This is the second in our series of weekly blogs on the Annual Gathering of Games, the world's largest conference on open-book management. This year marks the 26th anniversary of the event, which attracts business leaders from companies of all sizes, in all industries, from all over the world, who recognize that they can transform their businesses by valuing and elevating their greatest resource: their employees.
These articles are written by Great Game employees to highlight some of the highest rated sessions at the 2017 conference. We hope to give you a flavor of the content-rich sessions that can be found at The Gathering of Games. Click the link below to hear the entire audio recording from this breakout session.
When reviewing the 2017 Gathering of Games speaker list, I immediately locked onto Michael Yost’s “10 Reasons Great Employees Stay” and had to take a closer look. After all, I’m a great employee - could Michael put into words what keeps me at a company? What pushed me to leave my previous employer? I had to dig in and find out.
Michael summarized that great employees are those that show up, deliver results and consistently go above and beyond stay because of what surrounds them, encourages them, nurtures them, pushes them, cares for them and finally rewards them.
I could not help but nod my head and utter the words “preach it, Michael". However, achieving those ideals are not as simple as sending a memo to staff saying “starting Monday we are doing these six things!"
So how do employers retain great employees? Michael unpacks his insights into these ten reasons great employees stay with a company:
- to remain part of something special
- because their work has purpose and meaning
- because their personal contribution makes a difference
- because they have earned recognition and respect from all levels of the company
- because they enjoy being surrounded by gifted and talented coworkers
- because they are encouraged and mentored to achieve their full potential
- when trust is a living core value at all levels of the company
- because they truly believe in their work and the company
- because separating from the culture would be a huge price to pay
- when they can focus on their work and trust they will be fairly compensated
As Michael went through the ten reasons, it was clear that nine of the critical steps required an emotional connection to the employee’s peers, leadership and workplace. Compensation is the outlier, but strangely where many organizations put their employee retention efforts. Sure, more money is nice, but that, in and of itself, does not keep a good employee happy and satisfied.
Reasons 1 thru 9 require a deeper emotional and relationship connection that links a company and an employee - because a bigger paycheck, or even ping pong tables and nap pods, just won't cut it. There are needs that are brought to the workplace each and every day that the employee and organization share and develop.
So, just how does an employer provide these ten things? Well for me, it is all nicely embodied by the Great Game of Business principles of Know & Teach the Rules, Follow the Action and Keep Score and Provide a Stake in the Outcome:
-Know & Teach the Rules brings business transparency and education to the workplace, including High-Involvement Planning and development of the Critical Number. Employees are awakened to the principles of their company. They understand that their work has purpose and meaning, how their personal contributions make a difference, and develop a trust in leadership by knowing exactly how the business will be run, with their input.
-Follow the Action and Keep Score brings weekly information front and center through Huddles and forward forecasting. Together all associates are bringing forth their best efforts, sharing company information where they are recognized and respected, encouraged and mentored to achieve their full potential and, as a result, become emotionally invested in work and the company.
-Provide a Stake in the Outcome allows for rewards and recognition for hitting targets in MiniGames, and in some cases equity shares. Employees quickly realize they are part of something special, and discover that the company culture is irreplaceable, and, hopefully, that they are fairly compensated.
As Michael states, you must “create the bond.” That bond is not formed in a free-flowing, do-as-you-please relationship. In that scenario, employees would gravitate to the path of least resistance.
That bond is not pounded into place like a hammer and soft lead. In such a scenario, employees would mold to the workplace but develop into nothing more, leaving their ingenuity elsewhere.
Great workplaces are bonded, the way iron sharpens iron. When employers and employees come together for the betterment of both, sparks fly, creating innovation, improved results, and long-term employees.