9 Surefire Ways to Retain Top Talent

Every manager knows fantastic workers aren’t always easy to come by. For every superstar, there are a handful of duds.

You’ve probably had one or two workers with the arrogance of Tony Stark, the unpredictability of Magneto, or even the recklessness of an untamed Jean Grey.

What you’re really looking for is someone with Professor X’s leadership, Bruce Banner’s intelligence and Bruce Wayne’s morality.

So when you do manage to hire an A-list employee, the last thing you want to do is lose him.

In a competitive world, retaining top talent can be difficult. There’s always another job around the corner offering higher pay or better benefits. The key to keeping a great worker could very well be your superb management.

Here’s what you can do to retain top talent at your company:

  1. Coach, don’t manage. Try to focus on coaching your employees, giving them the authority and space they need to execute and succeed. You can do this while staying accessible and available for help and problem solving. Think Nick Fury. He brought the Avengers together and is there for support, but he certainly isn’t micromanaging them.
  2. Create growth opportunities. Sure most people start out as the Robin to someone else’s Batman – but nobody wants to stay a Robin forever. If jobs are available, always start by looking within. Make internal openings visible to your workers and give them the chance to apply. If stellar employees aren’t permitted to grow, they will wilt quickly — or leave. So make sure you understand the career paths for your best and brightest employees.
  3. Take the time to learn their ambitions. How can you effectively manage people if you don’t know their career goals and ambitions? This is essential information. A good time to collect this information is at performance reviews, where you can discuss aspirations and opportunities at your company.
  4. Create clear expectations. Happy employees know what’s expected of them. Everyone should know the company’s expectations, performance metrics, goals, etc. If employees are left floundering in the dark, they will quickly grow frustrated and resentful. Even worse: changing expectations, which create stress and anxiety for employees.
  5. Operate with fairness. One surefire way to alienate employees: Show preferential treatment. If employees perceive unequal treatment or unfairness in the office, you can guarantee they’ll start looking for their next job. This behavior destroys morale and motivation – and it never stays secret. It’s normal to have favorites – who wouldn’t prefer Superman over Lex Luthor? – but it’s best to never let it show.
  6. Let them prove themselves. Much like the students at Professor X’s school for young mutants, your workers are eager to prove their worth. The best employees aren’t content to just sit around. They want to contribute! The first step here is identifying your workers’ skills and experience. Then, tap into it. Strong workers are eager to show you what they’ve got, so let them.
  7. Communicate. One thing that’s important to remember: It’s not always what you say, it’s how you say it. If your communication style or body language is offensive in any way, you’re unlikely to retain good workers. Face time is important, as people derive more meaning from nonverbal cues than words. Even a team like the Avengers would fall apart pretty quickly if their communication was poor.
  8. Don’t underestimate the value of rich incentives. If higher pay isn’t an option, great incentives and benefits can be just as enticing. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture – it could be something as small as taking an employee out to lunch. The key is to inspire loyalty, and the best way to do that is with rewards and recognition. No one likes feeling unappreciated!
  9. Promote philanthropy. Every superhero gives back – it comes with the territory. Whether they’re saving lives or thwarting villains, community service is what it’s all about! So, take a leaf out of their books and encourage employees to donate their time for the greater good. Getting involved will show employees and customers that your company is committed to a higher purpose. Bonus points if you can find a charity that fits your business, and let your workers volunteer during work hours.

 

Now that you know what workers are looking for, you should never let a good thing go. Just zero in on those top performers – and stick to them like green on the Hulk. Comment below on which way you will keep top talent today.

The Perils of Eating Lunch at Your Desk

Put down that sandwich!

According to the NY Times, 62% of professionals eat lunch at their desks, and other studies say that number could actually be as high as 80%.

But it’s hard to picture Batman chowing down on leftovers at his workstation in the Batcave. Maybe that’s because he knows that eating at your desk isn’t good for you. In fact, the case against eating lunch at your desk is pretty strong.

Here are three reasons to leave the Batcave at lunch time – besides avoiding getting crumbs in your keyboard.

Your Health

When you eat lunch at your desk, odds are you’re not completely focused on what you’re doing. In order to enjoy your food and eat mindfully, you’ve got to pay attention. Not only will you get to savor what you’re eating, you’ll also be more likely to stop eating after you become full – something people don’t always notice when they’ve got one eye on their computer while they munch.

Besides, lunch is the perfect time to get out of your chair and move around. You want to get that blood flowing so you’ll be back and ready to tackle the bad guys as soon as your hour is over.

