Results are the only way to judge the success of any business or organization. The most successful businesses are high pressure, high performance driven environments. The employees who do well are the ones who are ambitious and driven. Inevitably these individuals are always seeking better opportunities to further their development and enrich their lives.
Their value to any organization is obvious and so these talented individuals are inevitably the target of headhunters and other organizations wishing to take advantage and benefit from their prowess in their given field. This practice of targeting and trying to attract employees from their current employers gives rise to the common problem of knowledge retention.
The most common mistake made by companies in terms of knowledge retention is being reactive as opposed to being proactive. Companies try to hold onto valuable employees and show their appreciation for a job well done only when the employee has received a better offer or is planning to leave the organization. This is when they pull out the big guns and offer them all types of different things to entice them to stay.
This is putting the horse before the cart and more often than not this approach does not work. Usually at that point the individual has already made up his mind about leaving and may even have made a commitment elsewhere. It also raises the question in the employees mind of why was this not done before. This is a very important question and goes to the heart of knowledge retention strategy.
A much more effective approach is to recognize and address the issue before it even becomes a problem. Think long term and not short term. Establishing long term relationships and commitment from employees, starts from day one. Try to hire employees who fit into the long term vision of the company and enjoy the same ideals and vision.
Then, together develop a career path and a plan for training and advancement within the organization. This will establish that the company is just as concerned about their growth and development as they are and develop and promote company loyalty.
The next key is to keep in touch with employees and keeping the lines of communication open. This way, employers will always know beforehand the issues that employees wrestle with or are concerned about and can effectively and actively address them before they escalate.
Knowing the employee is essential in developing any knowledge retention strategy. This is the proven method of finding out what motivates them. This keeps them motivated and interested in performing at their optimum level and continuing to perform in their designated roles.
It is important to recognize that individuals differ and are motivated by various different factors. Promotions, money and recognition are just a few motivating factors. The bottom line is, invest time and resources in the staff, and they will invest in the organization.
Recognizing that they are the most important and valuable resource is the key to establishing an effective knowledge retention strategy.