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Is 2014 the year your best employees set sail?

By Jonathan Sweet

Most companies have had it pretty easy the last several years in managing employee turnover and keeping the team happy.With a recession that made employment conditions tough and an industry depression that made the situation downright desperate, most people have been happy simply to have a job.Too many companies have taken advantage of this to see just how much they can squeeze out of a smaller employee base. The “they should be happy to have a paycheck” mentality has been much too common.

If you’re thinking that, you may be up for a rude awakening in 2014, as employees are feeling more confident than ever about looking for new opportunities. With declining unemployment and improvements in the overall economy and the boating industry, opportunities are out there for the best employees.

Right Management conducts a poll every year of workers across a variety of industries across the country. In the most recent edition, conducted at the end of 2013, 83 percent of employees said they planned on actively seeking a new job in 2014. That’s up from 60 percent in 2009. That’s just one survey showing results like that.

While you may be willing to lose a disgruntled employee or two, those kind of numbers point to good employees being discontented as well.

If you want to keep those best employees, it’s not about crazy benefits or large raises. Yes, offering a competitive salary and benefits are important, but once you get past that, it’s the little things that make the difference.

In study after study, employees point to non-financial reasons for leaving jobs or seeking other opportunities.

• A good manager. Probably reason No. 1 people bail on a job is having to work for a toxic manager. Take a careful look at your team – is there anyone who you wouldn’t want to work for? Don’t forget to take a look in the mirror and see if you can improve.

• The chance to do great work. Most people want to feel like what they are doing matters. Talk about your successes, whether its earning money for a local charity or winning honors like being named to the Top 100. (Probably a good time to let you know that this year’s Top 100 application is now available at BoatingIndustry.com/top-100/application.)

• A career path. The best employees want to advance and grow. Are you giving them the opportunity to do that?

• Seeing the big picture. Do employees know why decisions that affect them are made? Communication is important to share why cuts are made, why this boat line is dropped or added, why a service provider is changed.

These are just a few examples – but worth thinking about to make sure 2014 is the year you keep your best employees, not lose them.


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