Retaining Critical Employees

A colleague of mine told the following story:

Her father had worked almost his entire career as an engineer in a small firm.  Eventually he “retired” but even in his 70’s, occasionally came back to fill in on critical projects.  One day he was out in the field waiting for the rest of the staff to assemble.  In order to be at his best for the long work day ahead, he decided to take a 15-minute “power nap” in his car.  About 10 minutes into the nap, the site supervisor arrived, saw that the engineer was sleeping, and started yelling and banging on the window.  When the engineer got out of the car he was subjected to an abusive tirade about how lazy he was.

If you were this engineer, what would you do the next time you were asked to help out?  He had voluntarily stepped in to fill a critical gap and ensure the success of the project.  Not only was he not appreciated, he was subjected to verbal abuse.  As you might guess, he refused to work on any projects after that.  The company lost a valuable resource because a supervisor lost his temper.

What do you do to retain your critical employees?  More importantly, can you think of any reasons why they might decide to leave?  Addressing these questions is critical to the continued success of any company.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. Sharon helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work.  For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440

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