Seeing a talented employee walk out the door almost always means costs ahead – costs in the form of recruiting, interviewing, training, learning, and/or team building. And in most cases, those costs (and the disappointment on both sides) might have been avoided by applying some specific insights provided by neuroscience and the science of happiness. Here are my top three recommendations, as always backed by solid data:
1. Choose and train your managers wisely.
Data from Gallup and others suggests that people quit managers, not jobs. I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of anecdotal evidence of this finding, too: acquaintances who seem to have a dream job quit because they can’t stand their supervisor.
Despite the rate of incidents, too many small businesses promote people into management because they are good individual contributors. They don’t fully consider how well that person will handle the management job, nor do they train them for it.
Avoid that pitfall by choosing and training your managers to be effective in their new roles – and care about the people they are managing and you’ll see employees stay with them.
2. Encourage social connections at the office.
Science indicates that for most of us, the quality of our relationships with other people is the strongest factor in our happiness.
While social connection may appear as a waste of time to some managers, it is important to realize that it catalyzes a boost in happiness – which in turn results in increased productivity and commitment to the job.
3. Talk about progress.
Teresa Amabile, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, proposed the Progress Principle, which essentially states that making progress toward clear and meaningful goals is the strongest factor in what she calls “inner work life.”
Helping your employees make progress – on projects and in their careers – keeps them engaged and happily employed.
(Photo by Nik Gaffney on Flickr.)