We are living in a period of time where employee expectations are shifting. Company loyalty is not what it used to be and potential employees are looking for work environments that fit their needs and wants.

Companies in the logistics industry are especially feeling the difficulties of not only finding talent, but also retaining it. It is difficult enough finding the right person and going through the training only to find your brand-new employee quit a year later.

However, it is not impossible to improve your talent retention. It comes down to understanding why your employees want to work for you. A lot of thew time, setting clear expectations, providing frequent criticism and praise, and communicating well can go a long way in making your employees feel valued. We’ve put together what we think are the top 5 ways to retain talent in a competitive market.

1. Have enough flexibility

With today’s technology, your employee has the ability to work remotely with non-traditional hours. It is not necessary anymore to require your employee to come into a physical office to work 9-5. And, in some cases, a traditional work schedule isn’t always the most productive. Encouraging your employees to make productive use of their time and trusting them to do their job will go far in making them feel valued. If the job allows, you might think about letting them set their schedules or leave early now and then if they’ve already finished the day’s work. Trusting your employees to be productive and do their job will repay you in increased loyalty.

2. Make sure to communicate

Many employees leave their company because of a lack of communication. When necessary information is not shared or the employee always feels in the dark, it is easy to feel lost in a company. It is important to clearly communicate the objectives and tools needed to do the task. For group work, giving members clear roles and responsibilities and making sure they understand will help them be better prepared to do their job efficiently.

It is also important to encourage employees to communicate with each other. Setting up group chats, regular meetings, and making processes that create clear communication lines can allow employees to pass information along the correct channels.

3. Give frequent criticism and praise

Too much criticism can be too harsh. It is important to give constructive criticism at the right time. Don’t be critical while a job is being performed unless it is absolutely crucial. For most cases, wait until the next day to bring it up. Something like the following can help spark a constructive dialogue, “Hey Jerry, I was thinking about our performance on the sales call yesterday. Do you think it might have been better to focus more on how we benefit the customer and less about our company background?”

At the same time, do not give praise too frequently. It is great to recognize small wins but save the big celebrations for times when it is deserved. The high-fives are important, but save more formal recognition for the instances that really drove business forward.

4. Set clear expectations

This goes hand-in-hand with communication. As an employee, it is important to know what is expected from the employer. Employees that do not understand what is expected of them may feel that their plate is too full and will not know which tasks to prioritize and which to offload. It is important to communicate clearly what the job expectations are and then stick to those expectations. Anytime new responsibilities are added, you should sit down with your employee to make sure he understands for one, and has the ability to take on that new responsibility as well.

5. Invest in modern tools

A modern workplace can do wonders for productivity. And no, I don’t mean needing to be located in some fancy glass building with a sleek, minimalist design. I mean making sure the tools you are using are up to date.

Making sure your employee has access to the latest tools will make her more prepared for the job. It may be tiring keeping up with the pace of technology but falling too far behind will not only give your company a bad image, but your top talent will leave for more tech-equipped employers. Also, outdated software and hardware can decrease productivity and give your company a competitive disadvantage.

When focusing on employee retention, it’s about creating a culture that nurtures habits, attitudes, and behaviors that embody the 5 ways listed above. Keep your communication frequent, expectations clear, tools modern, jobs flexible, and criticism constructive, and you will be on your way to keeping your top talent away from your competitors.

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