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.

Earn Loyalty Among Employees in 4 Easy Ways

Employees aren’t as loyal to companies as they used to be.

Consider: 32% of employers said they’ve come to expect workers to job hop, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey.

Other studies show that, each year, the average company loses between 20% to 50% of its base of employees, according to The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The good news: Superhero managers like yourself can do a lot to earn loyalty among employees and stem the tide of defections to the dark side.

Workers nowadays are often more loyal to their managers and co-workers than to the company, according to one Wharton management expert.

And that relationship with managers can make a big difference in productivity, retention and overall employee engagement.

Here are four ways superhero managers can earn trust and loyalty among employees:

Be a good communicator

Every good relationship is built on solid communication. The same goes with relationships with your employees.

Be transparent about what’s going on at your company. You want to be discreet, but you also don’t want to hide the company’s challenges from employees. It’s either that or they hear the worst-case scenarios through the grapevine from workplace villains.

Communication is also a two-way street. Give clear expectations and instructions to your troops, but also listen for their feedback and put it in action when you can.

Good communication with employees builds trust, which leads to more loyalty.

Avoid micromanagement

You want the job done right. But where’s the line between being hands-on and being the dreaded micromanager?

Keeping workers on a short leash stunts their growth and development. And some managers aren’t even aware they’re doing it.

Let go of the need to control and trust that employees will get the job done. If they don’t, you can deal with it later with more training or constructive feedback.

The point is to guide workers along the way, letting them go through the process of figuring out your instructions and learning the ropes.

No one likes working for a micromanager. And it’s a sure-fire way to break down trust between you and your employees.

Provide training opportunities

Thirty-five percent of Millennial workers consider comprehensive training as a top benefit they’d want from a company, according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey.

Yet, many companies don’t invest enough in training, fearing employees will leave anyway.

Let your upper management know: Training is an investment that your employees will appreciate, and it’ll bolster their loyalty.

We at headquarters, for instance, relish the fact that our company allows us to travel to conferences for professional development.

It’s a perk that helps the company and keeps us engaged.

Investing in training lets employees know you value them, and also gives them superpowers that can help your firm.

Recognize good work

Recognizing employees for doing a good job isn’t rocket science. However, with so much on your plate, you may miss out on opportunities to do so.

Make it a point to recognize a job well done. It goes a long way to making employees feel appreciated – which also builds trust and loyalty.

Recognition doesn’t have to be outlandish, either.

An employee of the month award, a pizza party for meeting a team goal or simply pointing out a good job are all simple ways to boost employees’ spirits.

These are just a few of the ways superhero managers can build up loyalty among their employees. When you gain loyalty through solid communication, recognition, providing training and avoiding the evils of micromanagement, you’ll have a much better chance of fending off negativity and workplace villains.

What are some ways you’ve built loyalty with your employees? Let us know in the comments section.

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

How to Be Happier at Work: 8 Tips To Raise Your Spirits

Everyone strives to be happy. We aim for the utmost happiness when it comes to our families, our friends, our significant others, our social life. Even Superman makes time for Lois Lane!

So why shouldn’t we aim to be happy at work? After all, we spend a huge chunk of our time in the workplace. And that time will be much more enjoyable – or at least bearable – if our moods are lighter and we’re having a little bit of fun.

The best part is, making yourself happier at work isn’t even hard. Here are a few easy tricks that’ll keep you in better spirits at the office: [Read more…]

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…]

End Workplace Misunderstandings: 5 Ways to Listen More Effectively

Ever witness an epic clash between two people you thought were both heroes and thought, This could all have been avoided if they would just listen to each other?

Forget the grappling hook – effective listening is one of the most important skills in the superhero manager’s tool belt. It might not help you scale walls, but it can stop two major enemies –  conflict and confusion – before they have time to set in and wreak havoc on employees.

Here are a five ways you can improve your listening skills and stop misunderstandings before they snowball into the next Batman vs. Superman. [Read more…]

What If the Office Gossip Is You?

Eleanor Roosevelt, the Wonder Woman of American history, once said, “”Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

You might be nodding your head right now, but who hasn’t shared a secret or two? Or you might read this and think, “That’s not me, that’s the villainous Linda in accounting. She’s pure evil. I would never gossip about my fellow Avengers!”

Work gossip happens more than you’d think. A recent survey showed 21% regularly gossip at work and 15% admitted to occasional gossip. Not only does gossip hurt morale, it also affects productivity, ruins your professional credibility, and creates strained relationships with co-workers. [Read more…]

How to Give Constructive Feedback

One of the toughest parts of a manager’s job is giving employees constructive feedback. But it’s also one of the most important superpowers managers must improve.

Without good feedback, workers won’t grow. Whether it’s positive or negative, employees need to know where they stand. For our purposes, we’ll use the example of a superhero who has excelled at giving feedback: Charles “Professor X” Xavier, the founder and leader of the X-Men.

For years, Professor X has run a private school that trains mutants and turns them into superheroes like you. It’s not an easy job – he just makes it look easy. Here are four tips to give better feedback like the leader of the X-Men: [Read more…]

6 Personality Types Your Office Doesn’t Need

Even with superpowers, you’re not going to get along with everyone.

Certain people just rub others the wrong way. And unfortunately, in a work environment, this can make for an unproductive team. So it’s a good idea to use those superhuman abilities to weed out the weaklings and troublemakers.

Your office is your S.H.I.E.L.D., so channel your inner Nick Fury to determine who’s worthy of your organization.

You can do yourself a lot of favors during recruitment by knowing what personality types to avoid. [Read more…]