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Bosses: Here are 7 New Year’s resolutions to help retain your talent

Originally posted on December 16, 2013 by Tim Loh on http://blog.ctnews.com

Each year, employees make career-related New Year’s resolutions much more frequently than their bosses — but their top resolution is to find a new job, according to Danbury’s OI Partners-Cunis & Gontin, a coaching and leadership development consulting firm.

And so, Cunis & Gontin has put together a list of New Year’s resolutions for bosses that should help them retain their top talent.

“If more managers resolved to develop their employees’ leadership skills, invite their input, demonstrate continued interest in their careers and recognize their contributions, fewer workers would be determining to find new jobs each year,” said Mary Ann Gontin, Managing Partner with OI Partners-Cunis & Gontin.

Retaining talented employees has become a higher priority in an improving job market, the firm said, as more than three-fourths of employers worry about losing key employees, according to a survey by OI Partners.

Here are the top seven resolutions managers can make to help retain talent:

1. Coach workers in how to become more influential and persuasive. “Explain the implications of their actions and decisions on internal politics and help them become savvier. Provide training and guidance in how to craft their messages to meet the needs of others. Managers are too often frustrated by employees’ inability to work effectively through others. Teach them how to win over people in appropriate ways,” said Gontin.

2. Develop employees’ leadership skills. “Use challenging ‘stretch assignments’ that motivate workers, require them to learn new skills and build coalitions. Look for opportunities where members of your team can step into leadership roles. That may mean you have to be in the background more and become comfortable with sharing the spotlight,” said Gontin.

3. Improve your feedback and increase their accountability. Most managers are inconsistent in communicating expectations and holding people accountable. Be clear about your expectations and give timely feedback to your team when they do a good job or miss the mark.

4. Tap into employees’ wealth of knowledge and experience. Encourage employees at all levels to suggest, create and communicate new ideas based on the direct experience of those on the line. Personally ask people for their input to get the best recommendations.

5. Demonstrate continued interest in employees’ careers. Reassure employees that they are appreciated for the work they’re doing. Increase the frequency of discussions about their careers and one-on-one meetings with their managers.

6. Recognize and reward contributions. Managers should be certain they recognize employee contributions, both big and small. A compliment from the boss can be as effective as a monetary reward. Many employees feel that their managers do not spend enough time thanking them for a job well done, but are too quick to criticize them for making mistakes.

7. Build teamwork and provide developmental coaching to workers.

Look for ways to partner employees on projects and concentrate on assembling compatible teams. Include ground rules on how they should work together, check in with them periodically throughout the assignment and facilitate a discussion on what’s working and what’s not. Coordinate a debriefing at the end of the project for overall feedback and lessons learned. Developmental coaching sharpens employees’ leadership skills and helps retain the most talented workers.