Folks who sit all day put themselves at risk for:

  • muscle degeneration
  • leg disorders
  • strained necks and backs, and
  • organ damage, including heart disease and pancreatic problems.

As a hero manager, you need to stay in fighting shape if you’re going succeed.

Your Sidekicks and Fellow Heroes

There’s a reason superheroes team up so frequently. Your relationships, both personal and professional, at work are important; personal relationships enhance your overall job satisfaction, and good luck getting anything done without developing professional relationships.

But it’s hard – if not impossible – to foster relationships when you’re hiding out at your desk during lunch.

A Cornell University study found that firefighter teams that regularly ate together were more likely to demonstrate better ground performance and cooperative behavior. That’s because spending time together helps form a bond that can really pay off.

Think of lunch as an opportunity to network with your fellow heroes and make yourself available to employees.

Your Productivity

Think you don’t have time for a lunch break? Chew on this: Researchers have found that professionals who take breaks and socialize are, in fact, more productive than those who don’t.

The truth is, even if you’re the Six Million Dollar Man, you’re not a machine. People have limitations and need mental and physical breaks. And lunchtime is the perfect time to step away from your work and refresh yourself for the afternoon.

Ever been stumped about a problem, walked away from it and then, from out of nowhere, been struck by a solution? That’s because you gave your brain the opportunity to consider fresh ideas that might have seemed too “outside the box” to consider while you were at work.

Giving yourself a break during lunch by physically removing yourself from your workspace will allow your brain to reboot and get ready for post-lunchtime tasks.

Realistically, there are always going to be days when eating lunch at your desk is going to happen. You might be swamped with work or feeling like you need some quiet time to yourself. We get it, even Superman needs a break every now and then.

But making a habit of eating at your desk every day is something to avoid – if only to keep stray bits of food from jamming your gear.

Who’s guilty of working during lunch? Let us know in the comments if you think you’ll be able to fight back and put down the sandwich

Listening To Music At Work: A Solid Playlist to Increase Productivity

Every superhero manager needs to focus when he’s battling workplace villains.

One of the best ways to do so? Plug in headphones and listen to some tunes.

There’s debate on whether or not listening to music at work increases productivity. A 2010 study actually showed people fared worse on memory tasks while listening to music in the background, even if it was soothing classical music.

But music at work does help – there’s just a time a place for it.

Listening to music releases dopamine in the reward area of the brain, which can lead to a more positive mood. Music also makes repetitive tasks less daunting.

We at headquarters offer this tip: Listen to music: [Read more…]

National Superhero Day: Celebrating Real-Life Leaders Making a Difference

Happy National Superhero Day!

In the 1990s, the defenders of good over at Marvel Comics created Superhero Day. While it may sound like a day for binge watching comic book movies, the true purpose is to honor the everyday people who make a difference in their community. The endless volumes of heroic acts in their fiction likely spurred a desire to see real heroics. So, April 28 became National Superhero Day. [Read more…]

Three Keys to Super-Speed (Even If You Aren’t the Flash)

We get it – there’s not enough time in the day. We can’t all have super-speed or travel through time. Some of us have to settle for the ability to read expense reports super thoroughly. But even the most mundane of heroes can get more done with these surprising techniques. [Read more…]

The Five Management Powers That Make You Superman

Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound! All pretty solid descriptors for your management style, right? It’s time to take off those glasses, Clark Kent – we all know you’re Superman!

But just because you’ve got heat vision and ice breath doesn’t mean you know how to use them. Workplace villains are powerful, but you’re super, and you need to keep your management powers sharp. [Read more…]

When you’re under the thumb of a micromanager

Is there a way to manage the boss and get things back on track?

As managers, it’s important to keep a firm hand on things.

But some managers grip so tightly they create bottlenecks that choke the operations.

Not only does a micromanager hurt productivity, they also stifle their staffs’ development. [Read more…]

Friends don’t let friends become Bill Lumbergh

As a reader of our blog, we consider you a friend. And as a friend, we feel it’s our obligation to arm you with info – to ensure you do not become Bill Lumbergh.

Now you may say, “C’mon, Mike.  There’s no way someone as loved as me can become as despised as Bill Lumbergh.”

It doesn’t happen overnight. It starts with a “what’s happening? and then “I’m going to need you to come in tomorrow” – and all of a sudden you think it’s a good idea to have a Hawaiian Shirt Day.

We can all learn some lessons from Bill Lumbergh’s management style. Here’s a few: [Read more…]