional career development.
If he had some challenges during the year, you can review the progress he made and remind him of the points described in point No. 1. And remember: Don't save performance and behavior problems until the annual review meeting.
4. How can I improve?
Even your best employees want to know how they can do better. If you see a performance opportunity or a performance gap, work with the employee to develop an action plan. One small change can have a positive impact on an employee's overall performance.
5. How can I grow and challenge myself?
Employees can become bored over time and, without the opportunity to learn and grow, may lose their spark and focus.
Consider re-recruiting employees from time to time. Regain the excitement you both had on her first day of work. Remind her why you hired her over other candidates, and review the qualities you saw in her that are important to your organization. Then, together, you can outline a development plan and growth strategies for your "new hire."
Answering these five questions for employees is just one part of a solid retention strategy. Effective leaders who take a personal interest in their employees' growth and development and involve them in the decisions that affect them are on the way to creating a high-performing and highly-involved workplace. This leads to high-quality results, and a workplace where employees want to be.
Fred Holloway is president of Holloway Human Resource & Management Consulting. A version of this article originally appeared on HHRConsulting.com.