Retention : Make your People feel “Important”

Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people ~ Mary Kay Ash

Group of People
Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

People are more important than processes“. If you are from the greenfield world, then you will definitely agree this.

But, If you are one of the people from the brownfield world, then you would have been taught/trained in the opposite way. “Processes are more important than people”. Which makes also sense to me that if you are still maintaining old COBOL, VB, Powerbuilder or Foxpro code. Processes are the most important thing in that world :). Do Impact Analysis, give an estimate based on the impact, write code, do some testing, move it to staging, wait for a month to get feedback and move to production. If there is a problem go back to the impact analysis document and yell at someone that the analysis was wrong.

Coming back to the point, in the greenfield world, you definitely need excellent people and also processes. Good People with Good Processes produce better software.

In today’s world, to get a decent resource, the chances are probably 100:1 (100 Resumes if you source, you will end up with 1 decent developer). If you need a super star(excellent developer, real technical lead or an hands on architect), then the chances are 500:1 (unless you know someone and hire or extremely lucky, it is definitely the case and the chances are that you find 1 Alpha Male/Super Star once in two years or so).


Image: vichie81 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I may sound like exaggerating but if you have really done some serious hiring in today’s market, you will definitely agree to this point.

After you go through all this struggle and hire a resource, it is very important to retain them.

How do you retain your people? I am sure after all the hard work you and your recruitment team has put in, you want your team member to stay for a long time with you. Isnt it?

Here are some tips.
I assume that, the salary part is taken care so that we can talk some serious stuff in this context.
0. Build Trust
1. Establish a good working relationship with your people
2. Make your people feel that they are important. Even you as a Manager can do good, only if your Manager makes you feel that you are important. How can this be different with technical resources?
3. Communicate with them day to day (hour to hour) basis
4. Have Regular 1:1s. Listen to them and show them that you really listen and care about them
5. Meet your commitments regularly
6. Be Transparent, open and Honest
7. Start believing in Managing by walking around. Get out of your desk/cabin and move around. Meet your team. Listen to what people say casually. Managing people is all about managing Emotions. If you are not in the field you will not be able to understand the emotions of your resources
8. Get some basic understanding of what people are doing. Start speaking their language (technology). If you as a Manager don’t understand technology, how in the world one can his help people to define their Career Roadmap. Help your team members grow.
9. Identify Bad Apples and get rid of them quickly.

Is this relevant only to first line managers? This is relevant for anyone who has people responsibility.

Spend enough time with your people, listen to them, make them feel important, help them do well and they will produce excellent results for you.

Managing People is a full time job. People Management, if done with the right spirit, can drain your energy and it is not an easy job at all to be a people manager.

If you as a Manager, feel that you dont have time to speak to your team or dont have the energy to do so, it is time for you to think of alternative profession.

No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the Other person feel important.~ Mary Kay Ash

Happy People Management!!!!

Some Useful Pointers

http://www.shrmindia.org/decoding-retention-india-%E2%80%93-defining-what-works-and-why
http://www.etipsly.com/2012/02/how-to-make-people-feel-important.html
http://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/workforce-management/employee-retention-strategies/generate-employee-loyalty.aspx
http://humanresources.about.com/od/leadership/a/leader_reward.htm

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