Retaining Your Best People - Harvard Business School

Retaining Your Best People - Harvard Business School

Learn strategies to keep the best people in your business and improve your results.

Has your company lost talent to the competition and you still haven't found an explanation for it? If the answer is yes, the book "Retaining Your Best People", from Harvard Business School, was made for you.

It offers strategies for retaining qualified labor within your organization, through people management, coaching, improving communication skills and optimizing team performance.

Want to know more? So continue reading this PocketBook and learn how to preserve the human capital essential to your corporation's success!

About the book "Retaining Your Best People"

The book "Retaining Your Best People" (2006) is part of "The Results-Driven Manager" series, published by the Harvard Business School Press.

The book is composed by 17 articles from different authors that bring the most varied strategies to increase retention of people within companies which makes it very comprehensive and applicable.

Throughout the different articles, it is evident that motivated and faithful people with the company produce more and better. In this way, the book seeks to bring good practices so that it is possible to build a more pleasant environment and a culture focused on the sustainability of the company.

About the author Harvard Business School

The book "Retaining Your Best People" is part of a series "The Results-Driven Manager" published by Harvard Business School, considered by many as the most famous in the world in this field.

The school has so much relevance that had as students George W. Bush (former president of the USA) and Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook's CFO). The relevance and importance of the school is the result of a very rigorous selection process, in which only 12% of the candidates were approved in 2015.

To whom is this book indicated?

"Retaining your Best People" is indicated for all people who seek the sustainability of a business and do not want to lose their information and their best talent to competition.

If you also want to know how to decrease turnover of your company or how to create a favorable and more productive climate, even in difficult times, this book is for you!

Main ideas of the book "Retaining Your Best People"

In this summary, we'll focus on the 4 strategies that Harvard Business School Press defines as essential to keeping the talents in a company:

  • Create strategies to keep your employees;
  • Involve your employees;
  • Create custom techniques;
  • Get the best of people.

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[Book Summary] Retaining Your Best People - Harvard Business School

Overview: Create Strategies to Keep Your Employees

It is possible to develop skills to retain employees.

In the book "Retaining Your Best People", the author says that the initial strategy is firstly to attract talented people. Then you need to do a smart selection and perceive signs of lack of engagement. So you need to focus on the ability to provide opportunities for members to evolve in professional life.

The articles that will be summarized in this overview discuss how the skills to be developed can improve people retention results within the company.

Why staff retention should become the immediate main strategy?

Paul Michelman, Harvard Management Update editor, states in this text that employees prefer to stay in the jobs if they have growth opportunities, possibility to develop their skills and to progress in the professional career.

For this, you should, among other things:

  • Learn as much as you can about the wishes and future projects of your employees;
  • Let your employees know that you count on them.

Align human capital with business strategy: perspective of leaders

In this analysis, Cassandra A. Frangos takes into account the opinion and advice of three experts:

  • Dr. Jack Fitz-enz (author of the ROI of human capital and president of the Saratoga Institute) that advises companies to set goals related to retention of people, such as the example cited in the book, the cost of turnover.
  • David Norton (co-creator of the Balanced Scorecard methodology and Balanced Scorecard Collaborative) says that it is necessary to develop ways of evaluating and measuring performance that are representative in the company's strategy;
  • Helen Drinan (former general director of the Society for Human Resource Management) advises that the company's managers know a lot about the macro environment in which the company operates, including the long-term challenges related to the labor market.

Employee retention

This text contains the content of some possible practices on how to keep employees in the company and identify some signs of disinterest and lack of motivation. Some examples cited are:

  • To create an exceptional work environment you must show interest for your employees, not as employees, but as people;
  • To demonstrate that you trust people, you must have visible management of the strategy and administration of the enterprise;
  • To develop excellent activities allow your employees to perform tasks that exploit their skills;
  • To reduce complaints develop a feedback culture.

Situations that show lack of interest and lack of motivation:

  • Changes in behavior;
  • Arrive late or later than normal;
  • Decline in performance.

In addition, the article also brings information that can help you attract people to the business and relocate employees who are eager for change.

How to keep the stars of your company

Did you know that salary is not the most important factor for the employee to remain faithful to the organization? Yes, that's right! You did not read wrong!

According to Edward Prewitt, overemphasizing salary can encourage your employees to leave your company if they have a chance for a higher salary.

And what are the most important motivators for you to potentiate? Did you think about it?

