June 28, 2022
6 Ways to Retain Your Superstar Employees
By: David Brickley, Founder & CEO of STN Digital
You’ve heard it as the Great Resignation, Great Reshuffle, or my favorite, The Great Re-Think. The majority of workers who quit a job in 2021 say low pay (63%), no opportunities for advancement (63%), and feeling disrespected at work (57%) were reasons why they quit. So what’s the solution?
STN has been named a Best Employer in Sports by Front Office Sports two years in a row and we were listed as a 2021 Top Workplace in San Diego; we’re known for our people-first culture. Our appeal is not simply our people-first approach, but the palpable support and encouragement from upper management. When they go the extra mile to support the well-being of their team, employees feel heard, productivity increases, and feelings of burnout subside.
Here are six proven and battle tested ways you can retain your top talent:
1. Survey Your Team Weekly
Ask your team to rate their week on a scale of 1-5 and ask them to share where they are mentally, emotionally, and physically on a scale of 1-10. We’ve found that employees are more likely – and more comfortable – to share this information in a written systematic forum when given a prompt. There’s a chance that one of your employees has been at a 1 out of 10 in capacity over the last month and you have no idea. A good leader wants to know how their team is feeling on a regular basis. If you can’t measure it, you can’t track it.
At STN, we use a platform called 15:5 that makes checking in with your team effortless. If budget is a concern, send out a weekly Google Survey to your team to help you stay informed about your team’s well-being. This is so important as you can get out ahead of problems before it’s too late!
2. Monitor Your Team’s Hours
You know how a coach monitors their superstars’ minutes to avoid injury and keep them fresh for the next game? You need to be doing the same with your team.
We have a joke at STN that we have “time-back police” – it’s a person who reminds you when you have to take time off because you’ve worked too much (hours in a week, or days in a row). If your internal team is maxed, don’t continue to overload, think about using outside partners to ease the load. Use a software program like T-Sheets or Harvest to have your team track their hours, current projects, and capacity so you can help prioritize and find efficiencies.
3. Prioritize Career Planning & Goal Setting
We sit down with our employees at least once a year and go over these questions – it sparks great conversation and allows the manager and employee to be on the same page of where we’re going and how to set KPIs and goals to get there.
Here are the questions we ask annually:
- 12 months from today, what would your ideal salary be?
- 12 months from today, what position in the company would you like to be in?
- What professional skill, that requires training, would you like to acquire in the next 12 months?
- What is a personal goal that you have outside of work that you want to accomplish in the next 12 months? (travel, health, family, etc.)
- What initiative, policy, department, or new product offering would you like to lead the charge on in the next 12 months?
- What other goals do you have in the next 12 months not listed above?
Employees want to know where they are going and that their manager cares about their advancement. They want to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Of those that resigned in 2021, 63% left their job due to a lack of opportunities for advancement. I’m willing to bet that a lot of those people probably had opportunities, but they were never shown the road by their leadership team.
4. More Communication and More Transparency From the Top
People love transparency. That’s why I send memos to my team at least once a month detailing the state of the business, what I’m excited about, and any professional and world news that might affect our team. So I don’t consider myself the Chief Executive Officer, but rather the Chief Energizing Officer.
Transparent communication has become the backbone of our company. With open communication, what you share with your team can be the very thing that motivates them for the next three months. When employees feel impactful they usually feel safe and less willing to look for other jobs.
5. Communicate Your Appreciation
If you don’t say it out loud to your teammate, then assume they have no idea how you feel. Especially in a more virtual world, you have to be more calculated with your reach outs and appreciation. Drop your employees a message like this:
Just wanted to send some gratitude your way. I am so appreciative of how much pride you put into your work. Per usual, you have been killin it lately and I just wanted to send some good vibes to you on this Friday of how amazing you are! Keep it up 🙂
The message above is something they’ll show their parents or friends at dinner this weekend. It matters and IT’S FREE!
6. Find a Trusted Outside Partner
We often hear that budget is easier to unlock than increasing headcount, so using that on a trusted partner can make all the difference for your team. In the last year, we’ve seen a huge increase of brands looking to STN to provide a stable yet flexible support system. Our flexibility allows us to make an impact on any initiative and help our partners overcome potential staffing challenges. For example, you might want to launch a TikTok campaign but lack the capacity. Instead, you find a partner you trust to own the campaign and create a better work/life balance for your entire team. Making a partner accountable, takes one more thing off your already full plate!
You’ll realize that your partners will quickly become that peace of mind when unexpected changes arise; so if Sally quits you can lean on your partners to spike their efforts for three months. Or when someone is out sick or on an extended vacation, you’re not worried about the extra work falling solely on your team. That elasticity can be a game-changer for your culture. It doesn’t have to be STN, but choose a partner that understands your brand.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite leadership quotes from author Ben Horowitz.
Take care of the PEOPLE, the PRODUCT, the PROFITS — in that order.