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Keep Your People

One of the keys to long-term success, employee retention nevertheless remains a mystery to many companies.

Stalwart retention tools like the exit interview don't seem to work so well for most companies. On their way out the door, employees have little incentive to provide constructive criticism that would help the company improve its employee relations.

Team-building exercises, if not tailored to the size and focus of your company, will likely fall flat, leaving your employees even more convinced that they aren't a good fit with the company.

As many companies discover the hard way, the size of your company, the type of work employees are doing, as well as your specific personality mix must be considered when honing your approach to employee retention. But just about everywhere you go, employees share a desire to be clear on expectations, to feel challenged and to be appreciated.

The Wall Street Journal Online recently published a very solid four-part package on employee retention, covering many of the above points through case studies of small to midsized companies working in certain niche industries. They touch on how they built retention efforts that proved well-suited to their employees unique needs. And even more simply, one company puts a twist on the exit interview, deciding it is more useful to ask employees why they are staying rather than why they are leaving.

Out in the blogosphere, Network World's Susan Hanley adds to that the prospect of using online collaboration in the form of communities of practice to help employees feel more connected, challenged and thus satisfied with their job.

With all the effort required to replace outgoing employees and get the new faces up to speed, the time required to read up and put your mind to a well-thought-out program for your team should seem a drop in the bucket.

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