Edward states that it is necessary to:

Overview: Engage Your Employees

In this part of the book "Retaining Your Best People", the articles seek to bring techniques so you can involve more of your employees, that is, captivate them. For what reason? That way, you reinforce their level of commitment to the company and it is this kind of employee that you need, right?

Who is responsible for job satisfaction?

Angelina Herrin, in this text, calls attention to performance conversations.

She says these meetings consist of an opportunity to captivate employees through praise and attentive listening to all their demands.

In these conversations, you may experience discontent (if this happens, ask your employee to be as specific as possible), and you can still avoid the leaving of that member of the company.

Also know that if someone asks for salary increase, it means, according to Angelia, that this person is willing to feel appreciated by you. She suggests that you invite her to make a list of what actions represent that appreciation at work so that you can perform them at a later time.

How to guide and train your employees

Martha Craumer in this text brings relevance to the practice of coaching in companies as a way to increase retention of members.

Why that? According to her, coaching assists your employees in the definition of professional and personal goals, as well as providing techniques to achieve them. She also states that employees who achieve these goals, while working for someone, almost do not think about leaving the company.

In addition, she cites that coaching is interactive and promotes an opportunity to talk openly with employees, to avoid noise and lack of empathy with certain situations.

The author also points out that how you recognize and reward good performance can greatly influence your ability to engage talented employees.

Employee Recognition and Reward

Written by Bob Nelson, business author and employee motivation expert, this article brings tips on how to provide effective recognition:

  • The sooner you recognize good performance, the sooner you will demonstrate to an employee how you admire him. In this way, he will become more willing to repeat the good performance;
  • Find out the best way (ticket, letter, email, conversation) to praise;
  • Be aware that a word of support or an area lunch is well-received for staff, especially in periods of economic recession.

Real Empowerment? Manage the Limits

In this part of the book "Retaining Your Best People", Alan Randolph addresses strategies that aim to increase the sense of control of your employees over the tasks they perform.

He indicates such an action because, in his view, the greater the responsibility with the work he performs, the greater will be the commitment to the result delivered and, consequently, to the results of the company.

How to do this? You can gradually increase the complexity of your employees' responsibilities as you watch an approaching discouragement.

Overview: Create Custom Techniques

It is noticeable that each employee adds value to the company in a different way, in the same way that each one has different interests in relation to their careers. That way, in order for you to win everyone's loyalty, your employee attraction and retention strategies must be customized.

When your best people leave the company, will your knowledge go with them too?

The consultants David Boat and David Smith bring this concern to the topic.

To prevent this from happening, the authors suggest strategies so that you can capture enough knowledge of the most productive employees.

In this way, the first step is to identify where there are greater risks of losing information and experience. To know this, they suggest that you answer a question: "If they would leave your team, which people would leave the biggest gap?"

After that, develop a job succession program to ensure that important positions will be filled with similar people enabled.

They suggest that you use technology to harness knowledge and insights from experts to build an online community with the goal of managing knowledge.

They suggest that you always keep in mind some questions:

  • How can you show appreciation for the contribution people make to the company?;
  • What actions that are eventually developed in the work environment will make people feel more committed to the team and the company?
  • What do the best employees aim for in their professional lives? (Opportunities to evolve in their careers? A chance to work with people they like? Diversity in their tasks?);
  • How will you discover and fulfill those longings to gain the loyalty of these people?

What do other authors say about it?

In "The Effective Executive", Peter F. Drucker cites the 5 habits for effective management and explains in a specific way what are the good practices of a manager so that he is aware of the efficiency of his work. There is nothing better than motivating your employees to work in your company being a more effective leader, is not it?

The book "Good to Great" from Jim Collins, provides pertinent information as to why some companies succeed. It indicates that, among other things, you need to have disciplined people in the right places, leadership, and a defined corporate culture. These items, as you have seen, are also important to retain the talents in your company!

In the book "Everybody Matters", the authors Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia explore how true leaders must continually study to develop themselves and those around them, so that they also become excellent leaders who believe and value people.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

By analyzing the book "Retaining Your Best People" you can identify that, in order for you to be able to retain as many good people as possible on your team, you need:

  • A planned work that begins at the time of hiring;
  • A good insertion of the member in the company culture (which must be strong);
  • Develop a healthy organizational climate;
  • Motivate your employees through challenges that can be achieved;
  • Listen to your collaborators;
  • Promote and solicit feedback;
  • Implement ideas from your employees;
  • Be transparent about strategy and management.

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