5 Things Owners or Principals Should Do to Retain Top Talent

Things Owners or Principals Should Do to Retain Top Talent
December 2, 2019

Recruiting and retaining talent within the architecture, engineering, and construction industry is tough in today’s marketplace. Regardless of where you perform work, it’s a nationwide issue and many associations and task force groups are focusing on this very issue that plagues the industry. It’s hard to find great talent and it starts inside the organization.

Retaining employees is just as important as recruiting employees. Your employees must be engaged and empowered to take care of your customers. Recently, I listened to a webinar where Chester Elton, The Culture Works, stated, “The customer experience will never exceed the employee experience.” He couldn’t have hit the nail on the head any better. Without employees, you wouldn’t have customers. Period. Employees are a huge piece of your marketing, culture, and branding. You must focus on them in order to have a successful, thriving business.

There are 5 things you can do to retain top talent in your firm.

Treat your employees like your clients.
Employees are just as important, if not more important, than clients. I’m not saying clients aren’t important, because they are. But you wouldn’t have those clients in the first place if you didn’t have the employees who help and serve them. Make each employee feel appreciated and recognize them for his or her talents. Each employee is a unique individual and you must acknowledge it. Once they are hired, you must continually encourage and support them. Keeping an open line of communication is instrumental to the success of the employee. Not only is onboarding important, but the “after the honeymoon” stage is vital to retaining that employee. Consistently communicating, about both work and personal topics, creates a connection with the employee so you can better support them in their endeavors.

Thank your employees.
Recognition goes a long way! Be specific in your compliment to your employees. They want to know what they are doing well and be recognized for it. What gets recognized gets repeated. A simple “Thank You” goes a long way with employees. A short, handwritten note can be left on the employee’s desk after they have reached a goal or done something kind. Be sincere in your delivery.

Don’t wait for an annual performance review to tell an employee about something they’ve done well. It’s good to note it in their record for reference, but you should also acknowledge their accomplishments on the spot. It means more when you can immediately recognize what they have done to help the business.
Some firms have programs to recognize Employee of the Month or Years of Service. These are good recognition programs to have, but the one-on-one recognition goes much further where you can provide specific feedback to each employee.

Listen to your employees.
Leaders possess many skills that have gotten them into the position to run a firm, but being a great leader also requires great listening skills. This can be a challenging “soft skill” for most leaders. It takes time and practice to develop.

Ask your employees about what they think or want in the business. They will have great ideas. Typically, employees don’t make absurd requests and you don’t have to implement everything they tell you, but you must listen to them and let them know you heard and understood them. Making an action plan acknowledges that you heard them and are implementing their ideas. Employees will continue bringing more (and even better) ideas to you if they know you are listening and implementing those ideas.

Train your employees.
Give employees the training they need to improve at their job and advance within your firm. If employees see you investing in them, they are more likely to stay and invest into the business. That’s because when an employee is given the tools (training) to do their job better, they know you, as the leader, believe in them and trust them. Let the employee bring ideas for training they would like to attend. There may be something out there you aren’t familiar with that would be a great resource for them. Communicate the open-door policy when it comes to training. Tell your employees, “If you find something you think would help you in your position, bring it to me and let’s discuss it.” If employees know you invest in them, they will invest in the firm.

Inspire your employees.
Your employees want to be consistently inspired by you, their leader. They want to see passion in what you do. When you consistently display your enthusiasm, employees see that energy. It spreads throughout the office. The opposite is also true — if there is negativity in the workplace, it will spread even more quickly throughout the firm. Having a toxic employee is detrimental to the success of your firm. Those people need to be removed from your organization. You want your workplace to be a place where people grow and thrive, to be their best, and to enjoy what they do. If they aren’t a good fit for your firm or the industry, then it’s time for them to move on. As the leader of the firm, energy and inspiration must be top of mind for you. It starts at the top and trickles down.

Retaining talent is difficult. It takes a lot of time and effort, and it’s an investment — a necessary one in order for your business to thrive and grow. It’s also proven that “Those employees most engaged at work are 150% more likely to have a happier life overall, ” according to professor Sonya Lyubomirsky with the University of California. Isn’t that what we all want — happier and more productive employees? Yes! So implement these 5 steps to retaining top talent. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen with a plan and focus.

Nu marketing helps architecture, engineering, and construction firms with their marketing plans, which includes employee engagement and company culture. To talk with us about how we can help you, give us a call at 316-680-3097 or lindsay@numarketingllc.com. We look forward to helping you retain and recruit top talent!